And it’s no surprise that Gutekunst, the Packers general manager, and Murphy, the team president, want things to change.
It was in Week 2 last season, when the Titans, playing without starting quarterback Marcus Mariota, came up with a fake-punt touchdown pass and a game-winning field goal in the last minute to beat the Texans.
And it was most of last season when Gutekunst and Murphy watched the Packers stumble to a dead-last ranking in Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings under former coordinator Ron Zook.
To say special teams has been a problem for the Packers is to say Lambeau Field gets a tad chilly in December.
“It has,” Murphy said when asked if he views special teams as recurring problem.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
So Murphy approved an added position on LaFleur’s coaching staff. He not only has a special teams coordinator in Shawn Mennenga, who came from the college ranks (Vanderbilt) to take his first NFL coordinator job, and returning assistant Maurice Drayton, but there’s a third coach dedicated to special teams, quality control assistant Rayna Stewart (who assisted Mennenga at Vandy last year).
“It was an added position, and we’ve struggled on special teams,” Murphy said. “So hopefully one more person could be helpful there.”
So could players specifically pegged for special teams.
Not since the days of Sean Richardson (in 2015) and Jarrett Bush (in 2014) have the Packers kept veteran players on second contracts whose primary role is on special teams. Yes, Richardson and Bush played some in the secondary, but their main roles were as veteran cover men and blockers.
In 2016, the Packers cut backup safety Chris Banjo with an injury settlement. A year earlier, he led the Packers in special teams tackles and was elected as a playoff captain following the 2015 regular season.
Banjo joined the Saints in 2016 and was named as a Pro Bowl alternate as a special teams player for the 2017 season. That year, he made just $1.05 million. He turned 29 last month but still played in every game for the NFC’s top-seeded Saints, who paid him just $1.55 million.cheap nfl jerseys china nike
Last season, four of the Packers’ top-five special teams tacklers were rookies.
“I think it’s kind of the philosophy,” Murphy said. “Some teams keep players just for special teams. We’ve been one of the younger teams. Part of that is getting players that are going to be able to perform on special teams.”