A new special teams coordinator means open competition at many spot and that includes the Green Bay Packers’ ongoing search for a kick returner.
The Packers haven’t had a consistent kickoff returner in years, even under the old regime that included fired special teams coordinators Shawn Slocum and Ron Zook. New coordinator Shawn Mennenga will seem to finally stabilize the position and it looks like general manager Brian Gutekunst will give him every opportunity to do so.
Consider the competition open. The Packers still have punt returner Trevor Davis but he hasn’t shown much as far as kickoffs. Cornerback Tramon Williams returner the majority of kickoffs last season, but Green Bay would prefer someone other than a 36-year old cornerback.
As far as new talent, first round pick Darnell Savage did some kick returning at Maryland while newly claimed wide receiver Jawill Davis has experience on kickoffs from his time with the New York Giants. Green Bay also liked what they saw from undrafted free agent Darrius Shepherd who they signed after a rookie tryout.
It’s anyone’s guess who the Packers will have receive the first kickoff against the Chicago Bears in September but at least there will be plenty of options with the potential of more to come later.
You can read more on the returner competition plus a kicker trade happens in the NFC North in today’s cheese curds.
Davis was clearly brought in for his return prowess more than his pass catching ability, although upgrading from Eli Manning to Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback could perhaps unlock some hidden potential.
Pro Football Focus had Shepherd ranked as the second-best receiver in the 2019 draft class behind Andy Isabell, so this has the potential of a diamond in the rough signing for Green Bay and not just at returner.
Rashan Gary is aware of the pressure of wearing number 52 in Green Bay, but he’s been a fan of Clay Matthews for awhile and the number also is a tribute to the number he wore in college.
It might be a conditional seventh rounder in a draft just under two years away, but you know you’re desperate when you trade for *a kicker*.
The press conferences should be interesting and we’re guessing Aaron Rodgers won’t be in attendance at many games for the team led by the disgruntled former Packers assistant.