Former Detroit Lions K Riley Patterson lands with playoff contender

Former Detroit Lions K Riley Patterson finds new home.

Former Detroit Lions K Riley Patterson lands with playoff contender

The Detroit Lions’ recent decision to revamp their special teams unit saw kicker Riley Patterson being replaced by Michael Badgley from the practice squad. This move, initially seen as a temporary switch for their Week 15 game against the Denver Broncos, transformed into a permanent change with Patterson’s subsequent release to accommodate rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker.

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Patterson Has Found a New Home

Patterson, who had been the Lions’ mainstay kicker throughout the year, found himself without a team until the Cleveland Browns stepped in. The Browns, faced with their own kicker woes due to Dustin Hopkins‘ hamstring injury, swiftly added Patterson to their practice squad. This acquisition comes just in time for their upcoming game against the New York Jets, making Patterson an integral part of their special teams on a short week.

Why The Lions Released Patterson

Earlier in the week, Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp emphasized that in a role like a kicker, where results are quantifiable through makes and misses, practice performance is a significant indicator of game-day success.

“It was clear at the end of the day that he was playing better,” Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said Thursday. “My job is to really have the best interests of the whole team in mind, or the whole locker room and all those players sitting in that meeting, and it’s not just one person but it’s really I have a responsibility to be fair to all of them by playing whoever I think’s the best player. With a kicker it’s pretty clear, makes and misses and percentages. And I do think that practice matters and I do think that players trend towards what their practice stuff is.”

The Lions held a comprehensive kicking competition between Patterson and Badgley since early November, assessing each kicker's performance over several weeks, and Badgley demonstrated a higher accuracy rate in practice.

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“They would each get roughly six kicks a day and we kicked them at least twice a week, so 12 kicks a week,” he said. “And over the course of six weeks, Badgley had been better and we didn’t want to rush to make that decision right away, we felt like he deserved as fair of an opportunity as we could have given him.”

Fipp clarified that the decision was not influenced by leg strength, as Badgley’s range is very comparable to Patterson's. Fipp expressed confidence in Badgley's approach, noting his mental steadiness and consistency in technique, regardless of the kick's distance.

“It was definitely tough, but ultimately it was fairly clear to all of us, I think,” he said. “The one thing I love about him is he’s going to swing at the ball the exact same way every time. It doesn’t matter if it's a 53-yarder or it's, whatever, a 22-yarder. He’s going to approach the ball the same way every single time. He’s very consistent and mentally he really doesn’t waver. Make, miss, he knows that he’s going to miss some. We all do. Obviously, we hope not very many, but he’s very, very flat-line.”

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TL;DR (too long didn't read)

  1. Riley Patterson, formerly of the Detroit Lions, joins the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad.
  2. Patterson replaced in Detroit by Michael Badgley, following an extended practice competition.
  3. Browns’ urgent need for a kicker due to Dustin Hopkins' injury leads to Patterson’s quick recruitment.

The Bottom Line – Opportunity Knocks for Patterson

Riley Patterson's swift acquisition by the Cleveland Browns highlights the ever-present opportunities in the NFL for players to redefine their careers. While his time with the Detroit Lions has ended, this new chapter with the Browns offers Patterson a chance to showcase his abilities and resilience. His quick signing demonstrates the NFL's fast-paced nature, where changes and opportunities arise rapidly, often influenced by performance evaluations and immediate team needs. As Patterson embarks on this new journey, his adaptation and performance will be closely watched, reflecting the constant evolution and competitiveness of the league.