Packers Should Sign a Shot-Blocker

Why Gute Should Sign a 7-footer to Block Field Goals

De’Vondre Campbell's rejection of Tom Brady’s pass to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should give Packers GM Brian Gutekunst a game-changing idea.

(I don't know about you but, when I watch this clip, I hear the song “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston.)

That play should prompt Gute to sign a 7-footer to block field goals and extra points. He could also catch onside kicks or bat them out of bounds.

Think about it: The 2022 Packers are winning with defense and special teams. Games like Packers-Bucs could have come down to a field goal, and did come down to an onside kick. 

I know what you’re thinking: "They can’t afford to take up a roster spot for a one-trick pony."

Really? They already do at kicker, punter, long snapper, gunner and, arguably, kick returner. Are you telling me they’ve never had a tight end or pass rusher who only did one thing well?

That’s what I thought. And he wouldn't be a one-trick pony; he'd defend field goals, block extra points, and catch onside kicks. That's three ponies! 

Let’s say they signed a former college basketball player. (Don't laugh, the Chargers did it with TE Antonio Gates, and he's now a legend.) Maybe it's a college basketball center who is about seven feet tall and can jump—they don’t all make the NBA. If this player made like DikembeMutombo and blocked one field goal and one extra point in the NFC Championship, that would mean four points off the board for the opponent.

How many players can you say swing the game by four points? Certainly not all 53 of the current players on the roster.

I know, I know, “it’s just not done in this league.”

Except Coach Bill Walsh did a lot of things that hadn’t been done yet—like using short passing to replace the run game using finesse blockers—and all he did was win multiple Super Bowls with the 49ers and change the game forever.

Tackle football is a game of emotion. You’re telling me a blocked kick wouldn’t sway momentum in a big game? See also: Giannis

Gute doesn’t want a repeat of the 2007 NFC Championship Game, when the opponent lines up for a game-winning field goal and, deep down, he knows our only chance is for the kicker to shtoink it.

Instead, would it be such a bad idea to sign a 7-footer now and at least make the kicker think about it?

I know, I know, they already pay Coach Bisaccia millions to run the special teams, and he’s doing a damn deft job of it. So why not give him one more piece to help bring the Lombardi Trophy home?

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Chris Hollenback worked for the Packers in 1998-1999, he has written for Packers.com and other media outlets, he's much shorter than Derrick Mayes and Brett Favre nicknamed him Chris "To-hell-en-back." Follow him on twitter at @CHollenback

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Comments (43)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
GregC's picture

September 27, 2022 at 06:16 pm

Well, it's not the most ridiculous idea I've ever heard, although I don't understand why a 7-footer would be better than anyone else at batting an onside kick out of bounds. (And how often is there an opportunity to do that anyway--once every few seasons?)

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

September 28, 2022 at 07:37 am

It is a penalty to deliberately bat a ball out of bounds in most situations. Don't do it.

https://www.rookieroad.com/football/penalties/illegal-bat/

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:27 pm

Valid point Greg, my thought was when kickers like to make the ball float up high on an on-side kick so his teammates can get to it, and the tallest player could high-point the ball. But what do I know? I'm short! :-D Thanks for reading, go Pack go!

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wildbill's picture

September 27, 2022 at 06:56 pm

Slow news day Chris?…..

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:29 pm

Haha I hear you, wildbill, it came to mind after Dre blocked that pass, felt right to bring it up. But I do see your point. Plenty of guys at CheeseheadTV grinding film, I wanted to offer something different, somewhat light-hearted, with a fun debate. Thanks for reading, go Pack go!

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wildbill's picture

September 28, 2022 at 08:51 pm

I had these thoughts many times, tall guy or someone who can really jump. Don’t think NFL teams would justify a roster slot tho. Was just having fun with you, good article

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MooPack's picture

September 27, 2022 at 06:57 pm

Why not Caleb Jones? Already on roster. 6'9". Big immovable man at around 340-350 now? Why not get him some reps. Not sure how high he can jump, but I've heard he's pretty athletic for his size.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 27, 2022 at 10:48 pm

Watson has a 39 inch Vertical.

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murf7777's picture

September 28, 2022 at 09:07 am

I was thinking the same thing. After some thought thou, if the player is on the line it will be difficult to reach such verticals due to a player pushing you backwards. If you are further back from the line, the trajectory of the ball would be higher at that point. Using Caleb in the middle of the line who is tall and big makes most sense to me.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

September 28, 2022 at 07:39 am

Campbell achieved some serious height in the deflected pass for the 2 point try.

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:30 pm

Works for me, MP! Go Pack go!

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Coldworld's picture

September 29, 2022 at 09:51 am

Jones jumped 21 inches at his pro day, at 362 pounds. He is supposedly in the 330s now. He’s got an 86 1/2 inch wingspan too.

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PackAttack4155's picture

September 27, 2022 at 07:43 pm

So, because there is a kicker, punter, and long snapper on the roster, there should be a place for... a tall guy? Are there no players already on the roster with the vertical to make this idea moot? While we're on the topic of wasting roster spots, why not hire a couple acrobats, to toss each other in the air, and defend against field goal attempts?

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:33 pm

Hey PA4155, yeah certainly Caleb Jones could do it, I just like extra height. I think your acrobats bit could be a fun sketch for SNL. Thanks for reading, go Pack go!

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PackAttack4155's picture

September 28, 2022 at 02:12 pm

Classy response, considering my snark. Maybe Sherri O'Terri and Will Ferrell can bring back their cheerleader characters for such an occasion.

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Starrbrite's picture

September 27, 2022 at 08:17 pm

Frankly, we had/used your strategy at one time in our past (actually twice).
LB-The Mad Stork—Ted Hendricks; and later TE-Gary Lewis.
Lewis wasn’t necessarily tall, but he blocked several kicks.

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GregC's picture

September 28, 2022 at 05:35 am

Hendricks was a really good player who happened to be tall: 6'7". One season for the Packers he blocked three punts, three field goals, and an extra point. He played linebacker and is in the Hall of Fame. Gary Lewis was a 6'5" tight end who was drafted in the second round. He never did much as a TE, but he blocked 10 kicks in his career.

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:34 pm

Yeah great point, Starrbrite, two greats for sure. I just would love to see a 7-footer out there stuffing it back in the kicker's face. Think of the MEMES! :-D Haha thanks for reading, go Pack!

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Starrbrite's picture

September 28, 2022 at 05:48 pm

Great article Chris

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PackyCheese500's picture

September 27, 2022 at 08:21 pm

This is an AWESOME idea! Love it!

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:35 pm

Thanks for reading, PackyCheese, go Pack go!

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PatrickGB's picture

September 27, 2022 at 09:41 pm

The problem is that you cannot line up a player over the center. And they cannot jump high and, perhaps, land on the center I also noticed that a lot of kickers kick high into the top of the upright’s especially on shorter kicks. The angle to block that is hard.

Most kicks are blocked by quick players coming around the edges or the kick is not right down the center which allows a defender to then get a hand on it. And sometimes the kick gets blocked when the snap is slow to the holder of the kicker is slow on his approach to the ball.

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:35 pm

Valid points, Patrick, for sure. Thanks for reading and go Pack go!

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Tundraboy's picture

September 27, 2022 at 09:44 pm

How about we just try giving the ball to one of our 300 + players next time we're near the goal line?

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PatrickGB's picture

September 27, 2022 at 09:49 pm

It’s been done. It’s fun to watch. But most 300 pound players have a slower burst. Guys coming around the edge can get them from behind. And they still need the line to get a quick push to to avoid it.

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:36 pm

Thanks for reading, Tundraboy. Smash mouth football, love it!

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DeezNutz's picture

September 27, 2022 at 10:51 pm

I would just put flubber on their shoes.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

September 28, 2022 at 07:42 am

Now this is a grand idea! 😂😂😂

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:37 pm

Haha love it Deez, thanks and go Pack go!

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

September 28, 2022 at 05:01 am

Wow! This is something I’ve been saying for about 50 years! (I also said coaches should defer when they won the coin toss, decades before McCarthy started doing it).
I’m TOTALLY on board with a specialist kick blocker and gadget red zone target.

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Starrbrite's picture

September 28, 2022 at 10:11 am

10-4—-agree—the kickoff deferment should have happen long ago.

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:37 pm

Thanks for reading PackEyed, go Pack go!

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HarryHodag's picture

September 28, 2022 at 07:19 am

So you take up a valuable roster spot for a guy who might get 2-3 snaps per game and likely accomplish nothing?
Better to take up a roster spot with a player who, when called upon, could actually perform something meaningful.
Look at Nixon...working the special teams and when called on, did a good job doing something meaningful.

On a secondary note: NFL teams approached both LeBron James and Charles Barkley in their early careers about becoming tight ends. If they could learn to block and catch that kind of athleticism would be hard to stop. But they would go from being the stars to doing some tough grunt work(and possibly injured) so they both declined obviously.

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:38 pm

I hear you HarryHodag. Fun debate. Thanks so much for reading and go Pack go!

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

September 28, 2022 at 07:24 am

Chris Hollenback, you DO present a compelling argument!

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:39 pm

Hey thanks for reading, for leaving the comment, and for cheering along with us. Go Pack go!

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Ritzy's picture

September 28, 2022 at 07:35 am

Moderator: please take down my comment on this story. it is stupid and offensive. my apologies

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T7Steve's picture

September 28, 2022 at 08:15 am

I try not to be offensive but, if I shouldn't make stupid comments, I'm out of my league. Where can I go?

Earlier during camp I commented that some other center should do long snaps to open a roster spot, but I'm glad now that they have Coco and he's such a good story. What a dream come true type deal.

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JerseyAl's picture

September 28, 2022 at 08:45 am

done.

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ricky's picture

September 28, 2022 at 08:14 am

April 1 came early this year.

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:41 pm

Haha, fair point, Ricky, sometimes I think we see an opening and have to take our shot--swish or miss. I try to keep things lighthearted. Thanks for reading and Go Pack!

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Tekraut17's picture

September 28, 2022 at 10:35 am

You could also use this 7 footer for goal line offense or short yardage situations. Just put him out wide and throw it nice and high so he's the only one that can grab it, kinda like Chicago used the Frig as a specialist down near the goal line....since most DB's are around 6'-6'2" he'd have almost a foot advantage....

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Chris_Hollenback's picture

September 28, 2022 at 12:43 pm

YES! That makes this 7-footer not a one-trick pony but a FOUR-trick pony. :-) THANK you, Tekraut17. Well played. Go Pack go!

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