Mike McCarthy’s To Do List for 2015
- Let someone else worry about calling plays. Check.
- Grow Elder Statesman beard. Check.
- Get off to a fast start. Check.
- Improve the debacle that was special teams. Check?
When it was announced that Mike McCarthy was giving up his play-calling duties to Tom Clements, one of the reasons given and assumed was that McCarthy would now have more time to dedicate to other parts of the team than the offense.
This was a decision that was a long time in coming, and we’ll never know how much the special teams’ disasters at Seattle played into the decision. What we do know for sure is that McCarthy planned on improving that unit. That was made obvious when he canned his buddy, Shawn Slocum, and promoted Ron Zook to the position of special teams coach.
Well, being three games into the season, it is too early to hoist a mission accomplished banner. On the other hand, if this transition was going to be a disaster, one would assume that the disaster would have happened already. Instead, despite a bumpy preseason, the special teams for the Packers has shown a rather marked improvement so far, and we should be able to expect them to get even better.
The Packers rank in the top 10 in the league in field goal percentage (100%), kick off distance, kick off returns and punt coverage. They rank 14th in kick coverage. They have only returned 4 punts so far this season so that is not even worth talking about statistically, but Micah Hyde has been sure-handed and has gotten what he could.
Even Tim Masthay has not been the total shitbag that he looked like in the preseason. He ranks 21st in punt average and 24th in net average. That is nearly mediocre!
As promised, special teams has featured more starters, and Jeff Janis, Chris Banjo and Jake Ryan have starred so far.
There is a long ways to go, but for once, the Packers’ special teams are actually helping the Packers win games instead of being an obstacle to overcome. Let’s keep it up.