Michael Badgley

Injury Roundup: Hilton, Lions, Bolts, Rams

It’s looking like the Colts‘ passing attack will have to operate without its top weapon Sunday. T.Y. Hilton drew a doubtful designation on Indianapolis’ Friday injury report. He did not practice all week. The eighth-year wideout left the Colts’ Week 3 win with a quadriceps injury, and although the Raiders enter Week 4 ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA, the Colts went 0-2 without Hilton last season. They are already down previous starter Devin Funchess, who sits on IR. The Colts also ruled Darius Leonard out for a second straight week. The All-Pro linebacker remains in concussion protocol.

Here is the latest from the Week 4 injury front:

  • Matthew Stafford popped up on the Lions‘ injury report Friday; he’s listed as questionable with a hip malady. While Stafford should be expected to play, given that he’s played through injuries in recent years and holds the league’s third-longest active start streak among QBs with 131, this is a less-than-ideal scenario going into a key inter-conference matchup with the Chiefs. Rookie UDFA David Blough has been Stafford’s backup this season, though Jeff Driskel is now on Detroit’s 53-man roster.
  • That matchup will not include Chiefs starting running back Damien Williams, who will miss a second straight game with a knee ailment. LeSean McCoy put together two full practices this week and will likely team up with Darrel Williams, as he did last week, in Detroit.
  • Good news for the Rams‘ offense. Sean McVay said both Austin Blythe and Tyler Higbee will be available against the Buccaneers on Sunday, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Blythe missed Los Angeles’ Week 3 game with a sprained ankle, while Higbee has been sidelined with a lung contusion.
  • Another Chargers game will unfold without their primary kicker option. The Bolts ruled out Michael Badgley for a fourth straight contest. Punter Ty Long‘s multipurpose afternoons will continue. Long made both of his field goal tries last week after missing two in Week 2.
  • Additionally for the Bolts, they will be without Mike Williams. He’s been declared out with a back injury. Travis Benjamin will head to Miami as doubtful to play, meaning Dontrelle Inman and Geremy Davis stand as the Chargers’ only two healthy auxiliary wideouts. This marks Williams’ second injury of the season. A knee problem plagued the third-year target earlier this month but did not force him to miss any time.
  • The Vikings‘ No. 2-ranked rushing attack will be tested in Chicago this week, and right guard starter Josh Kline will not play a part in the NFC North contest. The free agent acquisition will miss Sunday’s game with a concussion that kept him out of practice this week. This will end Kline’s 49-start streak. Veteran Dakota Dozier will start, per Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Dozier has started eight games in his six-season career, which included a Week 2 start in place of Pat Elflein.

AFC Notes: McLaurin, Bolts, Steelers, Roby

Had the Raiders not traded for Antonio Brown (or had they known he wouldn’t last the summer with them), Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes they would have “definitely” drafted a wide receiver early (subscription required). The Raiders did not take a wideout until Hunter Renfrow in Round 5, but Tafur adds they were “in love” with Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin. Washington nabbed McLaurin in Round 3, and he’s quickly risen to the role of the team’s top aerial threat. In adding Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson and Ryan Grant, Oakland went the veteran route to patch up its receiver needs. It seems a good bet the Raiders will look to bring more rookie help at this position in 2020.

Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • It looks like the Chargers will be without their kicker for a third straight week. Los Angeles has listed Michael Badgley as doubtful to face the Texans. This will point to a third Ty Long kicking assignment. After being named AFC special teams player of the week in Week 1, the Bolts’ punter missed two field goals in their loss to the Lions.
  • When the Chargers face the Texans, they will see a reconfigured cornerback corps. After spending five years as a boundary corner with the Broncos, Bradley Roby is now the Texans’ slot defender. The Texans cut slot incumbent Aaron Colvin after Week 1 and have moved second-round pick Lonnie Johnson into the starting lineup at outside corner, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle notes. Houston gave Roby a one-year, $10MM deal. This slot assignment now serves as a critical component in another Roby contract year.
  • As Mason Rudolph makes his first start, the Steelers are going with their younger receivers. Pittsburgh’s Week 2 benching of Donte Moncrief will continue into Week 3, with Mark Kaboly of The Athletic indicating James Washington and rookie Diontae Johnson will play ahead of the underperforming veteran against the 49ers (subscription required). Washington and Johnson will primarily play on the outside, with JuJu Smith-Schuster manning the slot. Given a two-year, $9MM deal, Moncrief has dropped five passes through two games.

Injury Notes: Foles, Ansah, Badgley

Nick Foles, who remains out indefinitely due to a broken left clavicle bone that was suffered last week against the Chiefs, had surgery this past Monday. During the procedure, Foles had plate and screws utilized while fixing the clavicle to ensure long-term health, and a source said it was a clean, straight-forward break, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.

In preparation for his return, Foles will have multiple scans before setting foot on the field, with all parties wary of a re-break. Assuming everything heals properly, he’ll begin practicing the week before the Houston game in Week 9, then have the bye, then be back with the Jaguars Week 11.

Filling in for Foles is rookie Gardner Minshaw, who was named the league’s Rookie of the Week for his admirable performance against the Chiefs last week. Minshaw will remain the starter for the foreseeable future.

Lets’ check out some more injury notes from around the NFL:

Chargers To Cut K Caleb Sturgis

The Chargers will release kicker Caleb Sturgis, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). To replace him, the teams plans to promote Michael Badgley from the practice squad. 

The move hardly comes as a surprise after Sturgis missed a field goal and two extra points against the Seahawks on Sunday. It was his first game back from a quad injury, but even before that, he missed three field goals and four extra points.

While Sturgis was out, Badgley nailed all three of his field goal tries and went 7-for-7 on extra points, so they have reason to trust the 23-year-old over the veteran. His first assignment as the team’s “full-time” kicker will come on Sunday against the Raiders.

Despite Sturgis’ struggles, the Chargers pulled out a 25-17 win over the Seahawks. Riding a five game win streak, they now stand at 6-2 and have a real chance at catching the Chiefs for the divisional lead.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/31/18

Here are the practice squad decisions teams have made on Halloween:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

Seattle Seahawks

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/30/18

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Chargers Sign K Michael Badgley

The Chargers are signing free agent kicker Michael Badgley, league sources tell Field Yates and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Badgley will kick while veteran Caleb Sturgis nurses a strained quad. Sturgis, meanwhile, will remain on the team and the club will carry both kickers on the main roster. 

Badgley spent time with the Colts this offseason after finishing up his time at the University of Miami. With the Hurricanes, Badgley connected on 794.% of his field goal tries and 96.1% of his extra point attempts. As a senior, he earned first-team All-ACC honors as he made 17-of-23 field goal attempts and 42-of-43 extra point tries for the Hurricanes. Meanwhile, 32 of his 75 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks in 2017.

Badgley’s first test will come against the Browns on Sunday. Depending on Sturgis’ recovery, his audition could last a bit longer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders To Add K Matt McCrane

After 17 seasons featuring the same kicker, the Raiders are pivoting to a third in the past two years.

While Mike Nugent battles a hip injury, the Raiders are adding another leg in rookie UDFA Matt McCrane, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. McCrane went to camp with the Cardinals this year.

Nugent was only added after Oakland opted to cut Giorgio Tavecchio, its 2017 kicker. Tavecchio was also on the list of specialists the Raiders auditioned on Tuesday, with Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan reporting (via Twitter) Tavecchio joined McCrane, Michael Badgley, Jon Brown and Trevor Moore.

Nugent suffered a hip malady in the Raiders’ loss to the Dolphins on Sunday. He remains on the Raiders’ roster, giving them a two-kicker setup going into Week 4. The Raiders used Tavecchio last season and Nugent for the first three games of this one, after Nugent beat out rookie UDFA Joel Pineiro for the job. Prior to that, Sebastian Janikowski served as the Raiders’ kicker from 2000-16.

A Kansas State product, McCrane spent four seasons as the primary kicker for the Big 12 program. He made 57 of his 66 career kicks — by the end of his sophomore season he’d made 25 of 26 kicks — and earned an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game. He could not beat out Phil Dawson for the Cardinals’ kicking job in camp.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Sign 10 UDFAs

The Colts announced the signing of the following ten undrafted free agents:

  • Michael Badgley, K (Miami)
  • Chris Cooper, S (Stony Brook)
  • Lashard Durr, CB (Mississippi State)
  • Steve Ishmael, WR (Syracuse)
  • Robert Jackson, CB (UNLV)
  • Tomasi Laulile, DT (BYU)
  • Skai Moore, LB (South Carolina)
  • George Odum, S (Central Arkansas)
  • William Ossai, LB (San Jose State)
  • Henre’ Toliver, CB (Arkansas)

Moore, who seemed likely to be taken during Day 3 of the draft, is the biggest name in this group. Moore led his team in tackles in all four of his seasons (interrupted by a medical redshirt year to rehab from a herniated disk in 2016), but evaluators worried about his lack of size and speed. The slim 6’2″ linebacker will now try to catch on as a reserve behind starters John Simon, Antonio Morrison, and Najee Goode.

The Colts seem well set at kicker with Adam Vinatieri under contract for another season, but Badgley will try to give him a run for his money. At The U, Badgley connected on 79.4% of his field goal tries, including a career-long 57-yarder in 2015.

To help make room for the UDFAs, the Colts released a number of players on Tuesday morning, including running back Matt Jones.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.