Chargers may be the worst team in NFL history at returning punts


The San Diego Chargers have one punt return yard this year. Really. One yard returning punts. All season. Seriously.

In yesterday’s loss at Baltimore, the Ravens punted twice. The Chargers returned one of those two punts, and return man Jacoby Jones lost two yards on that return. That brought the Chargers’ season total down from three yards to one yard on punt returns.

That’s not just the worst in the NFL this year; it’s on pace for the worst in NFL history. The 1965 St. Louis Cardinals have the NFL record for fewest punt return yards in a season, with 27. The Chargers are on pace for two punt return yards this season, which would obliterate the Cardinals’ record.

The Chargers gave Jones a $1.6 million signing bonus this offseason in large part because they thought he’d energize their punt returns. Instead, they’re heading toward the worst punt return season ever.

50 responses to “Chargers may be the worst team in NFL history at returning punts

  1. A few years ago under Norvell they were also one of the worst in giving up yards, points, fumbles, and consequently games. Another year, another ho hum to bad performance by a Chargers team with a well above average QB, but much below average defenses and special team, and coaching. Blame that on ownership in not taking a chance and going after a David Shaw when they had the chance. Pony up the money for a coach who would have instilled a persona along the lines which this team is desperately missing. So long Chargers, so long Dean, and company, we won’t miss your inept management, good luck LA and good luck in getting that fan base interested in your vanilla paste team.

  2. The number of injuries they’ve suffered is equally mind-blowing. Not saying that’s an excuse, it’s just another oddity to their season. 12 guys yesterday alone.

    Someone must have put a mojo on them for all the “leaving to LA talk,” because they’re dropping like flies. I’ve never seen anything like it.

  3. (Lions fan here)

    I started reading the headline and thought, “woah, woah, woah, WE are the worst team in NFL history”, until I read the part about returning punts.

  4. As a Texans fan I’d like to say it’s Jacoby’s fault after the awful muff he had back when the team first made the playoffs back in 2011, but this guy was an All-Pro returner a few seasons ago. I’d say it has to do with San Diego having so many injuries that a lot of guys playing special teams right now we’re not doing so during training camp.

  5. Blocking is horrid. The decision making by the returners is just as bad. Our 2010 special teams get crapped on because they gave up points but this “unit” is just as bad if not worse.

    Philip Rivers is the only thing standing between a historic winless 2008 Lions type season and us being where we are now.

    Our coaching staff is horrible and has zero developmental skills regarding players. When I watched this special teams play in the preseason and week one, I imagined that it would get better sometime during the season because I imagined they did hold special teams meetings during the week and I thought they wanted to get better. I guess I was horribly, horribly, wrong.

  6. I was down in Baltimore yesterday visiting friends and we went to the game. I had no dog in the fight, but could tell that San Diego is coached poorly on fundamentals. One punt should have been fair caught at the 17 or 18, but let roll to the 3. It flipped field position and led to the go ahead score in the game. You can’t make negative plays like that and expect to be competitive in the standings. Rivers is saddled with a poorly coached team.

  7. If they aren’t able to gain any yards returning punts, why not put all their efforts into blocking them?Even if you don’t recover a blocked punt, you usually get the ball near the line of scrimmage, giving you a net 40 or so yards.

  8. What is the net yards on punts to San Diego? I’m just wondering if punters are punting away from the returners or punting with long hang times to prevent returns.

  9. Punt return yards are getting harder and harder to get these days… the coverage teams are getting faster and with the blocking rules teams are getting scared to take someone’s head off to make a block. Flags are being thrown at an all-time high… so maybe that has something to do with the low output?

  10. I was wondering where Jacoby Jones was. Now I know – he’s returning punts in LA. Maybe when a team gets there he can exceed 1 yard in 8 games…

  11. It’ll be moot once Goodell decides, as he did with kick returns, that punt returns shouldn’t be a part of the game.

  12. Just wrap your head around how statistically unlikely it is ANY NFL team would only have 2 return yards in the punting game.

    The Chargers saw their window slam shut and now are squarely looking up at the RAIDERS.

  13. Don’t worry they play the Bears next. They’ve given up the most yards and returns for TD so far so the Chargers can fix this in one week.

  14. We always place the the blame for poor play on the HC or DC. Exactly how many coaches does a team usually have? Maybe the blame should be on the assistant coaches who have more intimate teaching of the players. If we have poor assistants, that blame should be on who hired them…McCoy?

  15. More stats would tell the story. How many has Jacoby fair caught vs. the league, how many attempts vs the league.

    I wonder if teams are intentionally limiting his opportunities to run. Maybe they are kicking deep or with more hang time to force a fair catch. Teams know he can break them wide open and they don’t have Mike Tomlin to step on the field and attempt a tackle.

  16. Yes it’s pathetic and indicative of poor coaching and a lack of proper emphasis on special teams but the number itself is an aberration.

    “Stats are for losers. The only numbers that matter are the big ones on the scoreboard at the end of the game” The Hoodie

  17. I have to think that this disastrous Chargers season will have an impact on the LA relocation situation. I mean, does the league seriously want to risk putting this current team in one of the worlds largest markets? By now, it’s probably safe to say this ownership just can’t get it done and I don’t see that changing with a move up the coast

  18. With punters becoming more skilled at directional and OOB punts, punt returning is not the key component it used to be.

  19. “We always place the the blame for poor play on the HC or DC. Exactly how many coaches does a team usually have? Maybe the blame should be on the assistant coaches who have more intimate teaching of the players. ”

    The number of coaches varies but you can look at the team page on any of their sites to see who a given team has and how many coaching positions.

    In this case the culprit you’re looking for is the special teams coach. He should not even still be employed with them playing so badly on special teams.

  20. I dunno. Bit early to be talking about “projecting to”s halfway through the season, especially when the deficit can be wiped out with one single play.

    That’s why we’re not talking about Fred Jackson (off the top of my head) projecting to score zero touchdowns this year, because he gets 5ish touches a game and there’s half a season left to go. Here we’re not even talking a touchdown, just 2.7 average plays, spread out over another 20-40 attempts.

    Anybody here a betting man?

  21. Smart that, after years and years of not signing any kick or punt returners as to not waste a roster spot on a specialist, the Chargers sign a specialist whose best days are behind him. Good job, Telesco.

  22. Charger may only be in running for the worst team in nfl history at returning punts, but we are without a doubt the worst ownership in the history of the NFL.


  23. Harrison, I was thinking about ALL of the assistant coaches. We suck, not only on special teams, but stupid penalties in the secondary, Gordon not learning how to find openings in the line, general blocking and tackling and not covering backs. Have I left anything out? Do our assistant coaches teach anything?

  24. Jacoby Jones has always been a feast or famine type of guy – just when you’re about to give up on him, he surprises you. You’d think Woodhead back there could at least make good decisions and get your 4 yards a return.

  25. That will change this week. The bears are coming to town. Punt and kick returns for td’s is tbs norm against them. Also if you are within 10 points and only 2 minutes to go, dont worry we got ni degense to stop that either.

    What every bad team loves to see, the defenseless bears coming to town.

  26. Bears up next. From Brad Biggs of the Tribune: 11 total returns for TDs this year in the NFL. Three of them given up by the Bears. You have to go back 20 since the Bears gave up 3 in a season. they went about ten years under Dave Toub as special team coach where they gave up 3 total in that span.

    So in all seriousness, the Chargers will get far more than the Cards 26 yards in this one game.

  27. Somehow the Chargers will blow it in the last game of the season and end up with 28 return yards and continue to just be a footnote in the record books.

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