The Los Angeles Chargers announced the decision to release Caleb Sturgis and reinstate Michael Badgley as the team's kicker moving forward early Monday morning.
In the afternoon, Head Coach Anthony Lynn met with the media, expanding on the reasons why the team opted to make the move.
Basically, Lynn said it was simply time to move on based on performance.
"It's always tough to move on from a player," Lynn said. "I believe in all these guys. We feel like we gave (Sturgis) a fair shot, and we stayed with him as long as we could. It just came down to performance."
Sturgis appeared in the Chargers' first five games before missing the next two with a quad injury. Fully healthy, he returned against Seattle, but struggled in the team's 25-17 victory, missing a 42-yard field goal as well as two extra points. Overall, he was 9-of-13 (69.2 percent) on field goals and 9-of-15 (60.0 percent) on extra points.
Thus, as Lynn explained, it was time to move on from the veteran and go back to Badgley, who was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals and 7-for-7 on extra points during his two-game stint against the Browns and Titans.
As the head coach put it, the Chargers are handing over the keys to the car to a rookie who has proved capable when given the chance.
However, that doesn't mean the team isn't looking at additional ways and options to improve the kicking game.
"I'd like to give him the keys to the car and let him go drive the car, but we've talked about bringing in another kicker maybe to kickoff and maybe to help in that area," Lynn said. "That's something that we're just looking at. You hate to do something like that because you lose depth at other positions. I think Mike is a young kicker that's going to improve in his kickoffs and the strength of his leg. Hopefully, this is a good start for his career."
It's clear Badgley won over the locker room with his Week 6 and 7 performances. In fact, his 16 total points were the most by a Charger without missing a kick in his first two games in franchise history.
"He's a good kicker," Isaac Rochell said on Monday. "I think it's kind of self-explanatory when you have a kicker like Badge who hasn't missed since he's been in the NFL. I think that kind of speaks for himself. We definitely have confidence in him, and at the end of the day, we just want to see it go through the uprights."
Perhaps more than any position, kickers require a certain confidence and swag to their game. According to Rochell, Badgley has a "savage mentality" that is rare among kickers.
It's one his teammates love.
"Everything else is just it is what it is, but we need a guy who's going to go in there and make the kicks when we need them," Rochell said. "Badge has done that for us, so we're excited. … He's kind of got that savage mentality, which you don't think about in a specialist guy, but I think it's super important. I think it's important when the game's down to the line and it comes down to the field goal, and you have a guy who says, 'Yeah I'm not even worried about this. I can make this 10 times out of 10.' So I'm excited for him."
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