Chargers’ Michael Badgley is back and aiming to kick-start the offense
He was on the field in Seattle, but not at all like he’ll be on the field in Oakland.
“Especially at this position, it’s a game of opportunities,” Michael Badgley said. “When one comes, you just try to run with it. It’s exciting to have this chance.”
The rookie will return as the Chargers kicker Sunday against the Raiders, Badgley replacing veteran Caleb Sturgis, who was waived Monday after a rocky start to the season.
In moving on from Sturgis, the Chargers promoted Badgley from their practice squad. He watched the Seahawks game Sunday from the sidelines, dressed in Chargers gear.
Badgley, who played in college at Miami, was seven for seven on extra points and three for three on field goals filling in for two games while Sturgis was injured. Badgley’s field goals came from 28, 29 and 44 yards.
When Sturgis was ready to return last week, the Chargers waived Badgley. He was then re-signed and placed on the practice squad, just in case. The decision proved fruitful when Sturgis’ struggles continued.
“It’s just part of the business,” Badgley said. “It’s just keeping the same mentality as if you’re playing a game each week. You keep your routine and you practice. You’re keeping a level head and just always being prepared.”
Coach Anthony Lynn suggested Monday that the Chargers could add another specialist to kick off. As of now, however, Badgley is expected to handle that duty Sunday.
While subbing for Sturgis, only two of Badgley’s 12 kickoffs went for touchbacks. Tennessee’s Darius Jennings averaged 31.2 yards on five returns against the Chargers in Week 7.
“Sometimes, you’re just not hitting the ball right,” Badgley said. “You just find that rhythm. Once you find it, you just stay smooth and be cool and consistent.”
He is the sixth kicker to be employed by the Chargers since the start of last season. That’s not counting punter Drew Kaser, who kicked in one game a year ago because of injury.
Sturgis’ issues didn’t cost the Chargers any games, but the possibility was there. On Sunday, after he missed two extra points and a field goal, the defense had to make a final play stop in the end zone to secure a one-possession victory.
“I mean, it can definitely be frustrating,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “It’s control what you can control. We have to control what we control offensively, defensively, and then have the faith that Mike’s going to do a heck of a job.”
The Chargers do seem to be embracing their newest kicker. Defensive end Isaac Rochell this week talked about Badgley’s “savage mentality.”
Safety Derwin James, who played at Florida State, walked by Badgley on Wednesday and announced, “Only time I root for a Hurricane.”
“Just being around him a little bit, he’s got a heck of a lot of confidence, and the guys believe in him,” Rivers said. “Whoever trots out there, we’re going to believe in. … We look forward to Mike being out there.”
Can White return?
Lynn said Kyzir White could return this season, but for now the Chargers are taking a cautious approach with the rookie linebacker.
He was placed on injured reserve Saturday because of a knee problem that has sidelined him since late September. White had what Lynn called “minor surgery” after being hurt.
“Things changed with Kyzir,” Lynn said Wednesday. “Looking at his situation long term, we think it’s best that he sit out and get that knee right and take all the time that he needs.”
White started the first three games of the season and was one of the Chargers’ leading tacklers. He also had an interception in Week 2 against Buffalo.
Getting run over
No team has surrendered more rushing yards per game than the Raiders, whose 144.5 mark is one reason they’re the second-worst team at preventing points.
But last month, in a 26-10 Chargers victory at StubHub Center, Melvin Gordon averaged a season-low 3.1 yards, totaling 58 yards on 19 carries.
“They played me pretty tough last time,” he said. “It’s never easy because it’s a rival. We’re going to prepare like we would for any other team.”
Gordon has had back-to-back 100-yard games, missing a week between those games because of a hamstring injury.
On Sunday in Seattle, he averaged more than seven yards per carry as linemen opened up abundant space.
“Oh, man, you gotta love that, when they get you to the second level,” Gordon said. “You can be who you are now. When those boys get you through the trenches untouched, that’s what you look for right there. You can open up the gears a little bit.”
Defensive end Joey Bosa (foot) did not practice Wednesday and likely will be limited to individual drills while the team prepares to face Oakland, putting his return off for at least another week.
Defensive lineman Darius Philon (ankle) also didn’t practice. He was injured against Seattle. Defensive end Chris Landrum (hip) was limited.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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