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10 Things to Watch: The Kicker Battle

Take a look at the entire Bolts roster leading into 2018 Preseason.

With training camp on the horizon, we'll preview 10 of the most intriguing storylines to watch for when the Bolts kick things off on July 28.

"Obviously our kicking game was not NFL quality this year. One of my biggest regrets this year (is) I did not do a good enough job addressing that position. I kind of put our head coach, Anthony (Lynn), in a tough position as far as managing the football game. So, it happens. I'm not really happy about it. We'll assess where we were and we'll get it fixed. I'm very confident we'll be able to get that fixed, but obviously that just has to get better this year. I did not do a good enough job there. But we'll get that addressed."

That is what General Manager Tom Telesco said on January 4 following the end of the 2017 season, vowing to improve a kicking game that proved to be the Bolts' Achilles Heel a year ago.

Fast forward seven months and Caleb Sturgis and Roberto Aguayo are the two kickers the Chargers brought in to stabilize the position.

Sturgis is a former fifth-round pick who signed with the Bolts early in free agency. The 28-year old, who suffered a season-ending hip injury in Week 1 a year ago, has appeared in 62 career games over five seasons with the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles. He's converted 111-of-137 attempts (81.0-percent) with a career-long of 55, including a field goal of at least 50 yards in every season.

Meanwhile, Aguayo joined the Chargers in early January, inking a Reserve/Future contract after spending most of 2017 on the Carolina Panthers' practice squad. The most accurate kicker in NCAA history (96.7 percent) Aguayo entered the NFL as a second-round pick (59th overall) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016. He connected on 22-of-31 field goal attempts his rookie season while going 32-for-34 on extra points. Aguayo finished the season making 16 of his final 20 field goal attempts.

Preseason action and training camp will determine whether Sturgis or Aguayo wins out. The good news is that Lynn was encouraged by what he saw out of both men during the offseason program. It whet his appetite for what he thinks will be a competitive battle.

"We have some talented kickers," he said. "Both of those guys have kicked at a high level, and so we'll see when the time comes, but I try not to get too excited right now. But when the time comes when those guys compete in training camp and real games, I'm looking forward to it."

While Sturgis has more NFL experience, Special Teams Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach George Stewart maintained that the competition is a dead heat entering camp.

"It's always even," Stewart said. "They both were high draft picks in terms of specialists. We're just looking forward to the opportunity to get to camp and see these guys kick. Hopefully, one of those guys will come through, and I'm quite sure one of them will. But we're excited about both of them."

MORE THINGS TO WATCH

The Chargers' 2018 training camp schedule is official, so mark your calendars to watch the Bolts prepare for the upcoming season! The team will hold 14 practices open to the public between July 28 and August 23. For more information, please visit www.chargers.com/camp.

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