Thursday Thoughts: Special Teams

If you need something to binge-watch during the holidays, let me highly recommend HBO’s Succession. How good is the show? A small part of me wanted to tape the second half of last Sunday night’s game between Green Bay and Chicago, so I could catch the season 3 finale in real time. Anyway, here are some Packers-related thoughts that ran through my mind recently:

1) The Packers had more screwups on special teams against the Bears than most teams have in half a season. The worst was probably giving up the league’s first touchdown on a punt return. There are too many mistakes on this one play to list, but here are just a few: Corey Bojorquez kicked the ball too low and too far from the sideline. Oren Burks missed a tackle at the 5-yard line. Equanimeous St. Brown knocked his teammate (Ty Summers) to the ground. And Patrick Taylor inexplicably ran parallel to Jakeem Grant for 20 yards as if he was his escort. This play is a perfect example of what not to do when covering a punt. Because Green Bay won the game, you can almost laugh at the ineptitude that took place all night on special teams—almost being the key word.

Bojorquez entered the game with the second-best net average in the NFC and Pro Bowl aspirations, but the night ended with him ranked 10th.

2) Offensive line coach Adam Stenavich deserves plenty of kudos for the job he’s done this season, but the hype is a bit much. The bootlickers in the local media are fawning all over him, and someone on Good Morning Football even mentioned the 38-year-old as a potential head coaching candidate in 2022. In reality, much of the credit for the line overcoming so many injuries should go to Aaron Rodgers, the MVP quarterback whose poise, intelligence, and quick release allowed previous offenses to thrive with Marshall Newhouse and Don Barclay as starting tackles. Am I giving No. 12 too much credit? Go back and re-watch the play of the line with Jordan Love under center in Kansas City.

3) Speaking of credit, maybe we’re still not giving enough to Joe Barry. Sure the numbers on defense are better than a year ago, but I’m just as impressed by how well inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and cornerback Rasul Douglas are playing. Before this season, when’s the last time a veteran signed with the Packers and went from an average starter to a Pro Bowl-caliber player? I can’t think of any examples in the past two decades. It can’t be a coincidence that it’s happened twice the same year Barry joined the team. Maybe he’s actually doing what every coordinator promises to do when hired – putting players in a position to succeed. Assistants Kirk Olivadotti and Jerry Gray should also take a bow.

POLL: How confident are you that Aaron Rodgers will be playing for the Packers next season?

Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.

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