What's the Value of Special Teams?

Although each and every game begins with a special teams play, special teams is the phase of football that's most often overlooked. With free agency not even 48 hours old, the Jaguars were able to sign what could be the best special teams player in football in Kassim Osgood.

The Jaguars directional punting philosophy has been fairly effective, as the team led the NFL in punt coverage allowing just 4.2 yards per return. Unfortunately, the directional punting costs the team yards as Adam Podlesh averaged just 41.9 gross yards per punt, which ranked him 27th in the league. With the newly acquired Kassim Osgood on the field as a gunner, the Jaguars may be able to let Podlesh test his leg a little more and get some additional value out of a punter that they spent a fourth-round draft pick back in 2007.

Where the Jaguars need the most help on special teams is in the kickoff coverage area, as the team finished 16th in the NFL. Although 16th is neither fantastic nor horrible, when you have a poor passing offense and one of the worst passing defenses in football, you can't afford to have a mediocre special teams. The Jaguars allowed 22.7 yards per kickoff return in 2009, but had five games in which there were kickoff returns of better than 30 yards. The team lost four of those contests and three of the four were by a touchdown or less. The one game that they were victorious was a 23-20 overtime victory at home against hapless St. Louis.

When you have the 24th ranked offense in the NFL in scoring as the Jaguars did a year ago, you can't give away valuable field position on special teams.

The Jaguars newest member, Kassim Osgood has aspirations about playing wide receiver as well as helping out on special teams.

"I'm thoroughly excited to have a chance to contribute to a team on more than one level. It's something I've wanted for a long time," Osgood told jaguars.com.

Osgood began his career as a wideout with the San Diego Chargers, and caught 28 passes for 586 yards and four touchdowns in his first two years while starting nine games. Osgood then was hurt and couldn't climb up the depth chart.

"I had an injury in my third year. They drafted some receivers and they wanted to stick with those receivers," Osgood said on the Jaguars team website.

It's unclear at this time whether Osgood will be able to make a difference at wide receiver for the Jaguars, but the three-time Pro Bowl special teams gunner should tighten up the team's special teams coverage. That alone could equate to a few more wins and that will be well worth the nearly three million dollars he will earn this year.

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