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Packers Predictably Last in Special Teams Rankings

Tim Masthay

This has become a familiar spot for the Green Bay Packers since Shawn Slocum has been their special teams coach — the bottom of the Dallas Morning News’ annual special teams rankings. The Packers were predictably ranked dead last for the 2014 season in the rankings, which came out Friday morning.

A little background for those of you unfamiliar with these rankings. They are compiled by Rick Gosselin and have become the definitive barometer by which special teams play is measured in the NFL. Why, you ask? Probably because no one else ever took the time (or wanted to take the time) to break down special teams in this much detail.

The formula is simple, really.

The league’s 32 teams are ranked in 22 special teams categories and assigned points according to their standing, with one for the best and 32 for the worst. So the lowest overall score is the best special teams unit in the NFL.

That honor went to the Philadelphia Eagles this year, with 201.5 points. By comparison, the Packers tallied 450 points.

The Packers had league-worst rankings in punts inside the 20 (14) and blocked kicks allowed (7).

So while Micah Hyde was having a good season returning punts and Mason Crosby was decent at kicking field goals (when they weren’t getting blocked), those two facets were overshadowed by the usual inexcusable blunders. Somewhat lost in the shuffle is that Tim Masthay has gone from pretty good punter to fucking awful and that the Packers somehow can’t seem to find anyone who can return kicks.

And of course, no one can or wants to block anyone on special teams either.

Maybe it’s time to do something differently?

Well, probably not. It’s not as if the Packers haven’t been in this position before.

They were ranked 20th in these rankings last year, 12th following the 2012 season, tied for 13th for 2011, 29th for 2010, 31st for 2009 and 26th for 2008. After the 2008 season, Packers coach Mike McCarthy actually fired special teams coach Mike Stock and replaced him with Slocum.

Of course, Stock was not McCarthy’s buddy and Slocum is.

It’s amazing that the Packers were able to win 12 games and make it to the NFC Championship game with literally the worst special teams unit in the NFL. It also makes you wonder what might happen if they actually paid any attention to this aspect of the game.

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Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

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14 Comments

  1. billybong January 23, 2015

    what went wrong with Mastay?? Didnt work out, lost his touch, WTF?? Looked o.k. in training camp…time to bring in some good competition…i suppose now we HAVE to keep our special teams demon Brad Jones…hahahaha…

    1. Phatgzus January 24, 2015

      The fact that he kept getting pressured and that he didn’t punt regularly during the middle of the season likely had something to do with his performance (along with a least 2 misplayed balls).

      I would like to say this about our STs, and please don’ t contrive this to be an apology for the unit as a whole: The punt coverage was ridiculously good, top 5 in the NFL in YPR (I’m sure Masthay’s issues played into part of it, still, a good year by THAT unit). PR was quite good again as well (TDs always inflate the avg. but a TD is a TD, so all your polemicists can “kindly piss off”). Kick coverage was also good, sans 2 KR TDs (one in a blowout) but I believe part of that was directional and hangtime kicking (*which so many bitched about) so give them an average to above average score (C-B). Crosby had a very good, though limited season, 1 or 2 blocks were on him, something I noticed in the CC were his kicks outside of the 30 were low (perhaps that’s what he needed to adjust to solve his acc. issue a few years ago), perhaps Lang and Sitton’s absences hurt some as well-(D-)-(C-). Punting: garbage, in all facets except coverage, GB has been pretty god in the all around punt unit sans 1 or 2 years under Slocum, pretty sure they’ve had 1 or none blocked in his tenure prior to this year, this year was garbage-F-D.

      I’m a pretty impatient persons, but when it comes to firing NFL coaches, I’ve learned my lesson, I said this with Capers (who’s unit improved drastically-give that motherfucker credit, regardless of the last 5 minutes of the season) a year ago, give Slocum 1-2 more years before we establish a fucking mob to run him out of town. YES, his units have had problems in the past, the particular issues with those units (KR, PR, FG) have been fixed quite decently, we have new issues now, at least give him a chance to address them. We also had a new assistant coach in Zook this year. Furthermore, you can’t blame Bostick’s arrogance (I see some of you fucks applauding him for his accountability to arguably the biggest fuck-up in GB history, even dwarfing Leon Lett’s- and I’m glad he is, but he deserves all the shit he gets regardless of his reaction-Jordy HAD that fucking ball if he does his fucking J-O-B-if anything, his accountabiliy may keep him on the team and in the NFL.) but you can’t blame that on Slocum. That’s fucking peewee shit and, Bostick, Slocum, and everyone of us fucks knows it. At least Slocum got in his face and showed some emotion about it, which half of you dumbass motherfuckers are all about.

  2. Andrew Chitko January 23, 2015

    Just have Masthay work solely on incentives based on performance. It worked for Crosby.

    1. Fritz January 23, 2015

      teach him how to become a QB so he can pull off fake kicks for TD? why not just draft one? no money incentive either, relatively inexpensive to go the latter route, as another plus?

  3. Howard January 23, 2015

    If Slocum is McCarthy’s pal he will indicate he has to spend some time with his family or some other non football excuse and dismiss himself from the team. Slocum should fall on the sword (we all know he deserves it) and quit by next week. I do believe, however it would up moral in Packer land if McCarthy would just fire Slocum.

  4. Nacho dan January 23, 2015

    Masthay had the fewest punts in the league so that might affect his numbers. I believe there was two games he didn’t even punt.

    1. Fritz January 23, 2015

      but he also played more games than 29 other teams played. so your numbers are only from the regular season. add the postseason punts to his total and he no longer had the fewest punts in the league. time to draft a college QB who is mobile and can punt. am sure that all these college QB who have good legs these days will also possess strong legs, and can handle snap as well, or can be trained to become good punters with the added threat of turning into a QB or a RB on fake kick situations, no?

      our front office better start thinking about that, as the success of our former packer Jon Ryan last sunday is going to be noted by more of our competition for next year, and they will be alert to acquire or develop a guy who can fill that role and add one more “utility club” to their bag [to use a golf analogy].

      while i am on this “new weapons” tangent, i just want to say that it seems more team in the nfl are looking to develop and expand their arsenal by devising new roles for their most talented and versatile athletes; e.g., the Texans occasional use of “eligible receiver” J.J. Watt on offense to bolster their red zone TD production comes to mind.

      1. Phatgzus January 24, 2015

        Dude, we ran a fucking punt fake on 4th-and-28 2 years ago that worked,Wasting a roster spt on someone we might use once a year is fucking ridiculous. Maybe make A-Rodg become accustomed to some ST’s play, but that would be a waste of time and potential injury; category: Fucking Stupid.

        FYI, we used Peppers like Watt on a play, it didn’t work, and everyone bitched about it GTFO. We have great red-zone targets, we’ll be even better next year (assuming we keep Cobb) with a more developed RichRodg.

  5. billybong January 23, 2015

    someone higher up fire Slocum so McCarthy doesn’t have to fire his bud…..i don’t buy that fewer punts stuff, he punts every day from april to jan….

  6. Vijay January 23, 2015

    Mike McCarthy, “Well, we leave the stats talk to you media guys who love your stats. We don’t get caught up in such things, like stats”.

    1. pf4l January 24, 2015

      Obviously they don’t get caught up in other silly things such as being held accountable for performance.

  7. billybong January 24, 2015

    that QB as punter thing won’t work much, trickery doesn’t go far after the first time in the NFL…that was Ryans first td throw ever in the NFL and it should of been a total failure if Slocum had coached his guys to be on the alert for a fake…

    1. Phatgzus January 24, 2015

      Or if AJ Hawk wasn’t a completed dumbass-don’t give me hat multiple decisions bullshit, you take away the TD first, and that motherfucker saw the ONLY receiver because he covered him at first. Fuckin’ stick with your guy and let the fucking PUNTER RUN. Don’ tblame Brad Jones either, he’s had at least 2 FG blocks because he crashes down so hard, you have 10 other guys to cover your ass on the play, it’s your job to cover your ass when you kamikaze. It’s not a switch you can just switch, unlike playing D.

  8. Tedtomato January 24, 2015

    It would be different if those problems just surfaced!! Why is it every year under dipshit slocum the special teams regress? That is bad coaching!! What does mcfat fuck do? He fires a scapegoat..who by the way had a hand in seattles special teams performance..and brings in zook to cover up slocums incompetence!! He’ll probably make zook the scapegoat so his bud slocum keeps his fucking job!!