New Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is beginning to make decisions with his coaching staff.
The Packers special teams often made game-changing plays, but for the wrong reasons. And as a result, new head coach Matt LaFleur has decided not to retain special teams coordinator Ron Zook, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.
Demovsky also reported that wide receivers coach David Raih will also be moving on.
The Packers once again didn’t play well enough on special teams this season. The unit ranked 30th in the NFL in Pro Football Focus‘ final special teams rankings.
Green Bay averaged 21.5 yards per kickoff return, which ranked 21st in the NFL, and 6.6 yards per punt return, 22nd in the NFL. But the unit gave up an average of 25.6 yards on kickoffs, fourth-most in the league, and 10.3 yards on punt returns, sixth-most in the NFL.
Then come the game-changing mistakes.
Ty Montgomery‘s fumble on a kickoff return that ended the game against the LA Rams. The Packers would’ve had a chance to win the game on the final drive. Mason Crosby‘s poor performance at Detroit, missing four field goals and an extra point.
According to NFLPenalties.com, the Packers had 26 penalties on special teams in 2018, tied for second-most in the NFL. It cost them 220 yards, third-most in the league.
And penalties on special teams have been a trend under Zook, as ESPN’s Rob Demovsky noted in December:
"“The only time in Zook’s four seasons as coordinator that they didn’t rank among the top nine most-penalized special teams was his second season, 2016, when they had the 13th most with 18.”"
Even without looking at the numbers, just watch a few plays on special teams from this season and you’ll likely find a costly mistake. The Packers had to make a change, and Matt LaFleur has decided to find a new special teams coordinator for 2019.
LaFleur’s coaching staff will continue to take shape in the coming days, but we’re now beginning to find out which coaches won’t be back next season.