There wasn’t a lot to be excited about in terms of what the Jacksonville Jaguars did on the field during the 2019 season. The defense was scrambling for replacements at key positions all season long while the offense struggled to marry young talent with a wayward plan. One area though was consistent season long and provided a boost when needed; the special teams duo of Josh Lambo and Logan Cooke.
In this second of a two part series, we examine the kicker Josh Lambo.
Inarguably one of the best in the league, Lambo was at or near the top in every major statistical category for his position at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
His 118 field goal points are seventh in the NFL, but that one is also dependent on coaching decisions. To best understand how valuable Lambo has become, we dive into his percentage rates in each category. He has a 95% make rate on extra points but has done even better with connecting on 97.1% of field goals. The latter is technically second in the league overall but it’s best league wide amongst kickers with a minimum of five attempts. In fact, the kicker holding the top spot only attempted three field goals during his playing time last season. Lambo, on the other hand, went 33-34.
His long was a 56-yarder, sixth in the league and he knocked through four of 50+ yards, tied for fifth in the NFL. Those four of 50+ yards? Those were his only attempts as well, meaning he went 4-4 on long kicks. And the former soccer player celebrates each one in style.
Originally and undrafted free agent signed by San Diego, Lambo has now been with the Jaguars for two and a half seasons (he signed mid-way through 2017) and began to hint at how special he could become for the franchise right away. Before that first season would conclude, Lambo would set a Jaguars single season record amongst kickers with a 95% completion rate on field goals (minimum 10 attempts). The following season he kept the story going against the Philadelphia Eagles when he converted two field goals of 50+ yards in the same game and finished making 19-21 before missing the final three games with a groin injury.
Lambo was set to become a free agent in March of 2019 but resigned with the Jaguars, saying at the time, “For my personality and how I like to go about my business, this is just the right fit for me. I'm just really fortunate to be in this city.”
Despite the general consensus idea of what Lambo could become, this past year was his first full season with the Jaguars. During it, he set a franchise record for most field goals in a single season (33), made 24 straight from Dec. 2, 2018 - Nov. 3, 2019, tying the record he’d set the year prior; and he connected on every field goal at home, meaning he’s yet to miss in TIAA Bank Field since joining the Jaguars. He also became the only kicker in the NFL since 2017 to connect on 100 percent of their kicks in home games.
Lambo has kicked two game winners during his time with the Jaguars, including one this past season against the Denver Bronco’s. With a 22 mile per hour wind whipping through Mile High Stadium in Denver, Lambo nailed the 33-yarder as time expired. In a position that plays more mind tricks than any other spot on the field, a kicker who can remain calm in those situations is worth his weight in gold.
The old coaching adage is that special teams wins games. Between Logan Cooke and especially Josh Lambo, the two have begun to do just that for the Jags. Now as the Jacksonville Jaguars work to scrap their way back to success under a young team this fall, they can do so knowing the special teams component is already in place with two of the best in the game.