Detroit Lions' shaky kicker situation is a poor reflection on Brad Holmes

The Detroit Lions have made a surprising late-season change at kicker just ahead of the playoffs, proving Brad Holmes still has work to do in terms of solidifying the critical special teams position for the future.

Nic Antaya/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

The Detroit Lions have called a late-season audible at kicker, releasing Riley Patterson and giving the job back to Michael Badgley. Badgley was elevated from the practice squad for last week's game against the Broncos, which spelled the end for Patterson.

When Brad Holmes took over as general manager, he made a bad bet letting kicker Matt Prater walk in free agency. Prater made 84.4 percent of of his field goals over seven seasons in Detroit, with a long of 59 yards. In the last three years for the Arizona Cardinals, at age 37, 38 and 39, Prater has made 85.2 percent of his field goals with no hesitation in terms of having him try long ones (20-for-26 from 50-plus yards out).

By comparison Detroit has had a revolving door at kicker, with too many names to list occupying a spot on the active roster or practice squad over the last three seasons. Badgley stabilized the situation last year, going 20-for-24 on field goals and 33-for-33 on extra points over 12 games, but he also begged to be upgraded on. Patterson was re-acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars last offseason, instead of a securing of said upgrade.

In playoff games, results often rest on a missed or made kick in the clutch. Will Badgley be able to come through in that kind of clutch moment? It's hard to have much confidence in that.

Dan Campbell confident in Michael Badgley after kicker switch

The move to switch to Badgley has been in the works for a while as the kicker was having daily battles with Patterson while on the practice squad.

Dan Campbell didn't waver in his support of Badgley after the win over Denver.

"They've been competing now for about five weeks before the (Los Angeles) Chargers game, so this was something we wanted to do, give (Michael) Badgley a go with Riley (Patterson). They've been battling out and he won it for this game. It just was right, and it's been that way for a while and it was the right move, so we're going to go there. (We've) got a lot of faith in Badgley."

Against the Broncos Badgley was a perfect 6-6 on extra points, and that earned him the job. He did not attempt a field goal though.

Campbell has confidence Badgley can make a clutch kick if called upon, not that there's any choice but to project that kind of confidence at this point. There's no doubt Holmes has to find a better solution down the road, or a good team stands to be undermined by the failure of a kicker in a key spot. And it might happen this year.

5 Detroit Lions who could be let go in upcoming crunch for roster spots. 5 Detroit Lions who could be let go in upcoming crunch for roster spots. dark. Next

feed