It's that time of year where the fans and media alike look for the team to make drastic moves in areas where the team clearly underperformed the year before. This year, it's first year special teams coach Shawn Slocum that has fans asking Mike McCarthy to do his best Donald Trump impression.
In this case, the fans are right. Slocum should go.
Slocum seemed to have the tools to do his job. The drills to get back to fundamentals during camp! The new coverage schemes! The players he was given! (McCarthy stated ad nauseum last offseason, to anyone who would listen, that the body-types that are inherent in the 3-4 defense would be a boon to the special teams. I bought it then. I don't now.)
Slocum seemed to improve the squad a bit (it really had nowhere to go but up) but his charges still gave up back-breaking returns at the worst possible times. Yes, he comes out looking much better if he has, you know, a kicker who can kick and a punter who can punt. But that doesn't change his calls during games - like the inexplicable decisions to have Crosby, who's leg strength is about the only positive you can count on at this point, kick short, angled kicks on kickoffs. That simply drives me up the wall - when you know you have a guy who can knock it through the endzone every time, why are you fooling around with that nonsense? And no - it wasn't weather related. He called these in domed games as well.
Finally, and the breaking point, for me anyway, there was Slocum's extremely unfortunate answer to a question about whether or not he would have Crosby see a kicking specialist this offseason:
I handle it for the most part because that's my job. I challenged Mason, and all three of our specialists to reach to some of their colleagues around the league because some of these guys have been it for a long time, have a pretty good tried and true way about how they approach the whole body of work. And I think that a guy can go out, if he can get one small thing that can help his preparation, that can sometimes can be more advantageous than going to a kick doctor.
This reeks of Mike Stock's answer from last year - "Have you seen my resume?"
The notion that Slocum, like Stock before him, is too insecure to have Crosby spend time with a specialist is ridiculous. Even worse is this notion that Mason should give his kicking buddies a call and say "Hey, you know what? I really sucked this year. What should I do?" This is an egregious lack of leadership on Slocum's part. And I love how he couches it in "I challenged Mason..." Ohhh, really? You "challenged" him to pick up the phone and make an ass out of himself? Rather than possibly admit that you've tried everything you can to get through to him, it hasn't worked, and possibly he may need to see a professional?
Admitting that would require Slocum to exhibit what is known as leadership. Unfortunately, that's a quality that has been missing from the Packers' special teams for far too many years...
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