What Colts fans need to know about Rodrigo Blankenship’s new backup

This isn’t Indianapolis Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship’s first bout of positional competition in 2021, but it’s certainly his most painful.

This past week, Blankenship ran into his first real trouble since winning a mild-mannered offseason battle with Eddy Pineiro, who was signed back in May to put some form of pressure on the second-year kicker.

The chaos started as halftime approached in Baltimore Monday night, when punter Rigoberto Sanchez ended up on the field in a confusing sequence that eventually led to a Blankenship kick. That was, strangely, as good as it got for the remainder of the game.

Battling a hip injury that created a stabbing pain after it cropped up in warmups, Blankenship got a boot blocked midway through the fourth quarter, then yanked a 47-yarder that could’ve walked it off. It’s unclear if the kicker will be a full go this week, or whether he’ll be active at all.

In preparation for that event, the Colts have signed former Chargers, Titans and Miami Hurricanes kicker Michael Badgley to fill the spot. He’ll be elevated from the practice squad if it comes to that.

The Colts signed kicker Michael Badgley in case Rodrigo Blankenship can’t go.

As you probably assumed once I said “Chargers” and “kicker” in the same sentence, Badgley has experienced a number of high-profile misses in his young career.

You might recall a clang off the upright that ended the chance for a game-winning 50-yarder against the Saints in New Orleans last season.

Truth be told, people believed Badgley’s emergence back in 2018 meant that the Chargers had finally found a kicker. Remember that season? That was the year Los Angeles was a trendy upset pick at New England in the Divisional Round, only for Philip Rivers’ playoff self to rear its ugly head yet again, creating the “We’re Still Here!” Patriots that nobody asked for.

Unfortunately, Badgley’s effectiveness plainly decreased over the course of his three years with the Chargers, and it doesn’t take a statistician to notice the patterns. Badgley finished with 93.8% effectiveness in 2018, a total that fell to 81.3% the following year, and finally 72.7% in empty stadiums in 2020, which is the reason he was forced to find a new home.

This season, the ex-Cane appeared in one game for Tennessee, going 0-for-1 on field goals and 1-for-2 on extra points in a 38-13 loss to Arizona.

You could do worse for kicking insurance purposes; Badgley has a pedigree, and is likely more reliable than Rigoberto Sanchez.

Unfortunately, everything about his career trends downward, and Colts fans should cross their fingers he doesn’t factor into this weekend’s must-win game against the 1-4 Texans.