Good field position can give a huge lift to a struggling offense. The San Diego Chargers could definitely use a good return specialist to help set up shortened fields for their new offense to work with. The Chargers will be relying on fourth-year wide receiver-kick returner Richard Goodman to continue making an impact on special teams.
As the team’s kick returner over the past two seasons, Goodman has an impressive 27.6 yard average on kick returns, which ranks fourth in the NFL in that time span. He may not have the same game-changing ability in special teams like Darren Sproles had with the team, but he has quietly had a positive impact in the field position game.
Goodman missed the final nine games of 2012 due to a hamstring injury. In his absence, return specialist Micheal Spurlock performed well, returning a punt and kickoff for touchdowns in the final two games. However, the Bolts decided to keep Goodman, signing him to a one-year deal this offseason, while allowing Spurlock to leave in free agency.
Though he’s been good in special teams, Goodman has yet to make any impact on offense. His only career catch was back in 2010 and was followed by him infamously throwing the ball down in celebration not realizing he hadn’t been touched, resulting in a fumble. He still likely won’t get much of an opportunity on offense with the depth the Bolts have at receiver. At least five other receivers (Danario Alexander, Malcom Floyd, Vincent Brown, Keenan Allen and Robert Meachem) are a lock to make the roster and are ahead of Goodman in the pecking order.
Goodman’s place on the roster will be determined on how he proves himself as a kick returner. Players like Eddie Royal and Marcus Gilchrist have some experience and value as return men too and could be called upon if needed. The Bolts must determine if the team can afford a valuable roster spot for a one-dimensional, one-purpose player like Goodman. But if he proves in training camp and preseason that he can positively affect field position on a consistent basis, he’ll have a place on the team.