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2019 NFL playoffs: The Chargers are scared of Patriots returnman Cordarrelle Patterson, so they signed a kickoff specialist

Los Angeles has made a move.

NFL: New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

While the New England Patriots’ kick coverage had an inconsistent regular season, especially early on during the year, the return units were solid since week one. A major reason for that is the play of first-year Patriot Cordarrelle Patterson: the offensive jack-of-all-trades is one of the NFL’s best at running back kickoffs, and 2018 was no exception. Patterson averaged 28.8 yards per return and also found the end zone once.

The 27-year old is a threat with the football in his hands due to his speed, vision and agility — and it looks like the Los Angeles Chargers are taking no risks when it comes to Patterson’s ability to create favorable field position for the Patriots. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Chargers are signing an extra kicker to their active roster in order to handle kickoff duties during Sunday’s divisional round playoff game in New England.

The kicker in question is Nick Rose, a journeyman who originally entered the league as an undrafted rookie in 2016. Last year, the Chargers first brought him in for two games — and he was mightily inconsistent, making just one of three field goal attempts as well as five of six extra point. Rose was let go again by the club during the offseason but it looks as if he will now return to L.A. to help the team against Patterson.

On kickoffs, Rose will take the place of nominal Chargers place kicker Michael Badgley, who allowed 45 of his 54 kickoffs this year to be returned for an average of 21.4 yards — clearly below what Patterson has done so far this season. For comparison, Rose kicked the football off nine times for the club in 2017 with only one of the kicks being returned (for 29 yards). Over the course of his career, he allowed 13 of 47 kickoffs to be run back for an average of 21.1 yards.

All in all, this is a curious move — but apparently one the Chargers felt they needed to make with one of the league’s best kickoff returners on the other end of the field.