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Report: Ron Zook Looks to Become Next Packers Special Teams Coordinator

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Report: Ron Zook Looks to Become Next Packers Special Teams Coordinator

It would appear as if Ron Zook will be named the next special teams of the Green Bay Packers, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

A league source said at least one potential candidate has been told that coach Mike McCarthy intends to promote from within and elevate Zook, who served as the Packers' assistant special teams coach last season.

Previous special teams coordinator, Shawn Slocum, was fired last week after his unit allowed seven blocks in 2014 and finished last in the NFL in the Dallas Morning News' annual special teams rankings.

Zook, best known as the former head football coach at the universities of Florida and Illinois, has experience in special team as an assistant at Florida in 1994 and 1995 under head coach Steve Spurrier and then again from 1996 to 1998 with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the staff of Bill Cowher.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is familiar with Zook through their time spent with the New Orleans Saints in 2000 and 2001 when McCarthy was offensive coordinator and Zook was defensive coordinator.

Zook was hired by the Packers in 2014 as a special teams assistant and discussion of his impending hiring will focus on whether it will be a good idea to stay within the organization.

Many of the well-known special teams coordinators in the NFL that were available have already been scooped up after the Packers advanced so far in the postseason and began the hiring process later than most, as McGinn notes in his article.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

egbertsouse's picture

As a coach wasn't he a part of the whole debacle this year? Why don't they just clean house and get somebody new?

murphy's picture

Who is available?

RCPackerFan's picture

How do we know how Zook was?

Maybe he tried voicing his opinion on things and was shot down by Slocum?
We don't know how he was behind the scenes. Maybe he deserves this shot. Maybe not. We will likely find out though.

Don't put to much stock into an assistant not being worthy of a job if the team doesn't do well. McCarthy was an OC before the Packers hired him and they didn't have a great record when the Packers hired him.

HankScorpio's picture

"As a coach wasn't he a part of the whole debacle this year? Why don't they just clean house and get somebody new?"

That exact same sentiment was expressed when McCarthy fired Mike Stock and promoted Shawn Slocum. That decision worked ok for a time but eventually things fell apart. And now McCarthy is hiring his 3rd ST coordinator.

He's hired 3 Offensive Coordinators, too. But those changes were made because the guys he had were poached for other jobs.

zoellner25's picture

That's what I meant about dumpster diving. This is not a promotion, it's grasping for straws.

KenEllis's picture

Zook has a long coaching career but little STs experience, but he is another guy who is close to MM. Not as good a buddy as Slocum but still a bud.

Here's hoping Zook proves more competent as a STs coach than MM's prior crony Slocum.

4thand1's picture

Edgar Bennett was a running back, and I think running backs coach before a receivers coach. That seems to be working well.

KenEllis's picture

And Slocum was primarily a Linebackers/defensive coach prior to joining the Pack as an assistant STs coach, how did that work out?

Here's hoping Zook is more like Edgar Bennett than Slocum.

4thand1's picture

Zook will be on a short leash.

Packer_Pete's picture

Just as Slocum was? Meaning, your STs can rank in the bottom 5 for several years before McC pulls the plug? That's one thing I am being critical of Mike. he needs to let go of coaches who don't get it done sooner than he does.

Evan's picture

I can't say I love this move. Would have preferred someone from outside the organization.

That said, I have literally no idea what makes a good ST coach. So, go Zook!

4thand1's picture

Make sure your guys know their assignments? Can you say Bostick.

Evan's picture

By all reports I saw, Bostick "knew" his assignment, but just didn't do it. That's on the coach?

Not being prepared for the fake FG, now that's on the coach, 100%.

RCPackerFan's picture

7 blocked FG's...

Kind of goes along with that old theme, Shame on me once.... but Shame on me 7 times, I think I lost my job...

Also during his tenure he had 2 kickers lose confidence in themselves. Does it have to do with the coach? We don't know. But it has to reflect on his coach at least a bit.

I have no idea how Zook will be, but hopefully he will be able to get more out of his players then what Slocum was able to...

Evan's picture

In years past, the excuse was because of all the injuries, ST were always in flux and filled with newly signed guys with no experience. I could buy that.

That wasn't the case this year.

RCPackerFan's picture

I'm not going to try and throw all of the special teams issues onto Slocum, but he was definitely a part of the problem.
Perhaps Green Bay's personnel is bad because they aren't be training/taught the right way?
We have seen the same players play better for one coach then another.

The part that kind of makes me wonder if the players didn't like Slocum were after the Seattle game, a lot of players were asked if they were told to watch out for the fake FG and they said no, nothing was mentioned to watch for it. If they had respected him, I would have thought more players would have taken the blame for it. I didn't see that.

To be fair, don't pretty much all teams throw a bunch of rookie late round picks out onto their special teams units?

Evan's picture

Again, were the blocks because of bad design? Or just players not executing? I remember one bad one where someone on the left (a TE, I think) just didn't block anyone. Is that on him or Slocum?

Not defending him in the least, I'm just saying don't know where blame rightfully falls on stuff like that.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, I agree with you too... It is hard to designate who to blame. A lot of it really comes down to players.

On the play your talking about, do we know who that player is supposed to block? So maybe by the design of the play, he was supposed to block someone else? Or maybe the player failed to block who he was supposed to? I am not sure.
i don't remember what happened on each block kick, but there just way to many.

Its like anything in football. Coaches tend to take more blame then deserved and not enough credit when owed. Perhaps a lot of the issues on special teams this year were on the players and not Slocum. At the end of the day though, the special teams are really what cost them the victory in the playoff game.
They made the right decision in letting Slocum go, and hopefully they will be able to improve.

badaxed's picture

Just ask yourself. " what would Lombardi do"?
If players did not block? What would Lombardi do?
If players did not tackle? What would Lombardi do?
If coaches did not coach? What would Lombardi do?
There are trains, planes and automobiles leaving green bay every day.
Now that was a man who REALLY believed in accountability.

Nick Perry's picture

If nothing changes, nothing changes. Zook was out of coaching for 2012 and 2013 until the Packers came knocking to make him an assistant on a horrible ST unit from the year before. So what happens? THEY WERE WORSE! McCarthy couldn't get a jump on finding a decent replacement because of the unfortunate passing of his brother, they were all signed by the time he returned. But you still have to wonder if someone, anyone in College, Canada, anywhere could be found as a better choice than Zook.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, the timing of everything was bad for them to go out and find a coach.

I don't know if you can blame Zook for what happened on special teams this year. Similar things have happened on special teams in previous years under Slocum.
Behind the scenes we have no idea what really went on.

Do we know how good or bad Zook will be? No, not really. For that I am going to say, lets see how he does with the Packers this year and decide if he is going to be good or not. Give him a shot first.

badaxed's picture

Would you give him a shot knowing it could end up the same way as 2014?
Time to clean house and show what happens when you are the worst special teams in the nfl.

Evan's picture

It could end up the same or worse with anyone they bring in.

badaxed's picture

When you are last in the league there is no place to go but up.

Evan's picture

They could have 10 blocked FGs next year...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

MM offers Zook the ST job. After Zook hammers out a contract with TT, TT says: "By the way, I am letting Bush, Kuhn, Boykin, Tramon, Lattimore and House walk. We have a plan for Richardson as a hybrid S/ILB, so he won't be as available. Hayward looks to be the new starting boundary CB, Hyde as the slot CB. I haven't decided about A.J. and Brad Jones. On the bright side, I have decided to keep Bostick, Quarless, and I have high hopes for Lane Taylor. How does that sound to ya?"

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