5. Can special teams provide many happy returns?
Ron Zook’s units finished 29th in the Dallas Morning News’ annual special teams rankings and a major contributor to that was the fact that the Packers allowed a league-worst 26.3 yards per opponent kickoff.
That damning stat led to Green Bay’s adversaries benefitting from an average starting field position of the 26.6 yard line—no organization was worse in that department either.
Can the veteran coach get his young players on the same page and ensure they can all carry out their assignments?
The team’s kickoff average (19.7) and punting yardage (43.2 per attempt) were also similarly deplorable and among the league’s lowest.
One player the coaching staff is counting heavily on to add a spark to the return game is second-year receiver Trevor Davis, whose come into camp visibly bigger fresh off strong mini-camp practices.
The area he’ll need to improve in most is his ability to field punts.
Along with muffing one versus Tennessee last season, Davis reportedly dropped two more early on in training camp.
Can his added strength help get off coverage as a wideout?
That would certainly enhance his chances of making the final 53, but it all begins with what he demonstrates as a return specialist.
Another matter that must be addressed is long snapping, as Derek Hart hasn’t been up to the task of cleanly getting the ball into the hands of holder Justin Vogel on field-goal tries.
Mason Crosby has been uncharacteristically missing on his attempts, as evidenced by converting 5-of-11 kicks during a recent drill last week.
As for Vogel, who also performs punting duties, he’s undoubtedly been a bright spot. The former Miami Hurricane averaged over 49 yards per punt against the rush during the first week of camp, according to Ryan Wood of PackersNews.com.
It’s great to see what type of upside this rookie possesses, but Zook demands consistency.