Ladies and gentlemen, the Chargers are making a change.
Yesterday marked the 5th win in a row for the LA Chargers, but it also was a win that was made unnecessarily difficult due to kicking woes. Kickers get in funks sometimes, it’s true. However, even after changing holders earlier in the season to buy Sturgis a few extra games, the funk only grew worse.
Not a surprise but significant: Chargers are releasing kicker Caleb Sturgis, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 5, 2018
The Chargers missed two extra points and a field goal in the team’s 25–17 win over the Seahawks on Sunday.
After a while, even Philip Rivers had seemingly run out of patience with the kicker.
Caleb Sturgis is questionable to return (murdered by Philip Rivers) pic.twitter.com/pQTMMYxSDm— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) November 4, 2018
The veteran has missed six extra-point tries and is 9 for 15 on XPs. He is 9 for 13 on field-goal attempts. Let’s add those together: Sturgis has been 18 for 28 on all kicks this season, or 64%.
Why was he given the long leash that he has enjoyed? In March, Sturgis signed a two-year, $4.45-million contract after sitting out nearly all of 2017 with Philadelphia because of a hip injury. Philly, if you recall, enjoyed their walk-off phenomenon Jake Elliot, who made his mark with a 61-yard bomb to help crush last year’s Giants. The Eagles got lucky with their Sturgis replacement, and the Chargers are hoping that they will do the same.
A quadriceps problem knocked Sturgis out of consecutive games before Sunday, with rookie Michael Badgley filling in.
Badgley was 7 for 7 on extra-point kicks and 3 for 3 on field-goal tries in Sturgis’ absence, though his kickoffs were not as consistently deep. Last week, after Sturgis was deemed healthy enough to return, the Chargers waived Badgley but then re-signed him to their practice squad. It was a move that ruffled a lot of fan feathers, but the Chargers did have a significant investment in their original kicker.
Chargers have been carrying kicker Michael Badgley on their practice squad, he already has made all ten of his kicks in games this season, and he now figures to be their new kicker starting Sunday at the Raiders.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 5, 2018
One could say that this could be a new era for the Chargers, where fingernails are not mowed to the bone each time the kicker takes the field. In my estimation, the Badgley era already began a few weeks ago, and it was a welcome relief. Expect the Chargers to make the designation official tomorrow, and they’ll possibly pull in another kicker for the practice squad as even Badgley has a very short resume.
-Jason “Kickin’ it New School” Michaels