Packers Quietly Locked Down Punter Position in 2017

Justin Vogel provides the Packers with a reliable presence at the punter position.

The punter position has produced some… unfortunate highlights in the recent past for the Packers.

Tim Masthay held the position from 2010 through 2015 in Green Bay. While he had a solid start to his career, he became progressively worse, especially in the final couple years in Green Bay when he would routinely shank kicks and be a liability to the Packers in the field position game. He was released after 2015, a year in which the #CutMasthay tweets were only second to the #CutAdams tweets.

In 2016, the Packers signed Jacob Schum, who was coming off a rookie season in which he was one of the league’s worst punters for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While Schum improved somewhat in Green Bay, he was up-and-down at best and did not survive the season. His tape did not impress the rest of the league, either—he went unsigned in 2017 and will likely not play in the NFL again.

But in 2017, the Packers quietly found their guy. In a year where not much went right for Green Bay, undrafted free agent Justin Vogel came to the team and made an immediate impact. In the very first game, Vogel punted five times for a 43.8 yard average and was a significant factor in keeping the field position in the Packers’ favor in a hard-fought defensive contest against Seattle.

Of Vogel’s kicks in 2017, 29 returned, but only for 163 yards for just a 5.6 yard average per return. Schum in 2016 had 16 of his 56 punts returned for 151 yards, a 9.4 yard average per return. Vogel had a 41.6 yard net average on his punts, compared to Schum’s 38.5 the year before and Masthay’s 37.6 the year before. In fact, Masthay never once in six years with the team had a better net average.

Now, this can partially be attributed to the quality of the punt coverage team the Packers had in 2017, and the fact that the Packers are now working with a capable special teams coordinator, Ron Zook, unlike what they had for many years in Shawn Slocum.

But Vogel’s directional kicking, placement and ability to put the ball on the proper line are all big factors that cannot be overlooked.

Vogel has a ways to go before he can be considered one of the better punters in the game, but he represents a clear improvement over what the Packers had in the not-so-distant past.

One less thing the Packers need to worry about as they head into 2018.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (15)

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Mojo's picture

April 03, 2018 at 05:09 pm

The Pack should also consider drafting the best long-snapper available in the late rounds. Goode is beat up and is not going to make it another season.

The Pack had the right idea in trying to find someone who can both snap the ball correctly and cover.

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Lare's picture

April 03, 2018 at 05:14 pm

Agreed. It's about time they ended the merry-go-round we've seen at long snapper over the years.

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CJ Bauckham's picture

April 03, 2018 at 06:31 pm

Tanner Carew

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worztik's picture

April 03, 2018 at 07:32 pm

Rod Carew...

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worztik's picture

April 03, 2018 at 07:32 pm

How’s his hand time???

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4thand1's picture

April 03, 2018 at 05:34 pm

Didn't Vogel have really good hand time?

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Mojo's picture

April 03, 2018 at 05:38 pm

Really good hand time? That seems a little personal to me.

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worztik's picture

April 03, 2018 at 07:31 pm

Nice!!!

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4thand1's picture

April 03, 2018 at 08:23 pm

lol hang this

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flackcatcher's picture

April 03, 2018 at 07:35 pm

Janis! (sob..........0:)

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Nick Perry's picture

April 04, 2018 at 05:12 am

I like thus kid. Hang time and directional punting like he does it will keep him in GB (Hopefully) a long time.

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DD's picture

April 04, 2018 at 08:01 am

Now I'll sleep better. Yeah punter, we'd be set then!

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DD's picture

April 04, 2018 at 08:05 am

The Packers are apparently in the same mold philosophy. Sorry to burst your bubbles, but we're in trouble, especially with MM and TT still around. So change? I'm still skeptical at best. Hope I'm so wrong, but I feel we'll be competitive, but so will the Browns??? SB? Not very likely, sorry. Just being a realist. Fan since 58.

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Demon's picture

April 04, 2018 at 08:25 am

Im all for drafting the best long snapper but, how is his pad level?

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carlos's picture

April 05, 2018 at 06:48 am

So...we’re set at QB, LT, TE, and one WR spot and punter. Barring injuries. Some positions seem stocked decently, but get smacked with injuries. Need quality depth.

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