How The Packers Can Fix Special Teams In The Draft

Special Teams cost the Packers dearly in the playoffs last season. They've hired a new coach and signed a veteran special teams leader, but it's not enough. If they want to fix this problem, they need to change their draft strategy, too.

For years, the Packers special teams have been abysmal.

They're an albatross for the team and cost them their season last year.

After decades of doing things pretty much the same, the Packers changed course and made a splash, hiring a high-profile special teams coach in Rich Bisaccia

While Bisaccia can bring a new attitude to special teams (which can go a long way), he's gonna need the right ingredients if the Packers expect him to make chicken salad.

This is where the Packers need to again deviate from the way they've done things in the past.

One way they could deviate from their past is by playing more starters on special teams. After AJ Dillon broke a rib playing special teams in the playoffs last year, that may be a tough proposition to sell.

That leaves getting new players as the most likely way to upgrade special teams.

In the free agent market, the Packers brought in Keisean Nixon, who played special teams for the Raiders under Bisaccia. This is a huge signal that the Packers are serious about upgrading their special teams and willing to use their resources to get players specifically for this purpose.

But one player isn't going to do it all. The need some help in the draft, too.

The Packers draft history under Brian Gutekunst is littered with Day 3 failures. As we get deeper into the draft, we expect players of a lower caliber. The problem (as it relates to the current state of Green Bay's special teams) is the Packers late-draft strategy.

Most late round picks under Gutekunst have either been long-term developmental projects (like Jonathan Garvin, Ka'Dar Hollman, and Kendall Donnerson) or fliers on positions of potential need (like Kylin Hill and Jake Hanson). There's nothing wrong with this strategy - projects and fliers sometimes pay dividends - except for the opportunity cost: special teams.

This year, with three 7th round picks, I want to see the Packers specifically target athletic prospects who show strong special teams potential.

The offense and the defense don't have a lot of holes and the Packers have eight picks in the first five rounds (including four in the first two rounds) to address those. Use those late round picks on players that can specifically help on special teams!

In my latest mock draft, I showed how the Packers could address their needs and still target core special teams contributors. I'm willing to bet that Rich Bisaccia would have a lot of input on what prospects he'd like if Gutekunst asked him. 

The Packers have a new special teams coach, they've brought in a veteran special teams leader, now, with the draft rapidly approaching, they can pull in the final pieces to a complete special teams overhaul that could - at the very least - move them to the lowest possible bar of "don't ruin the playoffs."

 

 

Bruce Irons has played, coached, and studied football for decades. Best-selling author of books such as A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft, A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap, and A Fan's Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits And Misses, Bruce contributes to CheeseHeadTV and PackersForTheWin.com.

Follow Bruce Irons on Twitter at @BruceIronsNFL.

 

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2 points

Comments (96)

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Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 06:57 am

I dont think it is just that easy.

You say that playing starters on Special Teams is not the way to go and there is some reasonable thought that reinforces that opinion.

If special teamers are not starters then they must be back-ups to the starters, there are only so many players allowed to dress on gameday.

If the special teamers are not adequate back-ups to the starters that will severely compromise the depth for scheme due to the fact that there are actually more than 11 "starters" on offense and on defense because of package substitutions.

With 3 gameday roster spots already accounted for in K, P and LS, exactly how many more gameday roster spots do you envision holding open for players targeted for their Special Teams play who may not be adequate (or best fit on the roster) to play snaps from scrimmage on O or D? Gameday player limits just don't allow for anything beyond 2-deep depth chart players to be active.

Maybe a team could leverage 2 or 3 players who may be 3rd on the depth chart but are special teams stalwarts, but even that number may compromise offense and defense depth or packages.

It becomes a numbers game and it points to players that will be active on gameday NEED to be able to effectively contribute on special teams.

So... does that justify spending draft choices on players with extensive and productive experience on special teams over players who have better offense or defense experience and production?

Given that most late round draft selections are not thrust into the starting lineup immediately it is reasonable to assume that they are 2 or 3 deep on the depth chart and marginal for gameday activation. They are "developing" players, not "starters" who are expected to get a lot of gameday snaps and carry the team on O or D. Maybe selecting players with ST experience and getting them on ST while they "develop" after being "drafted" isn't such a trade off since late round guys usually spend 3-4 years "developing" before they fade off the roster and are replaced by other late round hopefuls. Each pick doesn't pan out, so why keep swinging for the fences when a single is all that is really needed?

OTOH, some late rounders DO pay off, and if you don't swing for the fence you surely will not hit a home run, bunts do not clear the fences.

It is a delicate balance from a few perspectives. A little strategic change certainly couldn't hurt the Special Teams make up, however the tactical changes needed to accomplish that strategic change has the potential to thin the numbers available on gameday for O and D scrimmage snaps as well as possibly lowering the ability of the team to grow future legitimate 2-deep talent.

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stockholder's picture

April 17, 2022 at 07:56 am

1. Draft Matt Araiza. The Ray Guy award winner can put it in the end Zone. #2. Keep Lowrey off special Teams. #3. Start drafting LBs who can run beyond 10 feet and can Tackle. I like Wrap up tacklers. How many wrap up tacklers are on this club? #4. Don't TEs play on Sts.? #5. It's not easy to get players on board. More injuries happen and the rules keep changing...... But if they bleed green and gold they can do it.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 09:52 am

Well, Lancaster is gone for a reason. The LBs are the critical ingredients and their history with selecting the heartbeat of the D is less than stellar, pathetic would be more appropriate. The free agents pick up of Barnes and Campbell covered their butts. McDuffie may have some value remaining, but Summers is a whiff and Burks was shown the door. This is the draft to recover and secure real football players including a Fullback and two TEs with the requisite profiles. I still remember watching SEC games where Burks was just mauled in the middle, yet they thought he could play at a NFL level. The Klieg lights are on the RAS patrol.

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HawkPacker's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:23 am

I would think that with a new Defensive Coordinator, who emphasizes the ILB's, hopefully those days are behind us.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:24 am

He doesn't draft the players.

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PatrickGB's picture

April 18, 2022 at 09:01 am

Stock. I don’t know about your draft choice. I suck at guessing draft choices. Yet you are spot on about the type of players typically on ST’s. Linebackers, TE’s, Safety’s, CB’s, RB’s, and even Jeff Janis type WR’s can often fill the role of great ST players. My guess is that the team will draft some players for those positions anyway. So an emphasis on that skill should be considered.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 17, 2022 at 08:21 am

Yes, this will certainly work. After 100 years, we finally have a way to ensure that special teams won’t cost us a win.

If changing coaches and players was the answer, then it wouldn’t have been a problem for 100 years.

The Day 3 picks that you say are littered with failures? 22 out of the 24 Day 3 picks by Gutekunst are still in the league.

The obvious solution is to de-emphasize special teams, and reduce their ability to impact the game.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:44 am

This series of sp.teams disasters is squarely on the last tier of the Wolf tree, dating from the 2011 draft onward.
I do not believe your icon Vince Lombardi would play the head-in-the-hole game of Ostrich to delimit risk in the Third Phase of Football. He had dynamic sp.teams and demanded efficiency of operation. The writing was on the Wall from September forward. The failure was squarely on the personnel dept and LaFleur for retaining Drayton.
Bad vibes in the clubhouse lead to bad Karma on the field. Stockholder has the guy for you scoped out. I'm warming up to this idea as Crosby has lost some range. I will agree with the idea of zero returned kickoffs from the opposing team.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 17, 2022 at 01:55 pm

Would you like me to list some of the special teams breakdowns in the Lombardi Era? Because they happened

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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 02:10 pm

LOL! Truth!!!

It’s funny, but, many Championship teams weren’t without their own roster imperfections, and some lucky breaks here and there. Times in their seasons where all hope seemed lost…

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 04:53 pm

We're not talking about Don Chandler's FG in OT vs the Colts in '65. Travis Williams hauled the ball out of the end zone as well as Elijah Pitts. Herb Adderly took the punted ball and broke for space. Vince brought the "Hang Time " concept to the game with Anderson's punting. Man he would drill them higher than the top of the field lights. O.K. bring back Donny and and they will not return the punts...

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jurp's picture

April 17, 2022 at 05:21 pm

Jerry Kramer played on the kickoff team and enjoyed it (see "Instant Replay" for confirmation), a clear case of a starter on special teams.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 18, 2022 at 03:22 pm

They all did and no agent whined to Vince about any of it.

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jurp's picture

April 17, 2022 at 05:23 pm

Crosby will never leave until he retires, unless they REALLY want to piss off AR.

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Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:47 pm

Please stop using AR as the justification for each and every decision made for the GBP.

No wonder I hate the guy...

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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:59 pm

Standing ovation.

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Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:29 pm

You are up waaaaaayyy too late reading my drunken comments on this fan board...

LOLOL

Happy Easter!

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

April 17, 2022 at 08:18 am

Just bring back Janus.

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 17, 2022 at 09:45 am

OK! He has a new name...it is Christian Watson...who would play on every ST including returning kicks and as a gunner. Oh, he can catch passes quite well too.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:18 am

Toss in Skyy Moore, Kalon Barnes, Alonte Taylor, Damarri Mathis, Zamir White, Pierce fits the Janis profile,
Castro-Fields or Taylor-Britt from Nebraska. Olave played sp.teams for OSU as well as Wilson. This draft is loaded with 4.3 guys all down the line.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 17, 2022 at 05:16 pm

So, we should put our starting WR in a position to take a bad injury returning kicks?

I think that’s a bad idea.

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Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:49 pm

Jesus, there isnt an injury on every ST snap.

Just stop with all the injury risk shit.

EVERY PLAY in an NFL game carries injury risk.

Can they play football or not?

If not, get them an NBA contract and move on.

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Coldworld's picture

April 18, 2022 at 06:37 pm

If I have a rookie I need to be a top 3 receiver, that is all I want him worrying about though.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 19, 2022 at 01:53 pm

Bhaktiari hurt his knee torquing it in Practice. Bulaga and Jordy in Pre-season Family Picnic Nights....

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 18, 2022 at 03:28 pm

Freeman did and Sharpe. The Hill analogy is as weak as his ability to execute a basic sidestep move and save his knee. Bring in as many RBs and WRs to fill these sp teams spots.

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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:16 pm

LP,
Maybe the WR who finished 2021 as the FBS active leader in KR yards would help… I’ve been trying to tell everybody for weeks now. 3000 KR yards in his career without a single muff. Best YAC, YAContact and Missed Tackles Forced in the entire WR draft class. Tough as nails. 2nd fastest WR in the draft. Top Catch% in the entire draft class….

What more needs sharing when I say the entire draft industry missed on him?

Velus Jones Jr.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

April 17, 2022 at 09:57 am

😂😂😂

1 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

April 17, 2022 at 08:40 am

I think the Packers will probably go with three WRs in this draft. The third should have the ability to return the ball.

No way a punter gets drafted. The new special teams coach told the Packers who he wanted for P and they went out and got him. That position is done.

I wouldn't sleep on a kicker in the 7th round. Crosby has had his ups and downs over the years - last year was his worst since 2012. But setting those variations aside for a second, he can't get the ball out the back of the endzone consistently anymore, and mostly he only does it in the first quarter. Range MIGHT be starting to show up in his stats too. Although his 50+ success rate was decent, it was a small sample size. His 40-49 success rate was the worst of his career. I think it is probably time to move on. Coach B will probably win out on this issue if he deems it a priority.

Beyond that, it is a lot of "want to" and practice time. Those things can be fixed.

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:51 am

I agree on the wides. They also need to hit on two more TEs, another RB with size and speed and I want my Fullback. They have to have the Rhinos on the return team and FG protection units. When do they win SBs? When a Fullback is part of the offense. Guys like William Henderson and John Kuhn. Dafney is a Liability and how many times did he FU and miss his man when Crosby's kicks were blocked. I have to admit, I was skeptical of the Stockholder punter selection, but he is a Punter/Kicker. This isn't sherman taking a guy with a three pick and watching him flop when they low-balled Bidwell. As per the article, use the 4-7 picks with an eye for a Role on the sp.teams. I have no objection to them looking at a guy like Araiza. The 2022 draft has been hailed as one of the best for Punters and the kid from Georgia as a Kicker. Bring in Competition, fight status quo.

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Coldworld's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:18 pm

I wonder if, had Rodgers moved on, Crosby would have retired. They still have JJ Molson around. I wouldn’t mind it if Crosby didn’t kick off but I’m not sure Rodgers would be thrilled to let his golfing partner go and I don’t see three kickers being active.

That of course ignored the option of drafting the kicker/punter prodigy. Teams generally avoid dual kickers though, as they usually back up each other in the event of injury. More particularly I don’t see a punter only because it’s pretty clear RB got the man he wanted and he wanted him for reason of his proven cold weather consistency, directional expertise and known ability as a holder in difficult conditions. Sounds like we have our punter of choice.

I’m fine with going with RB’s choice. That acumen in assembling pieces is in part why we paid him. Now we need to let him do it. I think Crosby is essentially a given thanks to Rodgers. Now we definitely need to give some attention to LS, and early: let them all work together as long as possible.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 04:24 pm

I believe Crosby will be in a competition this Summer Camp. It doesn't bother me to have a kickoff specialist that brings home the touchback at a 90% plus clip on the roster who can also punt. What was the contract term for the guy from the Bears.

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Coldworld's picture

April 17, 2022 at 04:52 pm

According to Rob Demovsky, the Packers signed O'Donnell to a two-year deal worth $4 million including a $950,000 roster bonus and a total of $1.6 million guaranteed.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 05:16 pm

Sounds like he will stay. Never hurts to have competition, but Stockholder's guy may go in the fifth.

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PatrickGB's picture

April 18, 2022 at 09:14 am

Other than simply being friends, I don’t see a Rodgers Crosby connection. But I don’t know that for sure. My concern was and is with the LS. There is no doubt that we now have a better holder and more consistent punter, yet I saw some bad snaps last year and as others have noted, an undersized guy doing it.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 17, 2022 at 08:11 pm

Why three? We already have 4 and don’t dress more than 5.

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packer132's picture

April 17, 2022 at 09:02 am

I think coaching is the key, and it appears the Packers made a huge upgrade. Many games saw missed assignments and not holding the lane. If players execute their own role, that will be a big improvement. Player upgrades will help though I am not for drafting ST guys who are a liability if forced to get on the field for someone injured. There are players on the team who could do a good job on teams without risking stars like DIllon. I am not expecting a top 5 unit, but I think GB fans will be happy with the results at the end of the season.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:17 am

They can hold their lanes, but if they whiff and draw air with their tackling efforts, they have to be replaced. Four LBs from this draft and the UDFAs. Hell, bring in six. Wilborn should have replaced Summers on the roster last go round. Whatever the evaluation protocol is for LBs at 1265 Lombardi Ave, it has to be shredded and burned.

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Tundraboy's picture

April 19, 2022 at 10:40 pm

Think you're definitely on to something with LB philosophy. Too much meh and not enough boom and tackle.

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NickPerry's picture

April 17, 2022 at 09:08 am

I couldn't agree more Bruce, and I thing Gute WILL address ST with those later picks and when he signs UDFA after the draft. I also imagine Gute will be looking at several of the players who are cut later in the summer or after June 1st. The Packers HAVE to address ST this year.

They have a new punter who's an excellent holder which will be HUGE for Crosby. I'd strongly suggest they find a new LS too. Use one of those 7th rounders if there's a LS who you don't think you could get as an UDFA. I just googled Wirtel and saw he ran the fastest 40 time in combine history...LOL... Who gives a damn when you weight 225 pounds and had your ass handed to you by the 49ers on the blocked punt by a guy who normally didn't play ST. A LOT of good that 40 time did you when you were blown backwards 6 yards!

IMO the coaching will lift them to at least middle of the road in rankings. Draft a few players who exc and maybe you could get to around 10th.

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Coldworld's picture

April 17, 2022 at 01:23 pm

A lot of this is about the coach knowing what other teams do and how other teams counter that. When it emerged Drayton was still trying to figure out what we needed to do differently mid season it pretty much told me that the problem isn’t just players.

They have to know what they are supposed to do and to know where their neighbors are and what they are doing and what to expect. That’s what coaching is for. It wouldn’t surprise me if the new coach gets a lot more from some already here.

Bring in the new blood and let them fight it out and, unless one is a really viable backup in other phases, make STs the decider for the last 5-10 places. Don’t just hang on to the Burks or Summers of this world because they are just ok on STs, accept that if they are not good on D or O we should go with a better STer if there is one and accept the small downside from poor if they need a snap in other phases.

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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:56 pm

Exactly. The focus shouldn’t be on simply adding ST players using the back half of a draft, or whatever. Draft the best players overall for your O & D, and some of those will also have STs capabilities that will likely be better. They’ll all be a more dynamic group of players with which to build ST units.

Doesn’t hurt considering those who offer proven position group talents along with ST strengths, ala Shemar Jean-Charles last year.

Summers didn’t get drafted for his STs abilities. He’s been a perfect illustration of what we don’t need: those great players in college who lack only the physical gifts to make them successful players in the NFL. It can be a night and day difference with every player faced being bigger & faster.

Summers’ only physical detriment is length. It’s too bad, because he’s all about the game of football. Maybe Bisaccia can help him, but we should draft his replacement - at ILB. Maybe replace him on STs with Ray Wilborn, if, say, we draft Troy Andersen at ILB early.

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Coldworld's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:57 pm

I disagree on the lesson you take from Summers. He wasn’t a great college player who couldn’t make the step athletically. He was a great athlete who hadn’t shown great production in college. The hope, presumably, was that he could excel on STs due to that athleticism while he improved his game on D. That hasn’t happened, but it’s an oft tried late draft/UDFA tactic.

I wonder if better ST coordinators might have got more from him. Either way, he’s not improved on D and so time is probably expired unless RB works a miracle in preseason or some unlikely magic light comes on on O.

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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 04:14 pm

Eh, he lacked length. It was an oversight. Made him a coverage liability in college, and became a giant, glaring weakness in the NFL. Amazing the difference something as simple as arm length can be.

Christian Uphoff is a perfect example. 32” arms? Not anything like Jeremy Chinn’s & Kyle Duggar’s 34” levers… Jalen Ramsey… 34” arms… It makes a difference in the players who are truly special.

LB’s, Safeties, OTs, OGs, WRs, DTs, EDGE players all benefit greatly from that kind of length. Stick to loading that, Pro traits, and your pool of players you choose from for STs becomes that much better. Develop.

No one can develop short arms to be longer.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 04:29 pm

No instincts.

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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 05:10 pm

Well, I didn’t qualify, “physical detriment,” for nothing. LOL

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Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:57 pm

Instincts are mental.

I have seen a lot of stretching of the truth and pulling of the legs, but you are correct in saying that those activities never increased anyone's arm length.

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Coldworld's picture

April 18, 2022 at 06:42 pm

Procrustes had an answer but not great subsequent prospects

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HarryHodag's picture

April 17, 2022 at 09:11 am

Counterpoint: fixing special teams could be counter productive to offensive and defensive efficiency.

If you draft players who might be ok running down the field and making an open field tackle or block that's one thing. But having to come into the game as a backup with less ability to perform principal football tasks is also not good. As the Packers have proven many times having a solid back up(Nijman and Kelly come to mind) keeps momentum. Having a lesser safety or cornerback behind the starters invites the opponent to pick on the backup.
They could save one position by having Jake Hanson, perpetual backup center, as the long snapper.

I think coddling the starters has gone far enough. If you're always afraid they will get hurt, guess what? They will get hurt. Put more of your starters on the special teams and don't weaken your team by putting whozits in backup roles.
Yes, if a starter gets hurt, it's a negative. But the starter could blow out a knee on a routine play and be out for a year anyway.

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Coldworld's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:46 pm

ST kicking units typically practice while the other phases practice. Since the CBA dramatically limited practice times, teams have gone away from using players as specialists. I think the emergency LS last year was Tipa, who was originally a PS deep depth developmental OLB. Hanson practiced at guard and played there. If he’s got potential as a G, that’s more important to develop.

I don’t want a key player taken out by STs. I don’t mind some players who get regular snaps seeing some on STs, but not difference makers or ones in positions in which we are thin. We saw how significant an effect that can be with Dillon. Dillon was integral to the game plan, per LaFleur; risking him as we did should never have occurred.

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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 05:28 pm

Those are great points, especially that last bit regarding Dillon.

IMO, load up on great position players, some of whom are also specialists, but all of them the best position players you can find, use that as your pool from which to assemble STs units, and figure the rest out.

In this day, get the best position players. Instincts. Measureables. Burks. Summers. Respectively.

Ever pick is important. I think Gutekunst has learned much in his 4 previous drafts. No wiggle room if this all-in thing involving finding immediate starters is for reals regarding this draft. We’ll see.

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Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:03 pm

I do not agree with the injury risk non-sense for starters on special teams.

Coach them up on technique and let them play football. Injuries do not occur on every snap and if used to hitting and being hit the chance of injury declines dramatically.

The coddling has to stop if the CBA squeezes the time allowed for development of ST proficiency.

Suck it up buttercup! That was for you Oppy!

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Tundraboy's picture

April 19, 2022 at 10:46 pm

Agree totally NP. Goes without saying playing a key star should never happen. Dumbest move I've ever seen given the game situation, let alone a high stakes playoff game.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 09:29 am

Excellent article and definitely hit home with the missed targets and whiffs from the later rounds, exclusive of the wasted draft equity on guys like Jackson, Burks, Keke, Summers, Scott and the murders' row from the 2018-19 drafts.
This has obviously not gotten the job done. If he cannot work the lower end more efficiently just trade them up and sign free agents with some sp teams capabilities. Shanked punts, blocked FGs and the killing blow of a red zone protection failure to gift the win to San Francisco in the playoff Game. Shameful. Work in more picks with a trade down with one of the firsts if the best WR targets are gone by pick # 18. They started to get the message in the 2021 draft, now let's fill the coffer with speed and hitters. Project reclamation is past it's time.

4 points
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packerbackerjim's picture

April 17, 2022 at 09:28 am

Starters on special teams is a mostly unnecessary risk. 47 players, 22 starters on the game day roster, leaving 25 to man the ST. Dillon was injured playing on special teams and his absence contributed to the dashed hopes for a SB. He was drafted for bringing a bruising running attack in frigid games. It was a grievous error by MLF. One would hope he doesn’t repeat the mistake.

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calabasa's picture

April 17, 2022 at 09:43 am

Agreed. Hell no to starters playing special teams. That’s what bad drafting forces.

I assume when MLF said he’d take a hard look around the league at ST best practices, he’ll count how many starters other teams use on STs as a reference.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 18, 2022 at 03:30 pm

Dillon fits the profile of a Sp.Teams contributor. Burks took him out as he was out of control on his assignment, not a 49r. Was Dillon injured in any of the other 17 Games playing sp teams? The problem was they did not have another power back on the offense and zero Fullback(s) to provide the Wham. Dafney was lost in space and should be on the street as we speak. When you stock the shelves with scrubs, you do not Win the Big Games. P.S. Alec Ingold is from their backyard and they blew another chance to secure his services. First they let Gruden snag him as a UDFA and he now has signed up with Miami and earned his coin as a Free agent. He can block, receive out of the backfield and works on sp teams as a Lead Dog. read 'em and weep.

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Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:08 pm

your numbers are for shit.

you leave out the 3 specialists on the gameday roster as well as the 'starters' for the nickel and dime defense and 2-3 offense packages.

the pool to select from is much thinner than you state.

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packerbackerjim's picture

April 18, 2022 at 04:01 am

If there were 18 “viable” candidates you still should be able to field a ST without having to rely on a essential starter.

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Johnblood27's picture

April 18, 2022 at 09:24 am

ALL starters are pretty much essential to scheme and success.

There may be 2 or 3 players who are clear second string that can step in almost seamlessly for the starter they back up, but not many more than that.

That leaves a pool of players with inferior talent for doing the football job that "starters" are relied upon to deliver. These guys are the STARTERS on Special Teams. Hmmmmmmm

0 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

April 17, 2022 at 09:53 am

I keep reading starters should not play STs because of injury risk.

Do they get injured? Do more injuries happen per play on STs vs O and D? I ask because I have not seen the facts.

I think the Patriots play THEIR BEST players in the ST positions...some of those players are also starters on O and D.

3 points
3
0
dobber's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:46 am

Pretty much EVERY team uses some of their starters on ST.

2 points
2
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Coldworld's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:48 pm

I’ve been digging around on this, because I hear it a lot and, honestly, really didn’t know how true it was. There appears to be a dearth of league wide analysis, so I had to use team specific data, often game by game.

What I found is that it’s much less than often suggested. Some teams occasionally use starters, but the regular snaps are depth players on the day. Even the Patriots don’t heavily use guys who take the majority of snaps at their positions, with a partial exception: their O line. They use 3 or 4 O line for blocking snaps consistently, including both Ts. DL less so.

By no means a truly scientific survey, but it’s interesting given our usage of players on kicks/punts. I’d be fine with that I think, at least for our younger OL. I think Bakh not so much.

1 points
1
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jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 04:38 pm

We do know all the starters will be on the Hands Team for an On-sides Kick.

3 points
3
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Coldworld's picture

April 17, 2022 at 06:24 pm

Maybe this year. Last year the vogue was to play 10 to confuse them I think.

3 points
3
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greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 07:30 pm

Thanks for the laugh I didn’t know I needed!!! He said, “vogue.” Sadly, hilarious.

0 points
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0
jannes bjornson's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:29 am

Can't play scared. When things got hairy, Belichick coached the Sp.Teams units. He Knows the rules of the game. He understands that every play matters.

5 points
6
1
Fubared's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:20 pm

I think its stupid to take a star anything and ask them to run back kicks.
Amari Rodgers is to dumb to do it and anyone thinking he can play slot is drinking too much. The guy is dumber then a bar of soap.

-4 points
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4
Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:09 pm

Is your name Ivory or in todays vernacular Axe?

0 points
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0
MainePackFan's picture

April 17, 2022 at 09:56 am

Players alone will not fix special teams. The emphasis has to be on execution. That starts in practice. More time has to be dedicated to ST on a weekly basis in practice.

When you look at players being constantly out of position in key moments (IE: vs SF), it becomes quite obvious that this is as big a coaching issue as it is a player issue. IMHO it starts at the top with MLF. Bisaccia will make a difference, but only if MLF is 100 percent supportive of the changes.

After last years debacle, I have no doubt that he will be.

6 points
6
0
Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:11 pm

The CBA and players wish to not have to work for their extravagant paychecks is for shit.

Not having time to become competent to do their jobs due to CBA rules is absolute shit and a slap in the face of every fan and corporate sponsor who ponies up a buck to fill the coffers of the nfl.

DO YOUR J-O-B!!!

0 points
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PatrickGB's picture

April 18, 2022 at 09:25 am

With the current CBA there is only so much time devoted to practice. Matt often cuts that short. I think he once mentioned that it was for players health. Ok, I get that. But why not spend more time with ST’s? I am not talking about a full on hair on fire practice, just more walkthrough for the ST’s. Most of the mistakes were mental.

4 points
4
0
canadapacker's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:43 am

Totally agree with the fact that for over a decade GB has not valued or assessed in their player evaluations - special team characteristics and maybe that combined with the allocation of practice time ( limited padded of course) has led to the long term struggles of this sector. Now agree with not using some starters on special teams - especially those with limited numbers of replacement starters behind them in case of injury. There are also many different special teams types of players. For example gunners who can beat the downfield blockers and can tackle - usually wide receivers. Heavier guys in the middle who can jam things up and once again make the tackles - or block without holding or take block in the back penalties. Those are usually the tight end types of guys. The specialty types - ie the return guys - need not only be able to hold onto the ball - but also need to use their head as to when to call a FC and when not to carry the ball out of the end zone. Sometimes - starters are called on to do this because they are best at that. We have had many failures in that - including letting punts sail over our heads and losing field position. When it comes to taking 4th rounders and later - special team attributes as well as can that person develop need to factored in. When equal take the guy who can play special teams. Take the guy who will block and tackle - take the guy who is smart enough not to block in the back. And let the special teams coach have the practice time to work on this stuff. I believe that has been a GB lower ranked segment in the past .

3 points
4
1
Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:14 pm

Thank goodness you have really looooong winters to think of how to fix things.

Nobody in the NFL ever thought of that.

He shoots... he SCORES!!!! sorry, didn't mean to distract you...

-1 points
0
1
canadapacker's picture

April 18, 2022 at 10:55 am

YOu dont need to be a smart -... Most died in the wool packers fans have been moaning about our special teams and we all can remember games lost - MVS's fumble - Montogomery fumble ( followed by him getting traded) both leading to losses and of course last year's playoff loss. Now many of us - see above comments also complain about the labour agreement that limits practice time and in particular padded practice and camp time etc - that factors into the equation - but whether or not the team focuses in on those things also is a big factor. As I have posted before - it seems that other teams ( Ravens/Steelers etc) either evaluates or practices one on one tackling with their players - but we dont seem to have the same emphasis with our guys - those are important and maybe the whole organization from scouts up to the GM need to see that big picture and how it effects RESULTS/aka WINS.

3 points
3
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Johnblood27's picture

April 18, 2022 at 03:10 pm

C;mon, eh?

0 points
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0
Pantz_Burp's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:03 am

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy...

We have Chef Bisaccia - now, we need to get some ingredients that hopefully he can create some dishes that are lip-smackin. It comes to mentality...wanting, yes WANTING to beat the person in front of you. It takes will (and some talent) but mainly, the WILL to win your battle...kinda like Good Will Hunting. With the $ on the line and the real potential to suffer an injury (physical or mental), some maybe more concerned with protecting their long term potential with the prove-it now attitude to stick with a team and hopefully a larger role on O or D. But, if you are a special teamer extraordinaire...then the team needs to justify paying you accordingly. Some teams, will...some won't.

This is where leaders come in...players and coaches that the ST player wants to do their best out of respect for the coach (and team to a lesser degree). They have to buy into this. It is harder to buy into this thought when it appears certain high-ranking players are just mainly interested in getting as much money for themselves at all costs to the team; less money to spend on deficiencies that need to be addressed. It is the skilled players right to demand the $ they feel they have earned; just don't pretend that you are all in (for fielding the best team on this final of final of final last dances)...when you are not.

We need some Rudy Ruettigers on this team...the STs! One's with heart...with the will, desire and fire in the belly to get the job done. These types may not be the most talented BUT they will try until the whistle blows.

Shout out to my first cousin! He is having a challenging time...he is addicted to brake fluid. I check up on him every now and then. His response is always, "Don't worry, I can STOP any time." GPG!

1 points
2
1
greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 12:21 pm

Do you want to win the Super Bowl THIS YEAR, or not? You take 2 WRs with recent ACL surgeries with 22 & 28. I mean, the high stress can’t miss “all-in” guise we fans have been dished out leading into this draft involves adding WRs who can deliver immediate starting-level play contributions in 2022.

???

As for your plan of adding top talents to STs beginning in R7, that seems even less likely, and more a recipe for mediocrity & failure. That also adversely affects depth for talented, but not quite NFL ready players at other much needed positions.

Show me an OT R3-7 who doesn’t need “sand in the pants,” a solid year eating at an NFL training table, and subsequent weight/strength/technique training. There are some highly valuable additions we won’t take with this kind of plan.

Just pick your best players all the way through. Forget about being ST specific. Increase the talent overall on this football team, and designate you ST groups accordingly with what you have.

THAT will make for better talent everywhere.

Get rid of late ST hopes that can’t deliver elsewhere, and stop thinking of late round picks as being one dimensional contributors. If you draft for that, then that’s what you’re stuck with… and pretty much why we’re at the bottom, regardless of scheme and coaching on STs.

Our top 2 STs tacklers last season, Ty Summers and Oren Burks, can’t play a lick at their respective positions. Top 2 on one of the worst STs units in the NFL. See where I’m going here?

4 points
4
0
Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:17 pm

YUP...

0 points
0
0
jhtobias's picture

April 17, 2022 at 12:20 pm

I hope that fans on this site are not shocked when the packers pick their first wide receiver with a 2nd round pick at best. One thing we know about Gutey and those before him he values BAP and those who can play multiple positions. I would be shocked if he had a first round grade on any of these receivers except maybe one or two of them who will be long gone by the time he picks,

for this example they keep the 22 and 28

If somehow a Jordan Davis slips with olave at 22 you pick Jordan Davis who could bring a defense to a dominant stage allow them to move off Lowery save 5 million . How many Jordan Davis are their in this draft vs WR?

This draft is also loaded in the first 2 to 3 rounds with NFL caliber speed inside linebackers which are far more valuable than a WR You have Channing Tindell , Quay Walker, Nakobe Dean imagine one of those guys next to Campbell.

Please don't take Leo Chanel, Muma or whatever his name is to be starters or Anderson unless it is in later rounds these guys are just aj hawk and Blake Anderson all over again can't cover and will get a million tackles 5 yards down the field . they are good special team guys but not nfl starters in 2022 maybe in 1995 .

0 points
1
1
greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 12:52 pm

Agree. There’s only 1 WR I could see them add R1, that they should add. The rest? Debatable. However, top players at other prime positions could be had, and should be taken if the WR run hits early.

Chenal is highly questionable at the NFL level. He’s proven in college he can’t cover, and his short arms render improvement as a Pro unlikely. Seems much too much like Ty Summers, a player I had high hopes for, but should probably be replaced with a more capable overall player.

1 points
2
1
Coldworld's picture

April 17, 2022 at 05:04 pm

The only thing that I feel very confident about is that the first round of this draft is more unpredictable than we’ve seen in quite a while. Who and what position(s) we end up with in the first is extremely hard to guess at.

2 points
2
0
Reghamster's picture

April 18, 2022 at 03:14 am

Chenal's arms are longer than Micah Parsons ... just saying. Someone compared him earlier to A. J. Hawk negatively. I think a few people would not find having another A. J. Hawk on the team at this point a bad thing . Muma looks good as well. The FO tends to choose Edge and Dbs over other positions in terms of priority . ILB and TE are never chosen til later rounds Also by signing Reed and Watkins it makes it less likely that they will choose a DL or WR in the first round . Probably an edge or Safety or DB with flexibility to play multiple roles will be their top picks or a good OT (considering the injuries of Bakhti and Jenkins and the free agency issues next year) might be chosen in the 1st round if one slides especially. There are probably only 1 or 2 WR that they would take early and they will be gone. Plenty later to choose from. One thing people rarely consider with WRs is how Seniors and older wrs almost never succeed as well as younger receivers making Watson and a few others likely busts . It takes 2 to 3 years to acclimate to the pros. I like the KY receiver that no one mentions too even if doesn't fit the Packer prototype . He just produced( in the SEC no less) with a so so team and qb. Having said all that, I agree that the FA should just draft players that could help play when someone goes down and not worry about ST types . Maybe a few among the NDFAs is a worth considering.

-1 points
0
1
MainePackFan's picture

April 17, 2022 at 02:47 pm

I agree with you regarding WR. I would take Wyatt over Olave as well.

I disagree with you about Troy Anderson (I assume that's who were referring to). I think he is a kid that can do a lot of things to help a football team. I have a feeling he will be a 3rd round pick, probably middle of the round.

Who is this Blake Anderson you speak of? I assume you were referring to Blake Martinez ;)

-1 points
0
1
Coldworld's picture

April 17, 2022 at 02:48 pm

Wyatt may be off our and other boards for off field reasons related to additional domestic violence issues.

https://walterfootball.com/nflhotpress/article/Teams-Dropping-Wyatt-From...

As with anything at this time of year, a pinch of salt is recommended, of course.

1 points
1
0
MainePackFan's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:25 pm

I knew about the issues but I thought the charges were dropped. Based on your link I have to agree that he may be off the Packers board. Time will tell.

it does seem strange that Georgia would have kept him if it was bad enough to keep him off NFL teams draft board.

0 points
0
0
Coldworld's picture

April 17, 2022 at 04:12 pm

If it is true, the suggestion is that teams uncovered the additional incidents when undertaking due diligence (or services employed by them to assist) as I understand it.

0 points
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0
Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:19 pm

I would overlook any such charges.

Boys will be boys...

Can he play ball?

-2 points
0
2
Fubared's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:17 pm

I have a Gutt feeling Basilica with curse Oakland at the end of the season for not giving him the Raiders job. You need talent and players to make special teams work. He ain't doing anything with this group of clowns.

-3 points
0
3
Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:25 pm

goddam you're hilarious!

Basilica... thats comedy gold!

0 points
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0
Fubared's picture

April 17, 2022 at 03:19 pm

I got Gutty passing on the guys you all think he should pick at 22 and 28 and going for guys who can run back kicks too. He said often, He looks at draft picks by if they can play more then one position.
He will pass on some raw talent at receiver to get the lesser guys and say, they can run back kicsk too. Ya right

-5 points
0
5
Since'61's picture

April 17, 2022 at 10:34 pm

First things first, to fix STs get the basics correct. First, Get the blocking right on our FGs and Punts. Having 2 kicks blocked in a playoff game is a disgrace for any playoff team. Most teams don't have 2 kicks blocked in a season never mind 2 kicks blocked I the same game.

Next, get a consistent long snapper. Some one who consistently makes strong, accurate snaps to the holder and the punter. Also, a holder who can handle the ball effectively if the snap is slightly off target either high or low. The best scenario is a holder who can execute a fake FG or get a pass off in case of a inaccurate snap.

We a returner or returners who can first, catch the ball, second secure the ball and thirdly has some skills at running with the ball. Again blocking. Put guys on STs who can actually execute a block for the returner(s).

Returns, get players who can stay in their lanes and know how to tackle.

If we need to put starters on our Sets to accomplish the above then so be it. There was a time when NFL rosters had 33 dressed players per game. Guess what, staters played on STs. In the Lombardi era, Bart Starr, the teams starting QB was the holder on FGs and PATs. Max McGee and Donny Anderson were punters. Paul Hornung and Jerry Kramer kicked PATs and FGs. Herb Adderly and Willie Wood were the KR and PR respectively. Nitschke and Dave Robinson covered punts and KOs. Numerous other starters played on STs as well.

If we only play 3rd and 4th tier players on STs we will only get 3rd and 4th level results, which is what the Packers have been getting for far too long. Do we risk starters to injury? Of course we do. But we risk our starters to injury on every play. Our STs need to improve and the Packers coaches starting with MLF need to make that improvement happen. it's too bad that it had to cost the Packers a chance to advance in the playoffs for MLF and the FO to realize it.
Thanks, Since '61

3 points
3
0
greengold's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:20 pm

Yeah. Neon Deon wasn’t a valuable starter… lol…

We need to stop doing the stupid shit we’ve been doing for years on STs, and get back to winning all 3 phases of the game. A lot of it starts with better drafting from Gutekunst. No designating late round picks for STs. They wind up killing out overall team depth.

Draft complete players. Fill the roster with the physical attributes that excel, at their respective positions, the high football IQ, and the instincts required to play at a high level. Everywhere. Assemble your STs from that, a more complete, more competitive roster.

Totally agree, Since. It’s football. They all should know what to do, if Gutekunst does this right.

3 points
3
0
Since'61's picture

April 18, 2022 at 08:57 am

Agree greengold. We need to draft football players rather than just specialists. The Packers have ignored STs for far too long. Thanks, Since '61

2 points
2
0
Coldworld's picture

April 18, 2022 at 06:53 pm

Neon did not have to tackle, perhaps that helped.

0 points
0
0
Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2022 at 11:23 pm

Sorry Dobber, Since '61 gets a plate full of peanut butter cookies.

1 points
1
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Since'61's picture

April 18, 2022 at 08:58 am

A full plate! That is great is great. I'm willing to share. Thanks, Since '61

0 points
0
0