Good stuff from Pete Dougherty on the Packers finally finding religion when it comes to fixing their special teams woes.
From the very first practice of training camp, it was readily apparent that McCarthy was going to follow through on the promise he made at the Scouting Combine this past spring when he said that special teams was going to be "the most improved area of our football team." (And yes, we hear you in the back. Yes you, the one who just muttered "hard for it to get any worse")
Every practice contains an extra 10-15 minutes of special teams work and there are myriad new special teams drills that Shawn Slocum apparently designed over the course of the offseason. One such drill can be viewed below:
You'll notice a quick glimpse when the shot pans to the right of a couple of officials that were there, presiding over each rep. Officiating individual drills is unusual, but it's exactly what the Packers need. From Dougherty:
The hope is that officiating even during individual drills ingrains better blocking habits. The Packers won’t know until they play a good sample of games whether it’s helped much, if at all, but there’s an old saying in coaching that “you get what you emphasize.” No one can say the Packers’ coaches haven’t emphasized avoiding penalties on special teams.
I saw three flags thrown the whole time they were doing this particular drill, an encouraging sign.
Now, as Pete suggests, whether any of this will translate to better special teams play on Sunday's is anyone's guess. My hunch is that, when it comes to the punting unit, a competent punter (and yes, both Bryan and Masthay are, without question, already leagues better than what Kapinos was doing for the past year-and-a-half) will magically improve a lot of the woes of the punt coverage unit.
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