The Jaguars have turned to a Jacksonville native as a possible cure for the team's ailing kicking game. Jeff Chandler, the University of Florida's all-time leading scorer, signed a contract with the Jaguars today and will compete with Seth Marler for the team's placekicking job.
"He had a great college career and was drafted in the fourth round by San Francisco, so he obviously has a lot of potential," Jaguars special teams coordinator Pete Rodriguez told jaguars.com this evening.
Chandler, 6-2, 218, was selected by the 49ers in the 2002 NFL draft, and was the team's kicker in six games that season. He converted eight of 12 field goal attempts that season.
He appeared to be off to a good start in 2003, booting five field goals in as many attempts in a season-opening win over Chicago, but Chandler missed a key field goal attempt in an overtime loss against St. Louis the following week. He was waived by the 49ers following that game.
"It's a difficult place to kick," Rodriguez said of San Francisco. "I think the experience helped him; no doubt."
Chandler, who will turn 25 in June, was a walk-on kicker at Florida, where he went on to score 368 points. He didn't begin kicking in high school football until his senior season at Mandarin High School, where he also played soccer.
"It's easy to see he has ability," Rodriguez said of Chandler. "In college he was known for his tremendous accuracy. I coached him in the Senior Bowl."
Chandler worked out for the Jaguars in Jacksonville a few weeks ago. "It was one of those windy days; a difficult day to evaluate him," Rodriguez said.
In attempting to solve their kicking woes of last season, when Marler struggled as an undrafted rookie, the Jaguars first turned to Bengals restricted free agent Shayne Graham, but the Bengals retained Graham by matching the Jaguars' offer. The Jaguars then turned to Matt Stover, who mulled over the Jaguars' contract offer before deciding to remain in Baltimore. Most recently, the Jaguars were said to have been interested in Todd Peterson, who chose to remain with the 49ers.