Democracy Dies in Darkness

Early Lead

Chargers rookie kicker Younghoe Koo's career isn't off to a great start

By Scott Allen

September 18, 2017 at 12:23 PM

Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo reacts after missing a potential game-winning field goal against the Dolphins on Sunday. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

Younghoe Koo, the South Korean-born, undrafted rookie out of Georgia Southern who unseated veteran Josh Lambo as the Los Angeles Chargers' kicker during training camp, is finding the going a lot tougher in the regular season. After his first career field goal attempt was blocked late in Los Angeles's 24-21 Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos, Koo missed two of his three attempts in a 19-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, including a 44-yarder with 10 seconds to play.

While Koo's teammates offered words of encouragement inside the Chargers' locker room after the loss, Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn didn't exactly give his kicker a vote of confidence during his postgame news conference.

"He didn't kick well today, so we'll see," Lynn said. "We'll see how he responds."

Lynn was asked if the Chargers would consider bringing in another kicker to compete against Koo, who also missed a 43-yard attempt in the first half on Sunday.

"Well, we're always looking to improve in that area," he said. "Always."

Koo, who grew up in New Jersey and discovered football during school recess in seventh grade, made 16 of his 17 field goals and was named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award as a senior at Georgia Southern. The Chargers signed him after the NFL draft to compete with Lambo, who made 81.3 percent of his kicks over the last two seasons. Koo was an instant fan favorite for his viral trick-kick videos, including one where he does a back-flip, and he impressed Chargers coaches enough during the preseason that the team released Lambo.

Lynn didn't blame Koo for the blocked field goal in Week 1, telling reporters after the game that the kick would've been good and the rookie "has ice in his veins." Now Koo finds himself on the hot seat, looking forward to his next chance to put the first two weeks of his NFL career behind him.

"It's definitely frustrating," Koo said, via the OC Register. "I can't say it's not, but I just have to move on to the next one and make the next opportunity count. … Do I wish I made the two field goals today? Yeah, sure. Definitely, but I can't do anything about it now."

Read more on the NFL:

Cam Newton faces 'a new normal' and it's been difficult, even as the Panthers win

Dak Prescott finally gets a dose of NFL reality in Cowboys' blowout loss

Ravens move to 2-0, but win proves costly as Marshal Yanda is lost for season

Watch Marshawn Lynch dance up a sideline storm as Raiders trounce Jets

Panthers' Greg Olsen breaks his foot, says he'll 'miss a lot of games'

NFL Week 2: Kareem Hunt stars, Dak Prescott struggles, Tom Brady sets a record


Scott Allen writes about all things D.C. sports. Email him if you’ve got a tip to share.

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