Field position is one of the most important aspects of football, and it’s why the Chargers are making an interesting roster decision ahead of their NFL playoff matchup against the Patriots.
Los Angeles is reportedly adding an extra kicker exclusively to handle kickoffs.
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Interesting move for the week of a Divisional Playoff game: the Chargers are signing kicker Nick Rose to their active roster today to handle kickoff duties Sunday vs the New England Patriots, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 10, 2019
The Chargers finally found a reliable kicker for field goals this season in Michael Badgley. He’s 15 of 16 on field-goal kicks through 10 games and has made 27 of 28 extra-point kicks. But Badgley has struggled on kickoffs, creating touchbacks just nine of 54 times.
That equates to 16.7 percent, which was the worst in the league (among players with at least 10 kickoffs) this season. So in comes Rose, who played for the Chargers last season and had touchbacks on eight of his nine kickoffs. However, Rose made just 1 of 3 field goals for the Chargers in two games (which were the last two of the season).
So why after 10 games of having Badgley as their kickoff man did the Chargers decide to bring along a second kicker?
Well, because Cordarrelle Patterson, the Patriots’ Swiss army knife, is a really good returner.
“They have one of the best kick returners that I’ve seen in a long time,” Los Angeles coach Anthony Lynn said ahead of the matchup. “So that’s going to be a heck of a challenge for our special teams. It’s a good thing we have one of the better cover units in the league right now, but that’s going to be a heck of a challenge.”
Patterson was fifth in the league in kick return yards (663) and third in yards per return (28.8). He’s one of just five players with a kickoff return touchdown this season, and he’s a threat to go the distance on any return. He’s always been a great returner throughout his career, so it makes sense why the Chargers are trying to eliminate him as a return threat.
Especially since Badgley has been so poor. He only played in 10 games, but he led the league in opponent returns (45) despite his low number of kickoffs (54). By comparison, New England’s Stephen Gostkowski was second in opponent returns (42) but had 39 more kickoffs than Badgley.
If nothing else, the Chargers can now avoid a similar situation as to what happened with the Seahawks in the wild-card round when their kicker suffered an injury.
The Seattle Seahawks lose after the Worst Onside Kick of all time?#nfl #seahawksvscowboys #seattle #FinishtheFight #seahawks pic.twitter.com/7YrEgpkXzZ
— Second Deck Sports (@2nddecksports) January 6, 2019
The Chargers and their pair of kickers will take on the Patriots on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET.
UPDATE: Chargers GM Tom Telesco told reporters (per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times) that Rose isn’t on the team yet.
Regarding kicker Nick Rose, #Chargers GM Tom Telesco said “there will be no transaction today. “
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) January 10, 2019