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LA Chargers: Swinton’s comments don’t bode well for Michael Badgley

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 13: Michael Badgley #4 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates after kicking the game-winning 43-yard field goal as time expires during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at SoFi Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 13: Michael Badgley #4 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates after kicking the game-winning 43-yard field goal as time expires during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at SoFi Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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There were a lot of things wrong with the LA Chargers in 2020 but the worst of all was the team’s special teams unit. The Bolts had the worst special teams group in the league and it was not particularly close.

While not as popular as the offensive and defensive side of the ball, being bad on special teams can be a death sentence for a team. Let’s not forget the 2010 Chargers, who were one of the greatest teams of all time on offense and defense but still did not make the playoffs because of a historically bad special teams unit.

The funny part is that last year’s special teams’ group was worse than the now-infamous 2010 group.

Part of the coaching overhaul in LA was finding a new special teams coach and fans are hoping that the front office found a good one in Derius Swinton. Swinton certainly appears knowledgeable of that side of the ball and talked to the media on Tuesday for the first time.

Safe to say that fans should be happy with what Swinton was saying, for one main reason.

Derius Swinton’s comments alluded to the end of Michael Badgley’s tenure as the LA Chargers kicker.

Michael Badgley was awful for the LA Chargers last year and many fans were expecting him to be released this offseason. He ultimately was given one more chance but has to compete for his job, most notably with undrafted free agent Alex Kessman.

Badgley was seemingly fine before the 2020 season but the warning signs were there, and quite frankly, I do feel a bit guilty for jinxing it. Right before Badgley unraveled last season we ran a piece about the Chargers’ undercover kicking problem. It quickly was no longer undercover.

One of the biggest problems with Badgley is his inability to hit from long-distance. He does not have a big leg and has thus had to give kickoff duties to punter Ty Long. That is something that is likely not going to fly with Derius Swinton.

Seems like Derius Swinton would prefer to have a kicker handle both the place kicking and kick off duties – which would allow the punter to focus strictly on punting.

— Guilty As Charged Podcast (@GACPodcast17) June 1, 2021

It makes complete sense. While there have been punters who were great at kickoffs (hi, Pat McAfee!) most of the league utilizes the kicker on kickoffs. Not the Charger. And unlike the Colts, who had a punter who was really good at it, the Chargers simply do not have a kicker that is capable of doing it.

The kickoff is from the 35-yard-line! There is no excuse to not be able to kick a touchback. I cover high school football for my local newspaper and I have seen them blast balls over the endzone from the 40-yard-line.

Kessman is the complete opposite. While he was not perfectly accurate in college, he had one of the biggest legs and undoubtedly has a bigger leg than Badgley. Kessman can not only give the Chargers a fighting chance on long field goals but can handle the kickoff duties as well.

Swinton likes Kessman, which bodes poorly for Badgley.

Derius Swinton said rookie Kicker Alex Kessman was someone they targeted quickly after the draft. Mentioned that he’s someone with “a lot of leg talent.”

— Guilty As Charged Podcast (@GACPodcast17) June 1, 2021

There really is no fit for Michael Badgley on this team. It would be one thing if he was a close-range technician and was “money” from inside 40 yards and on extra points. Except he isn’t.

He is essentially an average kicker from 40 yards in that cannot hit a long field goal and cannot do the other half of his job. Badgley is lucky the LA Chargers are even giving him this chance for a kicking battle because the odds already seem in Kessman’s favor.

Next. 53-man roster predictions following the 2021 NFL Draft

At least that is the takeaway we are getting from Derius Swinton’s comments to the media.

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