Pack-A-Day Podcast - Episode 1277 - A Special Team Ruined by Special Teams

There will be no victory Sunday, no run to the Super Bowl, and the last dance has officially ended. The Packers fell at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, ending their all-in season. On today's show, Mark, Mike, and Gage recap the disappointing loss and discuss where the Packers go from here.

There will be no victory Sunday, no run to the Super Bowl, and the last dance has officially ended. The Packers fell at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, ending their all-in season. On today's show, Mark, Mike, and Gage recap the disappointing loss and discuss where the Packers go from here.
 
 
 

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Andy is a graduate of UW-Oshkosh and owns & operates the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Andy has taken multiple courses in NFL scouting and is an Editor for Packer Report. You can find him on WFRV's Green Bay Nation and every Friday on the Friday Film Room on WDUZ . Andy grew up in Green Bay and is a lifelong season ticket holder - follow him on Twitter @AndyHermanNFL!

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Comments (19)

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stockholder's picture

January 23, 2022 at 09:35 am

Patrick is a better center then guard. How did Newman start ? Let Patrick go now. Don't waste the money. Myers is their choice.

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Lphill's picture

January 23, 2022 at 10:01 am

No other team in the NFL would have continued this season with Drayton , Chris Gizzi the strength coach could have replaced him but nobody wants to admit it , Drayton was a affirmative action hire and that gave him job security and he cost us the season the offense scored enough to win and the defense didn't give up a TD .

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coolhand's picture

January 23, 2022 at 04:29 pm

Was it coaching or personnel? We changed the long snapper and it seemed things got worse. Players can't block the guy in front of them? Crosby is good but kicks a very low ball making it easy to block with pressure up the middle. And what was Dillon doing on a kick off return?

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egbertsouse's picture

January 23, 2022 at 06:09 pm

I asked the moderator to ban you but he said then they wouldn’t meet their quota for douchebags.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

January 23, 2022 at 06:09 pm

How can you see to type all that through your white hood?

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chip2u's picture

January 23, 2022 at 10:32 am

Top teams for AR next year:

1. Denver
2. Indianapolis
3. Cleveland
4. Pittsburgh
5. New Orleans

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coolhand's picture

January 23, 2022 at 04:30 pm

If I'm Gute I tell Rodgers the team is looking to rebuild and trade him or he retires

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OldSchool69's picture

January 24, 2022 at 12:14 am

Well, if ya feel like Rogers is easily replaced, think back on Love's performance. QB's of Rogers skill base don't come along often and waiting for a draft/mid season trade will set this team back for sometime. Brian G. needs to go. The lack of action regarding special teams and sitting on Love as Rogers backup is another reason Brian has to go.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

January 23, 2022 at 06:12 pm

It’s going to be fun seeing one of these teams dominate in the regular season next year and then implode in the playoffs. I may enjoy it almost as much as I enjoyed watching Favre throw that pick in the NFC championship game vs the Saints.

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ImFubared's picture

January 23, 2022 at 11:40 am

Big mouth LeFlower said blame him for the special teams its on him and he is dead right on. It is on him and he had the opportunity to fire the horrible coach mid season but stood up for the guy as not being the problem.

Bit you in the ass didnt it Matt. PS once Rodger leaves your win record starts to go in the tank and so does your career as the playoffs pass your buy. Keep in mind you had the opp to fix things that were broke and failed to do so. You take the blame by admitting things are wrong and fixing them no walking away.

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ImFubared's picture

January 23, 2022 at 11:40 am

Big mouth LeFlower said blame him for the special teams its on him and he is dead right on. It is on him and he had the opportunity to fire the horrible coach mid season but stood up for the guy as not being the problem.

Bit you in the ass didnt it Matt. PS once Rodger leaves your win record starts to go in the tank and so does your career as the playoffs pass your buy. Keep in mind you had the opp to fix things that were broke and failed to do so. You take the blame by admitting things are wrong and fixing them no walking away.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

January 23, 2022 at 06:14 pm

Don’t forget Rodgers was on the decline for several seasons before MLF arrived.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 23, 2022 at 12:36 pm

Rodgers, Adams, Cobb, and ZSmith gone.

Bakhtiari, Jenkins, Myers, Patrick, Turner, Runyon, Nijman, Newman return. Good offensive line.
Jones, Dillon, Taylor and Hill return. Good backfield.
Lazard and Amari Rodgers return
DeGuara and Tonyan

Clark, Lowry, Slaton return
Gary, PSmith return. We probably resign Campbell
Amos, Savage, Alexander, and Stokes. We resign Douglas.

We’re going to look different next year, but we’ll stIll be strong contenders in the division.

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PeteK's picture

January 23, 2022 at 01:32 pm

We could certainly compete and win with that roster. An O line like that can make a young QB look good and allow a couple of talented RBs to shine. This D could be dominant with a tweak here and there. Don't forget King's 5 mill off the bks. We might have a small amount for free agents and many draft picks.

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Guam's picture

January 23, 2022 at 04:05 pm

King was on a one year contract so he has no money against the $46 million above the cap (there are no "savings" letting him go).

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

January 23, 2022 at 06:15 pm

I agree! Need to draft a stud WR!

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mbpacker's picture

January 23, 2022 at 01:57 pm

One has to wonder if that was LaFluer's sole decision to make with the O line. He relies on his coaches so wonder how much input Steno had in that decision, he is their coach. I would think he would have a lot of input into it or was over ruled. Fly on the wall would be great.

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Crankbait's picture

January 24, 2022 at 12:50 am

The sports reporter in me won't let this Packers choke job go. I dug deep early this morning to file this report before the other reporters found this nugget. There was one man who could have prevented this loss from happening. His name is Darren Rizzi.

Who the heck is that, you ask? Well, the foundation for this loss actually happened back in 2019 when Matt LeFleur and/or the Packers brass didn't hire Rizzi, who was respected and had an excellent reputation from his years as special teams coach with the Miami Dolphins. Rizzi was one of the most highly sought assistant coaches in the NFL during the 2019 offseason.

NBC Sports Pro Football Talk's reported back in May of 2019 that LaFleur reportedly tried to sign Rizzi as his special teams coach when he was assembling his staff, but was unable to land him because the Packers low-balled Rizzi on a contract. Rizzi eventually signed a three-year, $4.5 million contract to coach the New Orleans Saints’ special teams. Instead, the Packers hired Shawn Mennenga as their special teams coach.

Mennenga's résumé was definitely not as strong as Rizzi's, and according to reports at the time, wasn’t even LaFleur’s second choice after Rizzi. However, Mennenga had previously worked for Mike Pettine, who was retained as the Packers’ defensive coordinator at the time, and that led to Mennenga getting the job.
Obviously, we all know how poor the special teams unit was under Mennenga. The Packers finished 29th in Rick Gosselin’s annual special-teams rankings in 2020 and ranked 26th in 2019. He was fired on Jan. 29, 2021. Then, in LaFleur's infinite wisdom, he saw the need to replace Mennenga with his assistant Maurice Drayton, who took the Packers special teams even deeper into the abyss. We all witnessed what happened in the Divisional Round Playoff last night and all season, that I don't have to rehash those facts.

Meanwhile, Rizzi, who has 28 years of coaching experience, including the aforementioned 10-season stint with the Dolphins from 2009-18, has placed five special teams players on six Pro Bowls, including Saints return specialist Deonte Harris and kicker Wil Lutz in 2019.

According to the Saints website, Rizzi coached six players to the NFL All-Rookie team in the past eight years, including Harris in 2019. Rizzi's special teams units have finished in the top half of NFL writer Rick Gosselin's annual special teams rankings in all 10 years that he has served as a coordinator, including first in 2019 and fifth in 2020.

The Saints website went on to say that in 2020, Rizzi fielded a special teams unit that ranked first in opponent punt return average (2.3) and second in opponent kickoff return average (17.2), sixth in kickoff return average (25.4 avg.) and ninth in punt return average (10.2 avg.), while ranking third in opponent average starting position after kickoffs (23.8-yard line) and ninth in average starting position after kickoffs (25.9-yard line). Despite missing seven games with injuries, Harris had a 12.2 punt return average and 27.3 kickoff return average. Lutz (Week Five) and punter Thomas Morstead (Week One) each were named NFC Special Teams Player of the week once.

All the while this was going on in New Orleans, Green Bay was spinning its wheels in the muck and getting deeper and deeper in trouble. So, you want to blame someone for this loss? You have to go back three years to what could have been. You didn't know the name Darren Rizzi before you read my report, but I bet you'll never forget his name now. The Packers should have never let Rizzi leave the building until they paid him and he would have been worth every single penny.

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NBC Pro Football Talk's website, SI.com, the New Orleans Saints website and NFL.com each contributed to this report.

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GoldenRetriever's picture

January 24, 2022 at 03:00 am

I remember the Rizzi non-hire. Who would have nixed his signing? Russ Ball? Mark Murphy? The thing that disgusts me the most is that none of the mucky mucks in the Packers hierarchy will pay a price for this inexcusable and unforgivable arrogance/ incompetence. Drayton should never have been hired in the first place. But LaFleur was too spineless to fire him during the season. The message sent was loud and clear: incompetence is okay if you work under MLF.

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