San Diego Chargers Positional Analysis: Special Teams

The Chargers best special teamer, Mike Scifres, showing off his awesomeness last year filling in on place kicking duties (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Losses: Mike Tolbert, Patrick Crayton

Additions: Roscoe Parrish, Micheal Spurlock, Atari Bigby?

Returning: Mike Scifres, Nate Kaeding, Nick Novak, Richard Goodman, Mike Windt, Jacob Hester, Andrew Gachkar plus others

Projected starters: P: Mike Scifres, K: Nate Kaeding, LS Mike Windt, KR/PR Richard Goodman, Captain: Jacob Hester

Strengths:

  • Mike Scifres: I could have called this strength punting, but I didn't want to include the punt coverage. Sure, the team made plenty of strides on punt coverage after an abysmal 2010 season, but I'm not ready to call it a strength. Scifres on the other hand is Pro Bowl caliber and should have made one or two if not for people loving Shane Lechler's gaudy numbers he puts up when he outkicks his coverage.
  • Upside: The Chargers have drafted and signed players with an eye on improving special teams for the last two years. Also, this year ST coach Rich Bisaccia has a full offseason to coach up his guys after doing some good work last year at attempting to put the 2010 woes of the unit behind them.

Weaknesses:

  • Place Kicker: Nate Kaeding has had his issues with field goals in certain situations and also with his short kickoffs. Part of those issues could be in part due to injuries he receives trying to cover kicks. He's had a few over the years and last season's was the most serious. Is it a trend? Novak filled in and did well for a bit, but by the end of the season there were some questions about his reliability as well.
  • Kick Returns: Richard Goodman and Patrick Crayton didn't light the world on fire last year with their returns. Crayton is gone and Goodman has a lot of competition. Goodman did break one for a TD late last season, but you can't live on one success for long. The Chargers don't need Devin Hester out there, but they could use someone that provides some threat or pick up some extra yards now and again.
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