The San Diego Chargers will be better with field goals and punt returns in 2012
The San Diego Chargers struggled in many facets of the game in 2011. They were tied for 23rd with the Cleveland Browns in team sacks, they ranked 20th against the run and although they ranked 13th against the pass, only two teams faced fewer pass attempts while only five teams allowed a higher quarterback rating in the NFL. Another part of the game San Diego struggled with was field goals. Nate Kaeding is the most accurate kicker in NFL history with a field goal percentage of about 87 percent. Kaeding went down in the first game of 2011 as he tore the ACL in his non-kicking leg, and had other ligament damage as well.
Nick Novak was Kaeding’s primary replacement in 2011, and he converted 79 percent of his field goals which was 24th in the NFL. San Diego was tied for 20th as a team with the Kansas City Chiefs in field goal percentage as both teams connected on 80 percent of their field goal attempts in 2011. Kaeding converted 82 percent of his kicks in 13 games played during the 2010 season. Kaeding’s worst season came in 2004 when he converted 80 percent of his kicks. Novak’s best season came in 2005 when he converted 80 percent of his kicks. The Chargers will definitely be better in 2012 with the return of Kaeding as their primary kicker.
Patrick Crayton was San Diego’s primary punt return man in 2011, and averaged 9.2 yards per return. San Diego signed Eddie Royal in the off-season, and Royal’s 16.2 yards per return last season was tied for seventh in the league. Former Buffalo Bills punt return man Roscoe Parrish also signed with San Diego during the off-season. Parrish had the same yards per return average as Crayton in 2011, but he missed 14 games with an ankle injury. Parrish led the NFL in yards per punt return in 2007 and 2008 and averaged 11 yards per return in 2010. As a team, the Lightning Bolts were 22nd in punt return average at 8.5 yards per return. This has to and will improve in 2012 with the additions of Parrish and Royal.