Chargers’ 53-man roster shows a strong commitment to fixing shaky special teams

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

A combination of poor coverage and return skills, bone-headed penalties and kicking woes led to the Chargers having the worst special teams in the NFL last season.

The first step to fixing the department came with the hiring of Derius Swinton II, who is entering his 14th season as a special teams coach.

While the change in the coaching staff was one thing, the players that make up the 53-man roster shows how a great of an emphasis head coach Brandon Staley and company put on the unit.

“We want to elevate the standard of performance,” Staley said. We’re looking for guys to separate and create roles for themselves. We expect them to do things a certain way.”

The first act of service was finding a starter kicker, which they did by keeping Tristan Vizcaino over Michael Badgley. Staley highlighted Vizcaino as a player who they believe has “real talent,” lauding his leg strength.

The next came when the team established one of their return specialists. Instead of keeping the talented Tyron Johnson, it was K.J. Hill who they decided to roll with as the fifth and final receiver because of his ability to return punts.

Keeping guys that they felt would make an impact on the coverage units was also strongly taken in consideration, which is why bubble players like undrafted rookie Amen Ogbongbemiga, Kemon Hall, Tevaughn Campbell and Stephen Anderson made the cut.

Like the puzzling decision to move on from Johnson, the Chargers didn’t shy away from letting notable names go that they felt didn’t bring much special teams value. That includes Brandon Facyson, who was released on Wednesday in favor of Trey Marshall and eventually Ryan Smith.

The reasoning? Staley called Marshall an “outstanding special teams player.”

Los Angeles wants to be a playoff team in 2021, but they need to see improvement in their special teams unit to make that happen. With the staff and players the team boasts, there is hope this department will be much more competent.