Aug 29, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Jacoby Jones (12) returns a punt during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
After Jacoby Jones was signed to a 2-year $5.5 million contract this offseason, there was some belief that there could be life once again in a stagnant Chargers return game. However, the special teams unit failed miserably to give the team a spark early in the season. Jones battled the injury bug and was eventually cut loose. Soon after, the team parted ways with special teams coordinator Kevin Spencer. The Bolts special teams unit was flat out awful and failed to help the team win the battle in the third phase. Just how poor was the play of the San Diego special teams unit this season? Here’s how they stacked up to the competition.
- Started drive within own 20-yard line 29.78% of time – worst in NFL
- 84 total punt return yards – 32nd in NFL
- Allowed 27.5 yards per kickoff return to opponents – 32nd in NFL
- Longest kickoff return was 34 yards – tied 29th in NFL
- 20 punt return attempts – 32nd in NFL
- 14 opponent fair catches – tied 27th in NFL
- -12.2 special teams grade on ProFootballFocus – 32nd in NFL
It takes all three phases pitching in to win a ball game. And the special teams unit is not a scapegoat for the 4-12 season record in 2015. However, one thing is becoming abundantly clear. The San Diego Chargers need to find a young return specialist in the draft or invest in a free agent. Veteran return specialists that will be on the market will include: WR Percy Harvin, WR Brandon Tate, WR Bryan Walters (former Charger), and RB Bobby Rainey. However, if San Diego decided to bring in a free agent return specialist I would love to see it be CB Marcus Sherels from Minnesota. He would bring not only an exciting spark plug on returns but would provide great defensive backfield depth.