By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Los Angeles Chargers may be the NFL's best road team. But for the divisional round in Foxborough, they're depending on a brand-new signing to execute a in a key area of the game.
According to Adam Schefter, the Chargers are signing kicker Nick Rose to handle kickoff duties in Sunday's AFC Divisional Playoff at Gillette Stadium. L.A. is actually re-signing Rose, who last played in Week 17 of the 2017 season for the Chargers against the Raiders. However, Rose has never played in Foxborough.
Rookie Michael Badgley has been the Chargers' field goal kicker since Week 6 of this season. He went 15-for-16 (93.8 percent) on field goals and 27-for-28 on extra points (96.4 percent) in the regular season. He made five of six field goal attempts in the Wild Card round against the Baltimore Ravens. However, Badgley kicked off six times against the Ravens and none of them resulted in touchbacks.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn is almost certainly aiming for touchbacks against the Patriots, in an effort to avoid putting the ball in the hands of dynamic kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson. Fittingly, the last time Rose kicked off was returned by Patterson as a member of the Raiders. His five other kicks in that game went for touchbacks.
Lynn praised Badgley specifically for his field goal kicking in his Wednesday conference call with New England media.
"He’s definitely brought some stability as far as field goals are concerned," said Lynn. "I’ve been very happy with Mike in that regard. He has a lot of confidence in himself and that’s probably why I have so much confidence in him. He’s definitely helped."
It's still a bit of a bold strategy to bring in a kicker who hasn't played all season and count on him to execute properly in a playoff game, against the Patriots, in Foxborough. It's also expected to be cold and possibly snowy on Sunday. They'd better hope he has the same kind of mental toughness that the rest of the team has shown on the road all season, and won't mistakenly kick it short or out of bounds.
If you're looking for a way that the Chargers could beat themselves at Gillette, their new kicker might be the best chance of that.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].