In 2021, the Green Bay Packers’ special teams ranked last in every major assessment of the quality of that phase of football. Whether you subscribe to DVOA, Rick Gosselin’s annual rankings, or some other metric, the Packers’ units were unquestionably one of the worst in football, if not the absolute worst.
Failures on these units also directly led to multiple losses, including in a regular season game in Kansas City and — most agonizing of all — in the Divisional Playoffs against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, the man in charge of the special teams for 2021 is headed out.
According to beat writer Tom Silverstein, the Packers are firing special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton.
Drayton’s tenure lasts just one year after he was promoted from assistant special teams coach to replace Shawn Mennenga after the 2020 campaign. Mennenga was fired himself last year after two disappointing years as coordinator in Matt LaFleur’s first two seasons as head coach.
Under Drayton, the Packers had numerous kicks blocked this season, including a field goal and a punt in the playoff loss to the 49ers. The team cycled through multiple long snappers as well, while working in new punter Corey Bojorquez at the start of the season. Still, Mason Crosby hit just 73.5% of his field goal attempts for the season, the second-lowest mark of his career behind only his abysmal 2012 season. Bojorquez did set a franchise record for gross punting average with 46.5, perhaps the lone possible bright spot on the units all year.
This leaves the Packers looking for yet another new face to coach their special teams. These hires look particularly frustrating in light of the teams’ failure to land Darren Rizzi for LaFleur’s first staff in 2019, which our Jon Meerdink addressed last week.
Time will tell whether the team’s current assistant special teams coach, Rayna Stewart, will be retained. 2021 was his first year in that position after being a quality control coach for the special teams for the prior two years. Given the sustained issues on special teams for all three years of LaFleur’s tenure, however, it would not be a surprise to see him look outside the organization once again for a new face to turn these units around.
Stay tuned for more news on this development as it unfolds.