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Special Teams Going Backwards

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Special Teams Going Backwards

Last year, Mike Stock was forced into retirement after his special teams' unit took a giant step back following a 2007 campaign that seem to right the ship for the kicking and coverage squads. Rick Gosselin, in his highly anticipated annual special teams rankings, had Stock's last squad ranked 26th.

After replacing Stock with his assistant, Shawn Slocum, much was made about a 'return to basics' and 'fundamentals', and how they would play a major role in turning the special teams around from the disaster they were in '07. Slocum's crew proceeded to have many of the same problems that plagued Stock's, although the coverage improved as the year went on, especially with the growing presence of special teams demon Derrick Martin, before he went out several weeks due to injury.

Well, Gosselin's rankings for '09 were released last night. And the Packers are going backward.

Slocum's squad ranked 31st. Out of 32 teams.

Which only supports what I wrote back on January 20th:

Slocum should go.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (21) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

bogmon's picture

I agree...although it is easy for the critics and cynics to be consistently calling for the head of coaches in hindsight of poor performance.
That being said, Special Teams is soooo very important to success and in order for the Packers to reach contender status they need to have consistent production in that area.

Seems a change is necessary.

Bearmeat's picture

Slocum should go, but it is important to note that TT saddled Stock with a poor punter (again) and an inconsistent kicker. That has a whole lot to do with Gosselien's rankings does it not? It seems to me that TT for the most part can only blame himself for this mess. (you could also throw in a side of MM for his lack of discipline after a penalty)

Dilligaff's picture

It is as simple as this, it it kind of like our left tackle position, who out there is a proven special teams coach that is available to coach in Green Bay. I am sure there are a number of candidates with potential, but special teams coaching is usually younger coaches with the least experience working their way up the ranks. Green Bay could go and get one of these rookie coaches. He will be in his first year coaching or do you stick with your coach that has a year under his belt, suffered key injuries/poor performance at skilled positions. The kickers and return men for the Packers were night and day for the Pack this year. Those skill positions are almost uncoachable, were as a kick coverage teams this year did fairly well and I bet rank right in the middle of the NFL, something that is more of a reflection in the coaching. I just wonder if TT gets better kickers and more depth in return men if our ranking would have improved to 18th.

Dilligaff's picture

Does AJ Hawk have an active role on special teams? If he is only taking a % of the snaps with Chillar next year, I think both should be special teams contributors and stars.

packeraaron's picture

Dilligaf - Hawk is indeed on several coverage teams.

Ron LC's picture

31st out of 32 should be unacceptable. MM, however, seems totally happy with Slocum. It should be an unacceptable result and someone should go.
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No question Crosby's poor results and the Gross to Net of Kampinos are major contributors to the ranking. The poor KO coverage is also disappointing even though tey did show come improvement late in the year.
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Sdlocum should go. He was nothing more than an extension of Stocks' philosophy.

Jersey Al's picture

Anyone else notice that the Saints were 29th and Indianapolis 28th?

jerseypackfan's picture

I think the problem began back in October when Will Blackmon got hurt again and nobody could take his place. Also, getting 28 penalties on ST would kill any team.

PACKERS.'s picture

One thought. A coordinator can only be as good as the players he's been given to work with. Crosby and Kapinos are not living up to standards at all, and they are at the core of our special teams problems.

Go Pack Go!

ZeroTolerance's picture

All this with more LB (and FB) types. I'm in agreement with the majority. The punter is bad. But the kicker - a draft choice that had a big first year - does not equal that billing.

Aaron Nagler's picture

Al - noticed that, which made methink: Just how much BETTER the Packers would have been if they had better play on teams - and how much better IND amd NO would have been as well. Just because the teams in the SB sucked on teams is no reason to say "oh, then its ok if we suck"

Dilligaff's picture

Maybe our LBs aren't that good?

Jersey Al's picture

I would never say it's OK to suck at anything. In fact, I usually take heat because I'm never satisfied with good, I always want great. (See Ryan Grant, Mason Crosby, Mike McCarthy, etc.)

I think Jason Wilde had the best comment on this: "Being good helps you more than being bad hurts you".

FITZCORE1252's picture

I really wish we'd of made a play on Bobby April.

GBP 4 LIFE

Dilligaff's picture

I guess ranking is not so important here, special teams are critical in the time of possession and field position. As long as your special teams help protect those two categories your fine, proven by the Colts and Saints. Their special teams may not have helped them much, but did not hurt them. IMO MM in his first 8 games gave little thought to the time of possession and field position, allowing the other teams and coaches play calling dictate, where as the second half of the season MM called the game with time of possession and field position as more of a priority, especially with the on side kick in the playoffs. At the beginning of the season that kind of mind set would not have crossed his mind. He knew that the team with more oportunities and field position would win that game, thus worth the risk.

nerdmann's picture

I'm done with Crosby. He never was money with the game on the line and now he just sucks. I think the holder is alot of the issue, but I don't care. He's got a strong leg, but I want someone who's gonna hit the game winner consistently.
Kapinos is what he is. He will not be here long.
How many return men did we lose last year? We lost both Blackmon and Swain for the season, yet imo we still had some pretty decent return guys. We still had Jordi, Tramon and Woody. To me, that's not an issue.
To me, the biggest problem was coverage units. How many times did we rally to take the lead late in the game, then turn around and give up a back breaking TD return on the ensuing kickoff?
And yes, the penalties. I think they cleaned that up somewhat, though.

retiredgrampa's picture

It boggles the mind that our lousy '08 STs would be allowed to regress even more w/o a change being made. Whether it would improve things cannot be known, but we KNOW what effect NO change will have. Other teams doubtless had injuries to STs players so we can't use that...besides MM has often said that injury is not an excuse. TT had a good chance to nab Bobby April but MM naaded more time to "evaluate" his coaches. He and TT better pick up the pace or drop out of the race.

Pack Fan In Enemy Territory's picture

I've come to the conclusion that Aaron Nagler should be President, GM, & Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers. He has all the answers, & nobody can refute that.

Why would you want him fired if STs improved as the year went on, as YOU stated. That doesn't make the least bit of sense. Wouldn't it be more logical to want him fired if the STs got worse as the year went on, NOT improved?

Sometimes its hard to take you serious, but that's my own fault for taking you serious in the first place, right?

packeraaron's picture

Pack Fan - Did you read the actual post calling for his firing? About the lack of leadership he displayed AFTER the season? Of course not. As far as taking me seriously, anyone who does so is already far ahead of how seriously I take myself. ;)

Pack Fan In Enemy Territory's picture

You're reaching, Aaron. It was his first year as a coach of STs & if they were bad & got worse then I would be right on board. They improved as YOU stated, so I just don't see how 1 & done is deserved here. There is no guarantee that a new coach would improve the STs. You may want change, but not me, I believe in continuity & THERE WERE some bright spots on special teams towards the end of the year, so why start over again? Give the guy one more year before declaring him a failure. I'm sure he learned from some of his mistakes, so again, just let things play out before indicating he will fail this year... Get some of the penalties ironed out, a quality punter, Mason to straighten out that iron leg & the Packers will be the cream of the crop in the entire NFL. The Packers ARE on the right track, Aaron. Sit back & enjoy the ride because good things ARE on the horizon. GO PACK GO!!!

dgtalmn's picture

I was a little surprised at last years move with coaching. I am all for letting a coach go if that is the issue. Too many times I think it is because they are a scapegoat. But ST needs to improve beyond the current embrassment.

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