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Cheese Curds, 1/22: Packers special teams improved, but are still bad

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Good news: Green Bay’s special teams are no longer the worst in the league. Bad news: They’re not much better

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

As Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur evaluates his coaching staff and roster heading into his second year at the helm, it’s time to look at some coaches potentially on a hot seat.

One coach that seemed potentially destined for a “one and done” in Green Bay was special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga. While the unit wasn’t penalized anywhere near the amount it was in Ron Zook’s final year, the Packers’ punt return group was tracking to finish with negative return yards for much of the season.

Enter Tyler Ervin.

Once general manager Brian Gutekunst added Ervin to the roster, everything changed. The punt return unit wasn’t a huge threat but Ervin was a good enough returner that he forced opponents to respect his abilities. Ervin even showed enough athleticism to have LaFleur work in some packages for him in the offense.

Other than the return debacle earlier in the season, the special teams for the Packers otherwise showed improvement under Mennenga even if it was minor.

Rick Gosselin had the Packers ranked dead last in special teams after 2018 and they improved to 26th after this season. How much better they would have finished with a full season of Ervin is unknown, which is why this writer personally believes Mennenga will survive to coach another year in Green Bay albeit on a fairly warm seat.

Now on to the rest of today’s curds.

Packers’ special teams rise in rankings in Shawn Mennenga’s first season—PackersNews.com

The Packers really had nowhere else to go but up in terms of special teams. Bringing back Ervin for a full season could be enough to at least get them back to the middle of the pack.

Packers processing tough ending, strong memories of 2019 season—Packers.com

While the ending was hard to stomach, the 2019 season showed Green Bay re-opened their Super Bowl window far faster than anyone expected them to. Hopefully the bitter ending leads to much sweeter results in 2020.

Encore? Packers’ Aaron Jones wants to top 23 TDs in 18 games—ESPN

Anyone that had doubts about Aaron Jones was promptly shut up in 2019. Aaron Rodgers has never had this kind of talent behind him and the fact Jones is hungry for more indicates big things are still to come for the running back entering a contract year.

Abysmal second showing against 49ers raises questions about Packers offense as offseason begins—Wisconsin State Journal

Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh know LaFleur almost as well as he knows himself (the Packers coach’s brother is also on the 49ers staff) so perhaps this is just a case of the pupil trying to find a way to outwit the master but the issues that plagued Green Bay’s offense from the beginning continued in the NFC Championship. That has to be concerning.

National Weather Service warns of falling iguanas in Miami—UPI

No word on what the plans for the Super Bowl are if iguanas continue to fall. It’s too bad the Packers lost because Allen “Alien Lizard” Lazard would have felt right at home.