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Packers' decision at punter was about opportunity

Rookie JK Scott currently is the lone punter on Green Bay's roster


GREEN BAY – The Packers will proceed for the time being with rookie JK Scott as the lone punter on their offseason roster after Justin Vogel's release on Friday.

Scott (6-5, 208) reset several punting records at Alabama prior to the Packers drafting him in the fifth round (172nd overall) last weekend.

Vogel reset the Packers' franchise record for net-putting average last year after signing with Green Bay as an undrafted free agent out of Miami (Fla.) last spring.

It was expected the two would battle for the job this summer until the Packers chose to go with Scott and give Vogel a chance to catch on elsewhere.

"The release of Justin, a lot of things go into those decisions," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "You go through all the different options you go through. Competition, there is a fairness to Justin to give him an opportunity out there today as opposed to come August. You weigh all those."

Two other factors contributing to the Packers' decision to part with Vogel go were roster limitations and the practice restraints under the current CBA, according to McCarthy.

Green Bay is two players under the 90-man roster limit at the moment, but often signs a handful of tryout players after rookie orientation.

The Packers haven't had many prolonged punting competitions over the last nine years. In fact, only once has Green Bay carried two punters through the bulk of the preseason (Tim Masthay and Peter Mortell in 2016). Even then, the Packers chose to part with both once they claimed Jacob Schum off waivers from Tampa Bay.

"You only have so many reps. You only have so many opportunities," McCarthy said. "So the ability to have competition at every position may not be as realistic as you'd like and I think really the makeup of the team reflects where you can tilt and where you can't. Those are the kind of conversations that go on all the time when you're trying to develop and get this roster as tight as you can up against the 90-man limit."

The Packers like what they see in Scott, who was projected by some as a possible third- or fourth-round pick. Known for his leg strength and size, Scott only had five punts returned against him last year.

"There's a very high level of trust of every young man that's been brought in here," McCarthy said. "Obviously, there's risk in every decision you make, but I know through coaching over the years, when you invest into each and every guy, give them the opportunity, build them up the best you can whether it's through competition – competition is a great motivator. It brings the cream to the top. I get that. But sometimes you have to commit and develop from within and we'll get the results that we need."

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