Over the past couple of weeks, packers.com has examined the Packers’ roster, position by position. In the eighth and final installment, we look at the specialists.
GREEN BAY—Over the past two seasons, the Packers have had virtually no changes at the three main specialist positions of punter, kicker and returner.
The one spot that won’t change, barring injury, is punter.
More impressively, Masthay continues to be a legitimate weapon by pinning offenses deep with his Aussie-style pooch punts. He tied the franchise record with 30 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line – 43 percent of his total 70 punts – while having just five touchbacks. At this point, the contract extension Masthay signed during training camp last summer appears to be a sound investment for the Packers.
On the flip side is kicker
Most important in that strong finish was that three of those final six field goals could be classified as high-pressure, suggesting Crosby had finally shaken whatever had wrecked his year. In Week 17, he hit a 51-yarder on the final play of the first half to pull the Packers within 20-10 against the Vikings, and later he added a 40-yarder in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 27. In the playoff loss at San Francisco, he was good from 31 yards to tie the game at 24 midway through the third quarter.
Still, even though the Packers stuck with Crosby through thick and thin in the heat of the season, that doesn’t mean competition isn’t on its way for training camp. It wouldn’t be unexpected for the Packers to seek safety in competition as they make sure there are no lingering effects from Crosby’s slump.
It should be noted the player hiking the ball to both Masthay and Crosby, long-snapper
As for the return game,
With the likely departure of
If there’s concern in that regard, the most likely alternative on returns is
If the Packers look to reinforce the receiver position in the draft, another pick on a hybrid receiver-returner like Cobb is an option, as well.