Overview: For as lousy as the Special Teams units have been the past few seasons, the three main players in the group have been solid for the most part. Yes, we’ve now had one horrible season each from Mason Crosby and Tim Masthay, but there’s no reason to panic about either of them. With a shake up of the Special Teams coaches, it will be interesting to see how these units fare next year.
Where We Are Now
Here are the current suspects:
- LS Brett Goode (Undrafted, 2008)
- K Mason Crosby (6th round, 2007)
- P Tim Masthay (Undrafted, 2010)
- P Cody Mandell (Undrafted, 2014)
Brett Goode: Having the last name of Goode as a long-snapper is better than having the last name of Blewitt as a placekicker. (I’m looking at you, Pitt.) There’s nothing special about this guy outside of the fact that he never botches a snap, and that’s all anyone is really asking for. Though apparently he does have some mad guitar skills.
Mason Crosby: The past two seasons, Crosby has done something that AJ Hawk and Jarrett Bush were never able to do: redeem himself and earn trust among Packers fans. After a miserable season in 2012, he’s come back to hitting over 80% of his field goals in the regular season. He’s also been a perfect 100% on field goals in the postseason. When the Packers are struggling in the red zone, Crosby becomes the silver lining we can trust in.
Tim Masthay: The Ginger Wolverine has lost some of his bite. While he didn’t have as many opportunities due to the awesome offense being able to drive the ball down the field, he may as well have told them to keep going for it on 4th down during the second half of the season. An intercepted Rodgers deep ball would have resulted in better field position than what we were getting from the punter and his coverage.
Cody Mandell: During his four years at Alabama, Mandell increased his punting average from 39.2 yards as a freshman to 47.1 yards by his senior year. In 2014, he was an undrafted rookie signed by the Dallas Cowboys, but then promptly released in August. The Packers are hoping that he will provide some competition to help Masthay get his bite back.
Where We Want to Be
It’s very simple: we want this group to be consistent. The main players have shown the ability to be better than average at what they do, which for Special Teams is all you really need. They key now is to maintain that level throughout the season. Mason Crosby needs to continue kicking well, Tim Masthay needs to get back to punting like he used to, and Goode just needs to stay the course. Achieve that, and all will be good… or Goode.
How Do We Get There?
The 2015 Cody Mandell will need to be the 2013 Giorgio Tavecchio. He’ll need to put enough pressure on Masthay to get his game back together. The tough reality for this kid, though, is that the Packers probably don’t intend on keeping him around in any shape or form after the regular season starts. But even if he does outshine Masthay, the situation is a win-win for the Packers, outside of both of them sucking it up.——————Follow @ChadToporski