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Ervin Provided Positive Returns

Brian Gutekunst was named GM of the Packers on January 8, 2018. He’s made over 100 personnel moves since that time – some good and some bad. I’ll be listing his 12 best moves over the course of the next few weeks. Here’s No. 10:

After 12 games, the Packers incredibly had negative punt return yards. They were on their way to an ignominious record until Gutekunst claimed Tyler Ervin off waivers from Jacksonville in early December. From that point on, Green Bay actually looked like a real NFL team when it came to returning punts. The 26-year-old journeyman averaged a modest 7.8 yards, but after watching Darrius Shepherd and Tremon Smith stumble over their own feet for months, it felt as if Devin Hester was now wearing the Green and Gold.

While Gutekunst deserves credit for claiming Ervin, he also deserves blame for not having a better plan in place after trading Trevor Davis in September. It should’ve been obvious to anybody with two eyes that Shepherd wasn’t skilled enough to return punts in the NFL. This has been a recurring issue with the third-year GM.

Ervin re-signed with the Packers in March, and he’ll be expected to return both kicks and punts this season. He also may get some snaps on offense, where he averaged 8.8 yards on six touches in 2019 and added much-needed speed to the slowest group of skill players in the league. But he’ll undoubtedly earn his salary on special teams – something he started to do from the moment Gutekunst wisely put in that claim.

#12 – Sullivan Surprised In Secondary
#11 – Veldheer Saved The Days

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3 Responses “Ervin Provided Positive Returns”

  1. Bryan Johnson
    06/27/2020 at 2:10 pm

    Returns have been so bad for so long that Ervin’s first 10 yard punt return felt like a touchdown. Excited to see him integrated a bit into the offense as well. He can outrun people, something that is rare for our offense.

  2. Jon P.
    06/27/2020 at 6:31 pm

    I was surprised to read that Ervin averaged under 8 yards. It seemed like every one of his returns was at least 10 yards. It was nice to have a pro back there for the final few games.

  3. Tom Moshier
    06/28/2020 at 12:19 am

    To his credit, Shepherd won a roster spot in training camp. He got his shot then fumbled it away in September. I know you never cared for Shepherd and I never cared for Davis. Both are now out of football. Not sure Ervin is anything to write home about but he’s better than what we had. Just about anyone would be. We’ve always had this aversion to using “good players” in the return game for fear of injury. Randall Cobb comes to mind. Never made much sense to me.

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About Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for close to 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2006. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.