No Surprise: Panthers 2012 Special Teams the Worst

Al Messerschmidt

If you consider Rich Gosselin to be an authority on compiling special team stats and generating rankings then you'll want to see his latest work.

To put it mildly the Panthers special teams have been less than special the past few seasons; actually for much longer than that. We saw some improvement in 2011 only to hit rock bottom again in 2012. Hence the firing of ST coach Brian Murphy half-way into the season. Though it seemed ST got a little better in the latter half of the season it wasn't enough to improve their final ranking, if you value what Gosselin has done anyway:

2012 Special Teams Rankings by Team

Rk. Team Points
1 Minnesota 253.5
2 Cincinnati 276
3 Baltimore 277
4 Miami 296
5 Seattle 302
6 San Diego 305.5
7 NY Giants 310.5
8 Buffalo 319
9 Chicago 320
10 Arizona 335
11 Denver 335.5
12 Green Bay 337
13 New England 338.5
14 Cleveland 341
15 San Francisco 344.5
16 Tennessee 358.5
17 Dallas 360
18 Atlanta 362
19 NY Jets 373
20 New Orleans 382
21 Tampa Bay 396
22 Pittsburgh 396.5
23 Kansas City 399
24 Houston 402
25 St. Louis 412.5
26 Jacksonville 418
27 Indianapolis 423
28 Philadelphia 427.5
29 Oakland 430.5
30 Detroit 441.5
31 Washington 457
32 Carolina 486

Yup...the Panthers are dead last yet again. Gosselin does provide the best and worst of each category and the areas where the Panthers were the worst in the league is in two areas:

  • Net Punting
  • Number of FGs Made

So I'm not sure how you ding STs for a lack of FG opportunities but hey, he is applying the criteria to all teams. There is a bright light though, one category the Panthers were the best at:

  • Kick off coverage

The Panthers gave up a league best 18.9 yards per kick return. Obviously that one factor was not enough to sway the overall ranking. I do no have insight into how he came up with the overall ranking, whether each factor was weighted equally or not. If the Panthers do not have the worst special teams then they are certainly not far from the bottom. Will it ever get better? Is it too much to ask to be middle of the pack here?

Here's Gosselin's Best and Worst by Category. Note, he's a Cowboys beat writer so ignore the Cowboys data.

Here are the best and worst:

KICKOFF RETURNS

Best: Baltimore, 27.3 yards

Worst: Chicago, 19.8 yards

Cowboys: 29th at 20.6 yards

PUNT RETURNS

Best: Buffalo, 17.1 yards

Worst: Oakland, 5.1 yards

Cowboys: 4th at 12.4 yards

KICKOFF COVERAGE

Best: Carolina, 18.9 yards

Worst: Oakland, 28.9 yards

Cowboys: 6th at 22.0 yards

PUNT COVERAGE

Best: Chicago, 3.4 yards

Worst: Buffalo, 14.8 yards

Cowboys: 16th at 9.6 yards

KICKOFF STARTING POINT

Best: NY Giants, 25.2-yard line

Worst: Cowboys, 20.2-yard line

OPPONENT STARTING POINT

Best: Chicago, Cleveland at 19.9-yard line

Worst: Houston, 25.6-yard line

Cowboys: Tied for 15th at 21.8-yard line

PUNTING

Best: New Orleans, 50.1 yards

Worst: Detroit, 41.4 yards

Cowboys: 24th at 44 yards

NET PUNTING

Best: San Francisco, 43.2 yards

Worst: Carolina, 36.5 yards

Cowboys: 20th at 39.1 yards

INSIDE-THE-20 PUNTS

Best: Arizona, 46

Worst: Philadelphia, 15

Cowboys: Tied for 13th with 28

OPPONENT PUNTING

Best: Chicago, 43.6 yards

Worst: New England, 50.3 yards

Cowboys: 17th at 45.4 yards

OPPONENT NET PUNTING

Best: Tennessee, 36.1 yards

Worst: Oakland, 42.9 yards

Cowboys: 5th at 37.1 yards

FIELD GOALS

Best: Minnesota, 35

Worst: Carolina, 16

Cowboys: Tied for 9th with 29

FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE

Best: Cleveland, Cowboys at 93.5

Worst: Green Bay, 63.6 percent

OPPONENT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE

Best: Tampa Bay, 67.8 percent

Worst: Baltimore, 94.8

Cowboys: 24th at 87.8 percent

EXTRA-POINT PERCENTAGE

Best: 27 teams tied with 100 pct.

Worst: Jacksonville, 94.7 pct.

Cowboys: Tied for 1st

POINTS SCORED

Best: Seattle, Tennessee, 24 apiece

Worst: 6 teams tied with 0

Cowboys: Tied for 14th with 6

POINTS ALLOWED

Best: 7 teams tied with 0

Worst: Detroit, NY Jets, 24 each

Cowboys: Tied for 26th with 18

BLOCKED KICKS

Best: Buffalo, 5

Worst: 8 tied with 0

Cowboys: Tied for last with 0

BLOCKED KICKS ALLOWED

Best: 8 teams tied with 0

Worst: NY Jets, 5

Cowboys: Tied for 9th with 1

TAKEAWAYS

Best: NY Giants, 5

Worst: 9 teams tied with 0

Cowboys: Tied for 7th with 2

GIVEAWAYS

Best: 0 by seven teams

Worst: Philadelphia, 4

Cowboys: Tied for 19th with 2

PENALTIES

Best: Atlanta, 7

Worst: Houston, 28

Cowboys: 3rd with 11

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