In a game that offered few bright moments, rookie punter JK Scott’s impressive performance was certainly a highlight in the Green Bay Packers’ third preseason game in Oakland on Friday night.
The two-time All-American from Alabama was drafted in the fifth round by the Packers this year, a relatively high pick for a relatively boring position. But JK Scott is anything but boring. In fact, the Packers saw in Scott a player who reveled in dedication and consistency, two factors which have even grabbed the attention of Aaron Rodgers.
“What’s interesting was Aaron Rodgers came up to me and was like, do your thing. He was telling me to just kick the ball how I know I can kick the ball and that everything will take care of itself, so that was pretty cool hearing from a guy like him,” Scott said in a quote to The Athletic.
It seems on Friday night that Scott took Rodgers’ advice and kicked the ball exactly how he had practiced it thousands of times. Scott punted seven times against the Raiders for a 44.7-yard net average, an improvement from the first two preseason games in which he punted seven times total for a net average of 39.1 yards.
His development in the NFL has been solid each week, which is no surprise given the standout career he had as a four-year starter at Alabama. With the Crimson Tide, Scott netted 243 punts for 11,074 yards and a 45.6-yard average and set several program records thanks to an approach where he focuses his attention on a shorter delivery and a strong hang time.
Scott has also received encouragement and feedback from veteran kicker Mason Crosby who, although not required, has made a point of attending almost every meeting between Scott and special teams coordinator Ron Zook.
Despite hitting a rough patch in week two’s preseason game against the Steelers, Scott noted that he was feeling better after week three, thanks to the support of his fellow teammates and his simplicity mantra.
“I felt pretty confident,” Scott said after his strong performance in Oakland. “I’m keeping it simple. You’ve got to keep it simple. That’s the thing, when you get complicated, you start to get robotic and get out of rhythm.”
All things considered, Scott has showed a strong improvement each week and his transition into the league has been smooth. So far it’s looking like he could follow his impressive college career with an impressive NFL career as long as he can stick to his simple and consistent punting method.