The Los Angeles Chargers will finally have their kicker back on the field.
Michael Badgley has been dealing with a groin injury that forced him to miss the first half of the season. It’s hard to say anything negative about Badgley following the season he had last year, but his return to action better be worth the wait.
And that’s for a couple of reasons and both are completely out of his control.
First, it seems that placing Badgley on injured reserve is what most teams would have done oh, about three weeks ago or so. Teams only have 53 spots on their rosters and most teams are against using two of those for kickers. But because Badgley wasn’t placed on injured reserve, he was occupying one of those spots along with the guy holding his place, Chase McLaughlin.
Additionally, McLaughlin has kicked well since taking over duties from the team’s punter, Ty Long, who was pulling double duty. McLaughlin made six of his nine field-goal attempts, including one from 50 yards, and all seven of his extra-point attempts.
That wasn’t enough to prevent the team from releasing him on Wednesday and paving the way for Badgley’s return. So one of two things happened. Either the Chargers like Badgley so much they were willing to wait for him to get on the field this season no matter how long it took, or his groin injury was severely misdiagnosed, probably more than once.
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Badgley was a fantastic kicker for the team last season and there is plenty of belief that he will be the team’s long-term kicker. But he’s not just kicking for any team. He’s kicking for a team that has had incredibly bad fortunes out of its placekickers for a number of years now.
Badgley attempted 16 field goals last year and was good on 15 of them. He also made 27 of 28 extra points. He was definitely the kicker the team and its fans had been hoping for, but then he got hurt.
If he comes out and yanks his first kick on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, there will be immediate questions.
Groin injuries are tough to overcome. Shutting Badgley down for the season was an option that should have at least been considered, but because the Chargers went in the other direction, he will have to be every bit as accurate as he was last season or at the very least, as good as McLaughlin had been.