We move on from the offense and defense to finally address the third phase of the game: the Special Teams.
Since most of the special teams positions don't have backups, we'll proceed with this post by position rather than by depth chart order. We'll also address a few of the key contributors on the coverage and protection teams and address our confidence in them as well.
Kicker: Mason Crosby
Punter/Holder: Tim Masthay
Long-Snapper: Brett Goode
Primary Kick/Punt Returner: Randall Cobb
Key Contributors: Jarrett Bush, Tom Crabtree, Ryan Taylor, John Kuhn
Confidence in kicker - Very High: Crosby has proven himself to be one of the more reliable kickers in the league, and he has a very strong leg. There's no reason to think that he won't be a top-5 kicker again this season.
Confidence in punter - High: Masthay made huge strides last season and goes into camp with no competition. Setting the team record for single-season gross punting average will earn you a vote of confidence from the coaching staff and APC.
Confidence in Long-Snapper - Very High: Goode has never made a bad snap. Granted, if something happened to him, this tweet says it all:
How valuable is Brett Goode to the #Packers? Just watch EDS snap during a punting period. Fired two nearly over Masthay's head.— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) July 26, 2012
Don't worry about that, though. Goode will quietly do his job, and do it well.
Confidence in Return game - High: Cobb, as mentioned a while back, returned the first kickoff for a touchdown in over a decade for the Packers. He gives them a dimension that they have not seen in a long time, and looks to have another solid year.
Confidence in coverage - Below Average: This is the only really iffy area of the special teams. Too many times in 2011 was an opponent allowed to start a drive past the 30-yard line. And with dangerous return men like Devin Hester, Stefan Logan, and potentially Percy Harvin in the division, you can still count us concerned.
Final Grade - B+: Almost all phases of special teams are giving us warm and fuzzy feelings. But there's no way that we can give a grade in the A range when the coverage teams have a recent history like the Packers'.