Why Packer Special Teams Are Destined To Stay Terrible

The Packers have fired Special Teams Coordinator Maurice Drayton. But that doesn't necessarily mean things are going to get better. 

Maurice Drayton has been fired and Packers fans everywhere are high-fiving!

Special teams is going to be great now, right? At the very least, they can't get any worse... can they?

Well, let's look at how bad they've been. This year, the Packers had the worst special teams unit in the league. The 49ers were terrible on special teams and even they embarrassed the Packers sad-sack special teams unit to fuel an unlikely playoff victory.

If I recall correctly, this isn't a new problem - it feels like Packers special teams have been pretty bad for a while. PFF agrees, too - here is where they ranked the Packers special teams for the last half-decade:

  • 2020: 31
  • 2019: 22
  • 2018: 32
  • 2017: 30
  • 2016: 32

These might not be horrible numbers for NCAA rankings, but they are indescribably terrible in the NFL.

So who should we blame?

Coaches?

Maurice Drayton took a lot of the heat this year, but he's only been here for one season. Let's see who else was at the helm of Special Tams Coordinator for the Packers the last few years:

  • 2021: Maurice Drayton
  • 2020: Shawn Mennenga
  • 2019: Shawn Mennenga
  • 2018: Ron Zook

Wow, the Packers have been going through special teams coordinators pretty quick.

What about the players?

If you look at the top 6 players with the most special teams snaps in each of the last 5 years, only Ty Summers and Oren Burks show up more than one time.

That means the majority of the players getting the most snaps on special teams are different each year.

Hmm...

So, it the coordinator keeps changing.... and the players keep changing... why are special teams consistently terrible?

The answer is simple: the Green Bay Packers, as an organization, don't care about special teams.

Ok, maybe "don't care" is a little strong, but they absolutely do not prioritize it.

Priority is the key idea here.

The Packers have a limited number of roster spaces and a limited amount of practice time. They prioritize offense and defense over special teams in both cases.

In the draft, they don't target core special teams stars, even late in the draft. Instead, they take guys like Cole Van Lanen and Jonathan Garvin. They take project players and try to develop them into future starters. This is reinforced in how they use their practice squad as a developmental incubator. 

The tradeoff is they find and develop guys like Yosh Nijman and Robert Tonyan. Sure, they could have used their limited roster spots and practice time finding and training core special teams players, but instead, they try to develop future starters for the offense and defense.

So who ends up playing special teams?

The leftovers.

Guys like Oren Burks, Josh Jones, and Josh Jackson - high picks who failed at their primary position - fill the special teams units. Their special teams snaps are just a side effect, though. In practice, they're focused on developing at their primary position. In games, they play special teams because they aren't good enough to play their primary position and they need a way to justify taking up a roster spot.

It doesn't help special teams, but think about how guys like Davante Adams and Rashan Gary have shined when they were given a few years to develop at their position instead of focusing on special teams. This is the conscious decision the Packers make in building and developing their roster.

They aren't intentionally choosing to have poor special teams, but they prioritize other things, which leads to poor special teams. 

Their practice habits reinforce this idea, too.

In practice, the Packers maximize their limited time to fine-tune the timing of their offense (which runs through a quarterback that is most effective when timing is perfect). Since the offensive players are spending most of their practice time on offense, they don't have time to go over and practice special teams. Defense, however, doesn't depend on timing the same way offense does, so defensive players can afford a little time away from their group to practice with special teams.

This is why defensive players made up 8 of the top 9 players in terms of special teams snaps last year (not including Mason Crosby). This also helps explain why defensive linemen and defensive backs are doing all the blocking on the field goal and punt units. Note that Ty Lancaster (a defensive lineman) and Henry Black (a safety) were the primary culprits in the two blocked kicks during the 49ers game. I can't help but wonder if Billy Turner and Marcedes Lewis would have fared better given how much they practice blocking.

But they weren't out there because in practice, they spent all their time working with the offense and none of their time working with the special teams units.

They also weren't out there because the Packers made a conscious decision to not play starters on special teams and risk injury.

The Packers failures on special teams are not random.

They're systemic.

They're not the fault of one coach or even a group of players - they are the predictable results of an organization that prioritizes offense and defense.

This starts at the top with a front office who doesn't prioritize finding core special teams players and a coaching staff who values practice time for offense and defense way more than improving special teams.

Unless Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur have a sudden change of heart or are fired (neither of which seem likely), things won't change.

 

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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12 points

Comments (54)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Johnsonj's picture

February 06, 2022 at 06:26 am

MLF plans to "research" what other teams are doing regarding use of starters on st. It is usually many years between product r &d and successful product launch.

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Crankbait's picture

February 06, 2022 at 08:19 am

Weak statement.
He could have had his scouts ( or himself) look into how other special teams operate way way back.... like a year or two ago when it was realized our special teams are ridiculous.

9 points
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Guam's picture

February 06, 2022 at 08:43 am

I think this is less on MLF than it is on the Front Office. Remember MLF initially wanted to hire a very good special teams coach in Darren Rizzi and got blocked by the Front Office and had to settle for Mennenga. The author makes the excellent point that the Front Office also doesn't draft for special teams, but rather for developmental players on offense and defense.

The practice structure and using defensive players as blockers on special teams is on MLF, but I do wonder how much of the offensive practice structure is also dictated by Rodgers and his need for timing passes. MLF is not without blame, but the Front Office appears to have a very heavy hand in this mess too.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 06, 2022 at 10:32 am

It all starts on top of the sledding hill...

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BruceIrons's picture

February 06, 2022 at 01:13 pm

I'm not expecting a quick turnaround.

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Bearmeat's picture

February 06, 2022 at 07:08 am

Nailed it Bruce.

10 points
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vagem55's picture

February 06, 2022 at 07:25 am

You do make some excellent points. I hope I won't be abused to bring up some others.
If Amari Rodgers (3rd round) had been as good at returning kicks as many anticipated, the ST ratings would be higher.
If the change in long snapper hadn't caused several missed field goals, the rating would be higher.
If Dillon (starter) hadn't broken a rib blocking on kick return, he may have helped run out the clock and the punt block probably wouldn't happen.

11 points
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vagem55's picture

February 06, 2022 at 07:31 am

Might as well add Hill's injury too.

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stockholder's picture

February 06, 2022 at 07:35 am

Start with the Gunners. Those who can play gunner. Are the guys for your Special teams. Lineman don't work. Slow TEs should be cut. I don't care how well they block.

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mrtundra's picture

February 06, 2022 at 08:02 am

The Packers had a couple of gunners, in the not too distant past, that were able to disrupt kick and punt returners, in Jeff janis and WW Jesus. We need more of their kind of contributions to STs. We also need a heavier Long Snapper who will actually block, on the LOS, and who, can actually snap the ball to the correct side of the holder. Also, I think Benkert should be our holder, and not Bojorquez, if Bojorquez is even on the team this Spring. Lots of changes coming to this team. Hopefully only good changes on the STs.

3 points
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BruceIrons's picture

February 06, 2022 at 01:17 pm

Jeff Janis was one of the best gunners I've ever seen. I don't think people realize how great he was in that role.

As for holding, I think Benkert wasn't in the running for that job in part because they didn't want to take him away from practicing with the offense to have him spend time with special teams.

The CBA practice time restrictions have made it harder for teams to develop good special teams units.

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vagem55's picture

February 06, 2022 at 02:56 pm

Wouldn't that require Benkert to be active, taking a spot away from the 46, as well as requiring him to practice with ST instead of offense? Surely, the option to fake the kick and throw would be nice.

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Roadrunner23's picture

February 06, 2022 at 07:37 am

If the Packers can land a proven veteran Special Teams Coach, he can change that culture.
At least 6 things must happen to achieve this.

1. He has to be a strong enough presence to lobby for certain players come draft and cut down time.

2. He must articulate to his head coach and GM the type of players he needs to succeed.

3. He has to be a strong enough presence to lobby for certain veterans to play special teams.

4. He has to be schematically sound, many times last season players were lining up incorrectly or were unsure of their assignment. This is unacceptable.

5. He must have the full confidence and of his head coach and players to be full out aggressive as a unit on returns, blocks, fakes etc…

6. He must emphasize physical, smart play, yet clean technique to keep penalties at a minimum.

Change the culture and you can change the results.

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Coldworld's picture

February 06, 2022 at 09:01 am

Beat me to it. Excellent summary. I’m less of a believer in the personnel theory, with the exception till recently of failing to seek out a returner (as yet not successfully but they tried with Ervin and AmRod).

LaFleur showed us he doesn’t know what is required for an STC and the team has clearly lost institutional knowledge, falling behind the rest of the league. Hire a guy with experience and success in the NFL and let him assemble a staff and rebuild the ethos while also having the standing to be heard in wider team planning. If Murphy or Ball did nix the Rizzi offer, that us on them, and a symptom, but not the extent of the problem.

2 points
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Barnacle's picture

February 06, 2022 at 10:51 am

INTPS……………..It’s Not The Players Stupid……..!

The first time I saw Mo on the sidelines, he was shuffling paperwork and hollering in a near panic trying to get 11 players on the field. It looked to me like he was in over his head.

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BruceIrons's picture

February 06, 2022 at 01:19 pm

He didn't look great, but previous coordinators (including ones with impressive coaching pedigrees) have had similarly poor results.

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Coldworld's picture

February 06, 2022 at 04:49 pm

Which ST coordinators in Green Bay in the last 5 years would you consider to have had “impressive coaching pedigrees”?

I would argue that any have had “similarly poor results.” Poor maybe, but not so awful or so comprehensive.

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BruceIrons's picture

February 06, 2022 at 07:26 pm

Ron Zook.

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Coldworld's picture

February 07, 2022 at 12:22 am

3 years as a STC coach with average at best units before deciding he didn’t want to coach ST, a couple of years as an OC that were sufficiently unimpressive to get him out of the league until he was picked up as an assistant to Slocombe.

Our definitions might differ.

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tonym's picture

February 06, 2022 at 07:48 am

Agree, a team is only as strong as weakest link and this year's team was strong enough on offense and defense to overcome the special teams weakness. Except when the offense has a meltdown. And how ironic that the idea of using starters on ST resulted in the loss of Dillon who just might have been the cure for those disastrous 3 and outs. It's been a rough 3 years of watching this storied franchise come up short through poor execution.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 06, 2022 at 10:36 am

Why wasn't Taylor used to run btw the tackles?

5 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 06, 2022 at 12:04 pm

If we were strong enough on offense, why did we only score 10 points when it mattered?

The blocked punt……if we had just taken a safety instead of giving up the touchdown, what would the final score have been?

It’s the decisions, not the players or assistant coaches?

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Guam's picture

February 06, 2022 at 08:34 am

Thank you Bruce Irons for an excellent article. I would add one more element to the "Packers don't value special teams" bonfire. MLF wanted to hire an outstanding special teams coach in Darren Rizzi and got push back front the Front Office (Rizzi was too expensive). So MLF had to settle for a lesser and less expensive choice (Mennenga). What a message to send to your first year head coach!

Maybe the fact that special teams were largely responsible for the demise of this year's "all-in" team will be a wake up call to the Front Office. If they want a different result, they will need to reprioritize special teams, starting with the special team's coach and extending through the draft and through practice structure. The draft should be a leading indicator of any changes in philosophy.

6 points
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HawkPacker's picture

February 06, 2022 at 08:53 am

this is kind of like how the front office devalued the ilb position. now with campbell, look how that is turning out.

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BruceIrons's picture

February 06, 2022 at 01:22 pm

Much like special teams, they prioritized other things. On defense, they prioritized edge rushers and cornerbacks over inside linebackers. Campbell was a great pickup, but I don't think they would have signed him if he wanted $10M per year.

It'll be interesting to see if the Packers start to value inside linebacker more. The NFL has a hard cap, though, so if they want to spend more at inside linebacker, they have to spend less somewhere else. Not sure where that would be...

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 06, 2022 at 09:04 am

LaFleur was certain Drayton was going to be poached. It’s not just the FO that is the problem. In fact it maybe that the HC is a bigger one.

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Guam's picture

February 06, 2022 at 10:52 am

I think you and I could argue about proportioning the blame, but it is pretty clear that the entire organization does not prioritize special teams. Both the Front Office and the coaching staff are going to have to change attitudes for meaningful change to happen on the field.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 06, 2022 at 11:19 am

I agree, this has been building a long time. I believe LaFleur’s hiring, regardless of overall merit, just added to it. By his own admission he’s not an ST guy in terms of focus or past interest. Rizzi was a move he was right to try and make, so I credit him for that acceptance that he needed help. Another Ball special perhaps? Murphy loves Ball though.

I think it’s easy to overlook the fact that LaFleur genuinely and very explicitly believed Drayton was the man and a hot property in the NFL community. LaFleur repeatedly referred to him being a great teacher, but to me this, his statement on Drayton’s hiring sums it up best:

“I really think he can elevate our level of play in that area,” LaFleur said. “Guy that’s been here for a while now. Had the opportunity to interview him in the first go-around, was super impressed with him, I just didn’t know a whole lot around him. After being around him for two years now, I think it was just a matter of time before he got one of these other opportunities that presented itself outside of this building. Did not want to lose a guy like Mo Drayton.”

In hindsight, including in season, that opinion rapidly seemed completely divorced from reality. No HC can afford to be that wrong on key personnel.

2 points
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Guam's picture

February 06, 2022 at 04:37 pm

There is no question MLF seriously mis-evaluated Drayton. You are correct in indicting LaFleur for badly missing the initial assessment, but I was even more concerned when, by midseason, LaFleur didn't recognize his mistake. The world knew the Packers' special teams were bad by midseason, yet no change was made.

I would really like to see the Packers hire a high profile special teams coach (Joe Judge?) and commit to improving their special teams through the draft and through additional practice time. Special teams don't have to win games for you, but they sure as hell shouldn't lose them.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 06, 2022 at 04:53 pm

You and I are in full agreement on both counts. LaFleur is showing signs of MMs tendency to value loyalty/friendship over results.

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Qoojo's picture

February 06, 2022 at 10:02 am

I always suspected it was due to lack of practice. Then Bruce brought up the good point of using players not accustomed to blocking. So it's kind of a double tap situation. Using players that need even more practice.

I place more blame on MLF than the position coach, especially since the ST performance in the playoff game was not a surprise. Clearly, something needed to be adjusted, but MLF ignored every warning and failure.

8 points
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Jimbo1's picture

February 06, 2022 at 10:02 am

Every team prioritizes offense and defense. Special teams was terrible against SF. But the fact that the offense couldn't score a single TD after the first drive is the bigger issue in my opinion.

7 points
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Crankbait's picture

February 06, 2022 at 10:55 am

O-line got smoked.

0 points
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BruceIrons's picture

February 06, 2022 at 01:23 pm

Sure, every team prioritizes offense and defense. I think the magnitude to which the Packers do it is far beyond the mean.

2 points
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Lphill's picture

February 06, 2022 at 11:38 am

I’m waiting to hear from 13timesachump only his opinion counts here .

-8 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 06, 2022 at 11:59 am

So, we have poor special teams. And we won lots of games. Gosh….could that possibly mean that having highly rated special teams isn’t that important?

Just like shutting down the run?
Or having a bevy of superduper WRs?

Just a thought.

-5 points
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Roadrunner23's picture

February 06, 2022 at 12:11 pm

It sure was the nail in the coffin in the playoffs and in the championship game 2014.

Two seasons down the toilet due to special teams blunders. Very sad and embarrassing

5 points
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barutanseijin's picture

February 06, 2022 at 04:00 pm

The Debacle in Seattle proves Leatherhead’s point.

The defense and return unit repeatedly gave the offense the ball with great field position and they came away with FGs all but once. The Packers offense was mostly Lacy, who wasn’t bad, but was still no Marshawn Lynch. And despite having only 1/2 the INTs that Wilson did, the Regular Season GOAT was still worse than Wilson. After all, Wilson made the plays they needed to win. The Rich Man’s Kirk Cousins did not. He consistently threw short of the sticks & missed guys — like 87 in the end zone in the 1st Q. Make that throw and Bostick doesn’t matter.

In contrast to his QB, Crosby got the job done: he hit all his FG attempts & kicked the ball out of the end zone. Arrogance Personified left it all to Packer special teams and the defense.

-1 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 06, 2022 at 07:12 pm

They were underdogs on the road playing against the 'Legion of Boom'....one of the best defenses of the past 20-25 years while in their prime. I think that might have had some effect on their offensive output during that game....ya think?

The game was won...the fat lady was about to sing... until the colossal ST blunder. It never would have gone to OT. So no, it doesn't prove his point.

2 points
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jlc1's picture

February 08, 2022 at 04:55 pm

Just a note - Crosby hit that last field goal because the guy you call RMKC and I call QB QAnon, drove them into position for Crosby to make the try.

0 points
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splitpea1's picture

February 06, 2022 at 12:45 pm

Things won't change? Well, they better if they're considering hiring one of the top available coaches mentioned in an earlier video, because they probably wouldn't take a job where they have no input and are forced to work with ineffective "leftovers" or players unsuited to their positions.

And you can find competent, multi-talented players who can fill roles on offense, defense, and special teams. But you obviously have to give these players strong consideration when drafting or acquiring them by other means. It's not that difficult--you just have to want to do it! In the latter part of the draft, look for WRs and safeties (that would be a good start) instead of getting carried away with project offensive linemen--we have enough of them now.

So we really need the Packers' front office to finally address this situation instead of futzing around with the usual half-ass solutions. If they haven't gotten the message that special teams can destroy the best laid plans yet, then they never will and deserve whatever costs come with it.

4 points
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Tedlyflyfisher's picture

February 06, 2022 at 12:44 pm

Excellent article Bruce. Thanks for the insight.

If the HC and FO don’t make this a priority, they will be doomed to reliving the disaster that was the 2021 Special teams.

3 points
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PatrickGB's picture

February 06, 2022 at 02:57 pm

I think that Mo was a great teacher. He just was not a great coach. He would make a good assistant. A coach is more than a great teacher. He has to be able to see flaws BEFORE they happen and have a plan to overcome them. I liked Mo as a person and he was dealt a crap hand with the players he was given. Yet I think that a great coach would have found a way to mitigate it.

1 points
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vagem55's picture

February 06, 2022 at 03:05 pm

Just for fun, how about two words to stir up the fans today? Cordarrelle Patterson

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 06, 2022 at 04:55 pm

Pay to play deal?

0 points
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davidjwang@frontier.com's picture

February 06, 2022 at 03:46 pm

Need a special teams core. Think 1996, Harris, Hollinquest, Thomason, Jervey, Prior, McKenzie. Tweeners tend to be the guys, big receivers, unskilled running backs and fullbacks, linebackers, undersized edge rushers, big but slower safeties. Players that rarely play 50% of snaps on offense or defense. Bellichek keeps a few extra of these guys around, Georger Allen did the same as the first head coach to prioritize special teams. And when Holmgren did it, special teams were a serious strength.

Nailed it on the blocking issue. Tight ends and fullbacks are needed on punt blocking and O-linemen on the place kicking teams. But to do this means a few roster priority changes. Older tight ends have to play suicide suqads or go, need more linebackers on the roster. Reconsider older backup edge rushers unless they play special teams. Backup receivers and running backs on special teams. Consider a fullback on the roster. And this takes the practice adjustment mentioned.

0 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

February 06, 2022 at 04:14 pm

For some reason, I'm thinking 1996. Weird.

5 points
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packerbackerjim's picture

February 06, 2022 at 04:49 pm

MLF needs to research George Allen’s thoughts on Special Teams when he was announced the HC of Washington. Murphy having played for Washington after all.

1 points
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MarylandChezHd's picture

February 06, 2022 at 09:41 pm

Felt the urge to sign up as a first time commenter to respond to this excellent piece by Bruce!
I was concerned before the SF game with all the talk about re-activating Cobb, Mercilus, and Z. Who was going to go?? We found out - Yiadom cut, Summers not re-activated, Moore not brought up. Cobb seemed to be subbed in for Keke. Yiadom and Summers, core special teamers all year who are bad on defense gone for Z and Mercilus to play limited snaps on defense. What could go wrong? We saw it. Oh I'll grant that they would not have helped keep kicks from being blocked. No reason for starting O linemen like Turner not to block for FGs though IMO. Not much injury risk, just takes them away from offensive practice, as Bruce astutely noted. But just maybe those 2 would have prevented the 50 yd Samuel Kick return setting up the FG after the half. More to the point who replaces them on kick coverage? Well AJ Dillon has nice attributes to do that dirty work. But he gets injured and can't help you get first downs needed in the second half to keep the lead. Which is why you don't use key guys on kick coverage, but when you remove 2 of your core players someone has to do it. And Moore was clearly more natural at returning punts than AmRod. Maybe he would have given them some field position too.
Thought on Mo's struggles - Coldworld is right about concern with MLF loyalty mimicking MM. I get it MLF doesn't want to embarrass Mo firing him mid-year and also admit his own mistake in hiring him. But some commenter (sorry I don't recall who) suggested mid-year hiring a proven retired college or pro ST coach to replace MO. A smoother approach would have been to hire one as a ST special consultant and tell Mo to listen to him and do whatever he said. Or just put the new guy in charge while letting Mo keep the title but essentially function as the new guy's assistant. Maybe he'd have learned something he never did from Mennenga and been ok to keep. Ot otherwise move on like they have. Sure it would have cost some change to add a ST consultant. Would Murphy have said NO like he did with Rizzi? We'll never know. But it all ties in with what Bruce said about not prioritizing STs.
Another thought - IMO Bojo got better at his holds the second half of the year (dreadful at first). Bradley was erratic with his snaps, and Wirtel more consistent. But Wirtel's snaps were usually at Bojo's chin, which doesn't seem ideal. With other teams the snaps are usually 1-2 feet off the ground in front of the knee so the ball can be caught, spun, and placed down in the right spot. Almost automatic. Maybe the snap at the chin is what Wirtel was taught, I know nothing about the technique but it seemed odd. Anyone else notice this and know more about proper snapping technique.
Also, Janis was absolutely a great gunner. 90% of the time first one down on punts and stopped 1 foot in front of the returner to legally distract them waiting for a fair catch. Also not a bad kickoff returner, and at end arounds (though we only saw it in pre-season it seemed). Can't believe the Pack did not value that kind of player, but then again, maybe ST really are not as important as we think. No other team valued him either :)

4 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 07, 2022 at 02:59 am

I thought the title was funny, but the content was better. Nice article.

1 points
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Houndog's picture

February 07, 2022 at 07:14 am

The STs thing is extremely fresh in our minds following a terrible year and the loss to the Niners, rightfully so, but like Bruce I don't seeing it being fixed anytime soon. With the salary cap in total disarray we'll have more problems than ST in 2022. Linebackers, receivers, and maybe QB.
Until we get a CEO that prioritizes football over real estate and theme parks there's a chance we could be unhappy for a long time.
Remember, everyone now individually answers to Murphy, the same scenario Ron Wolf turned down in the mid 80's.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 07, 2022 at 05:36 pm

Bruce, after much consideration of this very good article, I finally understand that what you call special teams “failures “ I see as the cost of doing business. Returns, penalties, injuries, turnovers, blocked or shanked punts, missed field goals, fakes, onside kicks……..you can’t just coach it all away, you can’t personnel it away. It’s going to happen, just like getting boned by the refs is going to happen.

There used to be a guy, the Tuesday Morning Quarterback, who would recap multiple special teams “failures” across the league each week.

I’d also like to see how strong the correlation is between these special teams rankings and winning records. And I don’t fully agree with PFFs measurements, either. In 2020, we didn’t miss one single field goal, and yet there’s no real difference in the rankings? How?

I agree with the decision to not risk injury to key personnel. I think the cost/benefit on that is clear.

I think the best way to keep your special teams from hurting you, or costing you a game, is to invoke the Leatherhead Rules, , which I’ve detailed here many times. Some stuff will still go wrong, but the more you can do to minimize the impact of special teams , the better.

1 points
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BruceIrons's picture

February 07, 2022 at 10:43 pm

Minimizing impact is a great way to think about it.

I think if they would fair catch every punt, kickoff through the end zone every time, and let every kickoff they receive go into the endzone, they would improve remarkably.

Then it's just a matter of figuring out how not to get kicks blocked.

-1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 08, 2022 at 01:35 pm

Thanks for the response.

Teams aren’t kicking through the end zone anymore, they’re kicking short and forcing you to catch and return. The strategic calculation is that you’ll screw it up more often than you’ll get a long return.

Never return a punt. Better to let it hit the ground than turn it over. Guard against fakes always and try to pressure the punter into a poor punt. Fair catch.

If we went through an entire season with 0 return yards…. Or turnovers….I’d be happy.

-2 points
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