Chargers’ Cameron Dicker named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month

The accolades keep coming for Cameron Dicker.

After being named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for hitting a game-winning kick for the Eagles, then being named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for nailing a game-winner for the Chargers, the rookie was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month on Thursday.

Over six weeks in December and January, Dicker scored the second-most points among AFC kickers with 47. He missed just one kick, a 52-yarder against the Raiders in Week 13. That 96.2 kick percentage between field goals and extra points was the second-best mark by a rookie AFC kicker with at least 20 attempts, behind only Tyler Bass in 2020. He also hit a game-winner against Tennessee in Week 15.

On the season, Dicker is 21 for 22 on field goals, counting his time in Philadelphia, and 24 for 24 on extra points. His field goal percentage of 95.5 is the best by a rookie kicker with at least 15 attempts, regardless of conference, since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

Dicker becomes the first Charger since Darren Sproles in 2008 to win an AFC Special Teams Player of the Month award, a testament to the job both he and special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken have done turning the special teams unit around this season. Two questions are remaining for Dicker, however.

The first is regarding the playoffs. Chargers fans know better than most that there’s nothing more nerve-wracking than a rookie kicker in the playoffs. (Nate Kaeding’s missed field goal in 2004 against the Jets still haunts me deeply.) Dicker played in some big games at Texas as a collegian, including a 2018 upset of #7 Oklahoma in which he hit the game-winner. Dicker has shown the clutch gene in spades this season, but only time will tell if it shows in the playoffs, as well.

The second is regarding next season and beyond. Los Angeles only signed Dicker as a stopgap after Dustin Hopkins and replacement Taylor Bertolet both were injured. Hopkins still has two more years on the three-year, $9 million extension he signed with the Chargers after impressing in his prolonged audition to end the 2021 season. Before the injury, Hopkins was off to a great start to 2022, going 9 for 10 on field goals and 12 for 12 on extra points, including the game-winner against Denver in overtime. This sets up, for what feels like the umpteenth time in LA, a kicking controversy. The difference this time is that both Hopkins and Dicker are high-end NFL kickers. Despite neither having a 50+ yard make on their resume in 2022, both have a touchback percentage of over 80% this season. Hopkins is 32 years old, due a hefty paycheck as far as kickers go, and coming off a hamstring injury. Dicker is 22, cheaper, and could give the Chargers stability at the position they’ve not had since Nick Novak from 2011-14.

For now, at least, Dicker is a Charger. A decorated one, at that.

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire