It's no secret that the Green Bay Packers are getting good play from their special teams units this season.
Gaining the lion's share of the attention have been the the trick plays that have caught opponents off guard.
The Packers have gone three-for-three on high-risk, high-reward special teams plays this season: the fake field goal for a touchdown against Chicago, the fake punt for a first down against the Saints and, most recently, the surprise onside kick recovery Sunday against the Rams.
Individual efforts have also been worthy of praise, such as Randall Cobb's punt return for a touchdown in the season opener or Tim Masthay's league-leading 20 punts downed inside the 20.
But those story lines aren't painting the big picture.
The offshoot or the real impact of solid special teams play has been the Packers winning the field-position battle and pinning opponents deep in their own territory.
According to STATS, the Packers rank second in the NFL in opponent's average starting position with the average drive beginning at the 23.9-yard line. Only the undefeated Atlanta Falcons force their opponents to start further back (23.4).
One of the biggest reasons for the Packers' success has been the performance of the punt unit. Not only is Masthay pinning teams inside their 20, thanks to his precision placement and the coverage of the other 10 players, opponents have frequently been pinned inside their own 10, even five-yard line.
"It's huge," long snapper Brett Goode on his weekly Monday appearance on Cheesehead TV's Railbird Central. "It makes us play on a down-hill field and make them have to play on an up-hill field, and that's what you want to do.
"You want our defense to be able to have a lot of grass for them to be able to cover, and it makes them to be able to come out there and just pin their ears back. Being able to do that has been huge, and hopefully we can keep it up."
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