San Diego’s decline was due to a hamstring injury that Richard Goodman suffered against the Cleveland Browns. Goodman averaged 28 yards per return before being placed on injured reserve after playing in seven games.
Micheal Spurlock stepped up in place of Goodman as he averaged 26 yards per return with a return TD, but only had 10 returns. One could only imagine how bad San Diego’s kick return game would have been without the addition of Spurlock, but left as a free agent and signed with the Detroit Lions, which means San Diego needs Goodman to stay healthy in 2013.
Goodman’s 105-yard kick return TD against the Oakland Raiders in 2011 was San Diego’s first touchdown of that nature since the 2008 season. Goodman ranked seventh in the NFL in yards per kick return in 2011 and fifth in 2012.
San Diego’s offense ranked 20th in points per game and 30th in yards per play last season, so having a healthy Goodman would have given them better field position to start drives. I do not expect San Diego’s offense to perform at a low level again, but having the advantage of a great kick returner is always welcomed.
The value of a good or great kick returner can be overlooked, but I am sure it was not the case for San Diego as their offense needed this advantage last year.
Goodman will be a restricted free agent after the 2013 season which makes this a big year for him. I expect Goodman to be one of the best kick return men again as he was before his injury.