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Cheese Curds, 1/4: Kickoff return successes were a distant memory until Keisean Nixon

The last time the Packers had a return man who even came close to Nixon’s average this season was seven years ago, and

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NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

In 2021, the Green Bay Packers averaged 17.7 yards per kickoff return attempt. No player averaged better than 20 yards per return for a unit that was one of the worst in the NFL.

Those types of numbers have been the norm for this team over the past several years. In fact, the last time the Packers had a single return man who attempted even 15 returns in a single season was in 2017 (Trevor Davis, who averaged 22.8 yards per return on 31 attempts), and the last time a Packer averaged 25 yards per return on at least 10 attempts was Jeff Janis in the 2015 season (29.0 on 14 attempts).

That helps put into perspective the absurdity of Keisean Nixon’s second half. Not only does he have 31 returns in just 9 games, but he’s averaging a flat 30.0 yards per return with one game to go, leading the NFL. That season average ranks 4th in team history for players with at least one return per game. The others ahead of him? Travis Williams (41.1 in 1967), Najeh Davenport (31.6 in 2003), and Corey Harris (30.1 in 1993).

One of those three joins Nixon on a relatively short list of players who have returned at least one kickoff for a touchdown, as well. Williams’ ridiculous average in the Super Bowl II season was boosted by a whopping four return scores.

Let’s enjoy watching Nixon while it lasts, and hopefully the Packers can find a way to bring him back for another season in 2023.

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