Packers: Amari Rodgers can fix Green Bay’s punt return problems
After the past two seasons, the only way is up for the Green Bay Packers on special teams.
As Lombardi Ave’s Daire Carragher highlighted, the Packers’ special teams were an absolute mess last season. But there’s good reason to believe there can be some improvements on this side of the ball in 2021.
A big part of that is rookie wide receiver Amari Rodgers.
Rodgers can not only help Green Bay’s offense, but he should also see plenty of opportunities on punt returns. He should be considered the frontrunner for the job after returning punts throughout his time at Clemson.
Not only is Rodgers good at punt returns, but he wants the job. According to Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com, Rodgers called punt returns his “bread and butter” and said that he loves the role.
And for good reason. At Clemson, Rodgers returned 68 punts over four seasons, averaging 7.8 yards per return. He had one punt return touchdown.
The Packers had multiple returners last season as they tried to find the right player for the job. Josh Jackson, Tyler Ervin, Darrius Shepherd, and Tavon Austin all returned punts, with none of them averaging more than 6.5 yards per return. Austin and Ervin averaged less than five yards per return.
In Rodgers, the Packers will be getting a player who is comfortable returning punts. That’s important as often the team was putting players back there without much experience last season. That can increase the likelihood of fumbles and mistakes.
Rodgers is phenomenal after the catch and returning punts comes natural to him. And as he has shown during his time at Clemson, he’s more than capable of returning one all the way for a touchdown. And that return TD was a thing of beauty as he made multiple defenders miss before sprinting down the sideline into the end zone.
Rodgers has drawn comparisons to Randall Cobb, and Cobb has been a mentor for him. In Cobb’s NFL debut, he returned a kickoff for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints.
The Packers’ 2021 opener is against the Saints. Just saying.