Chargers: Key special teams players
Key Additions: Punter Ty Long, Long snapper Cole Mazza, Emeke Egbule, Drue Tranquill
Key Losses: Long snapper Mike Windt, Adrian Phillips*, Austin Ekeler*
Special Teams MVP: Kicker Michael Badgley
When it comes to kicking and the Chargers, the two haven’t seemed to be a match for what seemed like a lifetime. That was until the emergence of kicker Michael Badgley, who has shown to be an excellent kicker and a lifesaver for the Chargers and their fans since he stepped onto the field last season. For the stability he looks to continue to bring to the position, he should most definitely be the special teams MVP as well as a fan favorite once again this season.
Player to watch for: Punt returner Troymaine Pope
While Desmond King may still be the primary return man for the Chargers this season, look for Troymaine Pope to take some of the load off at times at the punt return spot. Pope showed a glimpse of what he could do in the preseason, taking back a punt 81 yards for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints. He may not get the bulk of the opportunities to return punts, but when he does, keep an eye out as he may just break out an explosive play that can really turn the tide of a game as well as give King some more rest and time to worry about the defensive side of the ball.
Although still on the team, Ekeler and Phillips will see a limited if not nonexistent role on special teams as both are now looking at an increased workload due to the injury suffered by safety Derwin James and the holdout of running back Melvin Gordon III.
There you have it, look for all of the players mentioned to be crucial pieces on the team for what should be a very exciting season of Chargers football. Keep an eye out for all players mentioned, although with the big plays they may be making all season long it may just be difficult to keep your eyes off of them at all. Think there may be another player or multiple players who deserve to be discussed more? Drop a comment with other players to watch for this season down below.