The Los Angeles Chargers have to deal with one of the best kick returners in football this weekend, and they’re not taking that task lightly.
The Chargers are signing free agent kicker Nick Rose and plan on using him for kickoff duty Sunday in the AFC Divisional Round against the New England Patriots, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
No strangers to special team issues, the Chargers seem to have finally stabilized things in the scoring area of the kicking game, as Michael Badgley has been great so far, hitting on 15 of 16 field goals in the regular season and then booting five of six attempts last week in the wild-card round win over the Baltimore Ravens.
But his kickoff numbers leave something to be desired, and that apparently was enough for the Chargers to add Rose. The Chargers ranked dead last in kickoff touchbacks this season, with Badgley’s kickoffs yielding touchbacks on just 16.7 percent of his kicks. That was by far the lowest rate of any full-time kicker in the NFL.
Rose, meanwhile, spent the season on the street after playing 10 games as a rookie in 2017 with the Chargers and Washington Redskins. Eight of his nine kicks went for touchbacks, so there’s obviously a huge difference between the two.
Touchbacks should be even more important than usual this week against the Patriots who have an explosive returner in Cordarelle Patterson, who was named to the All-Pro second team for his work in his first season with the Patriots. Opposing teams limited him to just 23 kick returns, but he averaged nearly 29 yards per return, including a 95-yard touchdown against the Chicago Bears.
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