Why Do the Packers Struggle on Special Teams?

Gary: Rick Gosselin for the Dallas Morning News does an annual review of the NFL’s special teams. He uses 22 different metrics to rank the different units across the NFL. To no one’s surprise, the Packers ranked in the bottom tier. In fact, they finished 29th of 32 teams in special teams. 2016 saw them finish dead last in the league in both kickoff coverage and opponent kickoff starting point. 

Why do you think the Packers struggle on special teams?

Jon: I think this is a result of the way that the Packers build their roster. Special teams players tend to be the bottom ten to fifteen players on your roster. At least the bulk of the time, those are going to be the guys playing on your punt, punt return, kickoff, and kick return units. 

The Packers end up having almost exclusively rookies and undrafted free agent rookies in those spots. Very rarely do they end up playing veterans in those sorts of situations. 

Assuming that every team is going to have special teams units with similar physical attributes, the only mistakes you can make and the only areas where you can shine are mental. If you’re putting guys out there who just haven’t been in an NFL game that often, you’re going to end up with mental mistakes – missed tackles and missed alignments. I think that’s what you see from the Packers pretty regularly. 

This conversation first appeared in Episode 18 of our weekly podcast. Blue 58, powered by WTMJ Mobile, goes beyond the headlines to help you become a smarter fan of the Green Bay Packers. Hosted by former WTMJ newscaster Jon Meerdink and his friend Gary Zilavy, Blue 58 brings you a unique, upbeat perspective on your favorite NFL team, as long as that team is the Packers.