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Cheese Curds, 3/8: Packers’ special teams need an infusion of personnel

Expect more competition at a few critical positions on special teams this year.

NFL: JUN 12 Green Bay Packers Minicamp Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Maybe Maurice Drayton is the answer.

The Green Bay Packers’ special teams have created far more questions than answers of their own over the years and now Drayton is the latest in a long line of coordinators who have been charged with figuring things out. The one solid contributor that the Packers have on those units is Mason Crosby, who went 16-for-16 on field goals in 2021, but who did miss four extra points thanks at least in part to some questionable snaps.

The punter and long snapper have their “backs against the wall,” as Drayton put it, while the return team just needs to find a good athlete to generate some explosive plays. But as always, that’s easier said than done, and general manager Brian Gutekunst will need to get creative when it comes to finding a player who can create some big plays.

Outside of that, however, one outlet says that the Packers have the best overall roster in the NFL, even ranking the team’s talent on defense among the top five units in the NFL. Perhaps that is a sign that as we have discussed here on APC before, the defense was playing like less than the sum of its parts under Mike Pettine. If Joe Barry can put that considerable talent to better use and just get the players that are there living up to their potential, maybe that’s all that this team needs to get over the hump.

Packers need more than new coordinator to fix persistent problems on special teams | Packersnews.com (subscription)
As has been discussed thoroughly here at APC, the Packers’ special teams were mostly atrocious aside from when Mason Crosby put his foot on the ball. The struggles that JK Scott and Hunter Bradley went through in 2020 were real and they were serious, so don’t be the least bit surprised if the Packers bring in competition for both in 2021.

Packers have to address substandard kickoff returns in 2021 | Packers Wire
Meanwhile, not surprisingly to anyone who watched the team last year, the Packers' kick and punt returns were anemic in 2020. Brian Gutekunst could really help the team by finding a dynamic returner as well for Maurice Drayton to put to good use.

ESPN analyst says Packers Have Best Roster in NFL - Sports Illustrated
Mike Clay of ESPN ranked the Packers as having the best overall roster in the NFL, but sees their off-ball linebacker and running back units as the biggest issues for the team heading into free agency.

Coaching changes highlight start of busy, unique offseason | Packers.com
Mark Murphy's mailbag for this month deals with a number of questions related to future safety-related changes at Lambeau Field, and he makes a mention of the busy month of February that the team had this year.

NFL hires Maia Chaka as league's first Black woman on-field official | ESPN
This is a great move by the NFL; Chaka has been in the referee development program since 2014 and by all accounts is an ideal choice to be working games in 2021.

Toy Pirate Ship Makes Journey From Scotland to Miami – NBC 6 South Florida
A young girl and her father found a toy ship in the waters off Miami and determined that it had been launched almost four years ago by a pair of brothers in Scotland. That's one hardy little boat!