One year ago, former head coach Anthony Lynn decided to forgo bringing in any competition to push Michael Badgley for the kicking job prior to the 2020 season. Badgley went on to experience the worst performance of his young career, missing 12 total kicks and finishing with the second-most misses in the league behind only Dan Bailey’s 13.
Despite Bailey being released by the Vikings following the season, the Chargers decided to keep Badgley around for another go. However, the new coaching staff brought in two more kickers to compete for the job in training camp in former Bengals and 49ers kicker Tristan Vizcaino and rookie UDFA Alex Kessman.
Up through this past Sunday’s scrimmage inside SoFi Stadium, there has been little to no distance put between either of the kickers. All three underwhelmed and missed multiple kicks. Vizcaino finished four-of-six while Badgley went three-for-six on the day. Kessman struggled the most with four misses on his six attempts.
During Wednesday’s practice, it was more of the same from Badgley as he missed a pair of field goals, including a 50-yarder. His longest make of the day was from 46.
Michael Badgley 3 of 5 on FGs. Longest was 46. Missed from 50. #Chargers— Gilbert Manzano (@GManzano24) August 11, 2021
On the other hand, Vizcaino went a perfect five-for-five. Unfortunately, no kick distances were reported. Either way, this is still pretty exciting, right..?
Following practice, Badgley was the only member of the Chargers to speak with the media. As expected, he was asked about his struggles, the competition with Vizcaino and Kessman, and even the booing that took place on Sunday.
“Obviously, it’s one of those things where, no one wants to hear that but they have that expectation just like I do,” Badgley said with a smirk. “Just like our team does. Ya know, that expectation is you need a championship-caliber player. That’s how I feel I am. That’s what I’m working towards everyday — to be that championship kicker. Ya know, just (to) be there for this team. So it’s one of those things where you don’t like hearing it, but it’s part of the game.”
Badgley is embracing the added competition this year, noting that it brings out the best in players and he’s well aware that competition is going to be everywhere. Whether that’s with the Bolts or somewhere else, the Money Badger knows he can’t escape it.
In terms of his struggles, Badgley is keeping a leveled mindset.
“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.”
In his case, you would say that yesterday’s mistakes don’t lose today’s games, but I bet there’s quite a few people in the fan base who would argue that to a degree.
With the team’s first preseason game in just two days, Badgley and the rest of the kickers will be put under the microscope even more so than this past Sunday. Every miss will be heavily scrutinized and picked apart, but one thing is for certain: someone — anyone — needs to stand out and stand out fast.