Both sides of special teams received plenty of action during the Packers’ Week one loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Who was the special teams player of the game?
For a Packers squad that has had its ups and downs the last few years on special teams, this was an area that needed a lot of improvement. In the off-season, Green Bay brought in special teams coach Rich Bisaccia to help fix the squad. Amari Rodgers played well, he didn’t muff any returns or fumble the ball. That’s a lot better than how things went last year but he was not the special teams player of the game.
Packers Special Teams Player Of The Game: Pat O’Donnell
Packers punter Pat O’Donnell was brought in during the off-season from the Chicago Bears. O’Donnell replaced Corey Bojorquez who is now the punter for the Cleveland Browns. In the past, the field position battle was poor with special teams unable to give the opposing team an unfavorable start to their drive. After game one, O’Donnell played well. He had four punts for 179 yards and three punts were inside the 20-yard line. His long was 53 yards and his average was 44.8 yards.
By pushing the opposing offense back towards their endzone, it forces them to go the length of the field or provides our offense with a decent field position in return. This was a great start by veteran punter Pat O’Donnell. On one hand, I’m looking forward to watching his punts this season. On the other hand, an O’Donnell punt means that the offense wasn’t able to get into scoring position. In a game where the highest score wins, we don’t want a lot of punts.
Other Notable Special Teams Players
Even though Pat O’Donnell got the star of the game award, it doesn’t mean that there weren’t good things from the other players. As I mentioned earlier, Packers wide receiver Amari Rodgers spent most of his time on the field with special teams. He returned one kick return for 14 yards and one punt for 12 yards. The biggest thing was that he didn’t drop or fumble the ball. By limiting those turnovers, it’ll help the team in the long run.
Packers kicker Mason Crosby was active for his 242nd start in Green Bay. After a successful knee scope procedure he had done in early August, the team wasn’t sure if he’d be ready by Week one. Well, he was. He was only needed once as the Packers only made it in the red zone twice and one ended up in the endzone, the other so-called 4th down stop happened on a rush that went nowhere and the refs didn’t catch the Vikings with 12 men on the field. Oh well, more issues resulted in a loss than one missed penalty. Crosby didn’t seem like his knee bothered him so that’ll be good going forward.
Packers Special Teams: What To Look For Next Week
In Week two, the Packers will be at home against the Chicago Bears. Everyone expects the Packers offense to perform better in Week two just like last year. This will allow Mason Crosby to test his newly repaired knee as he should get at least one field goal attempt. Last season was a poor year for Crosby so he hopes to bounce back and help provide the Packers with some extra points on the scoreboard.
Pat O’Donnell, who spent his first eight seasons with the Bears, will look to pin their offense back if Aaron Rodgers and company can’t get downfield. Amari Rodgers will once again be back to field any kick or punts that go his direction. Check back in towards the end of the week for our Week two preview for fantasy projections, the game preview, and our list of what to watch for.
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