Monday, February 9, 2009
Charting special teams
By Kevin Seifert
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
If you haven't already, make sure you check out Rick Gosselin's annual special teams rankings in the Dallas Morning News.
Gosselin ranks the NFL's 32 special teams in 22 different categories, producing a composite point total for his final standings. Chicago remains the NFC North's top-ranked special teams, but the Bears slipped to No. 8 from No. 1 the previous two seasons thanks to the well-documented decrease in Devin Hester's productivity. Here is where the rest of the NFC North landed, followed by some notes:
Detroit: No. 19
Minnesota: No. 25
Green Bay: No. 26
- It's interesting to note that both the Vikings (Brian Murphy) and Packers (Shawn Slocum) will have new special teams coordinators in 2009. Both were promoted from their positions as assistant special teams coaches.
- The Bears led the NFL with 40 punts downed inside the 20-yard line and also blocked a league-high four kicks.
- Detroit's Jason Hanson had the NFL's highest field goal conversion percentage (95.4). The Lions also led the league with five special teams takeaways.
- Minnesota had the NFL's worst punt coverage team, allowing 14.9 yards per return. The Vikings also gave up a league-high 44 points on special teams (seven touchdowns and a safety).
- The Packers had the NFL's lowest kick-return average (20.1 yards) and a league-high 24 penalties.