Camp Countdown, presented by Connors & Ferris, will examine some of the more pressing questions facing the team on the field, and players who could make a difference as the team makes its final preparations for the 2020 regular season. We also focus on a few different areas that impact the team off the field. We'll examine these issues one at a time until training camp begins. Here now is the latest daily installment as we carefully seek some of the answers the Buffalo Bills have to come up with between the start of camp and the opener on Sept. 13th.
It's a position that doesn't often see a heated competition in training camp, but that won't be the case this summer for the Bills. The punter role is very much up for grabs despite the fact that the incumbent is returning from last season.
Corey Bojorquez won the job for the 2019 campaign after his 2018 season was cut short by injury with Buffalo. Though Bojorquez has a strong leg and pro-level ability, it was the young punter's consistency that often left him wishing he did more.
Bojorquez, 23, was tied for the fourth-most punts in the league last season with 79 and was third in the league with 34 punts downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Where his game left the door open for competition was his gross (41.9) and net punting average (37.7), which both ranked 34th in the NFL last year.
"It's his job to lose," said Bills special teams coordinator Heath Farwell. "He's loaded with talent but we just need a little more consistency. I've seen more. I believe that Corey is doing whatever he can to make that better. I know he's ordered a JUGS machine and is able to catch punts off that. I know at some point he wants to go meet up with (Bills long snapper) Reid (Ferguson) and work with him."
Bojorquez's chief competition will be Kaare Vedvik, who is most remembered by Bills fans for his unsuccessful 45-yard attempt in last year's opener as the kicker for the Jets. But in Buffalo, Vedvik is on the roster to challenge Bojorquez for the punting job and may also be part of a competition for a kickoff specialist.
Most of Vedvik's punting exploits came in college at Marshall. The native of Norway was a First-Team All-Conference USA selection as a punter after posting a gross average of 44 yards per punt. He also had 26 of his 59 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
Only 16 of his 59 punts were returned for 62 total yards ranking Vedvik in the top 10 for fewest punt return yards allowed for punters with at least 55 attempts.
Vedvik also handled kickoff duties in college. He averaged almost 64 yards per kickoff in his final collegiate season, with 32 touchbacks on 60 kickoffs.
He has limited punting experience in the NFL, with only a pair of punts in the 2019 preseason with the Ravens, averaging 55.5 yards and a net of 48.
"Kaare Vedvik, he is a very talented kid," Farwell said. "We had the opportunity to bring him in for a workout towards the end of the season. And I remember him lining up a 70-yard kick and then punting after that and just with big, big ball punts. And so he is a guy that is loaded with talent, big leg, we just have to develop his consistency."
Vedvik, who rented an Air BNB near Ferguson's offseason home, has been training with him the last couple of months along with rookie kicker Tyler Bass.
"I know he's improving," said Farwell of Vedvik. "Nobody works harder. So he is a guy that will do whatever he can. Kaare is a guy who's really going to push Corey Bojorquez."
Both punter candidates are unquestionably gifted, but the one who demonstrates the most consistency through training camp and the preseason is the one expected to be punting for the Bills in Week 1 against the Jets.