This is the next in a series of articles providing an in-depth analysis of each position group on the Green Bay Packers. Today we will analyze the special teams. For our look at the quarterbacks, click here, click here for running backs, here for the defensive line, here for inside linebackers, here for tight ends, here for edge rushers, here for offensive line and here for the secondary.

The grades will be for each unit as a whole but we will provide analysis of each player, their strengths and weaknesses and a quick analysis of where they stand heading into the offseason.

The Packers special teams improved this season under Rich Bisaccia. They went from dead last in the league a year ago to 22nd in the league depending on which rating system you are using.

Special teams have long been a problem area for the Packers and while the unit was far from elite this year, they certainly showed some improvement across the board.

Here are the grades for the Packers special teams in 2022. The marks are based on a combination of expectations and performance.

Special Teams:

Mason Crosby rebounded from a subpar 2021 to have a more consistent season this season. He made 25-of-29 field goals and 37-of-39 extra points. He came through in the clutch as well, hitting the game winning field goal in overtime against the Cowboys.

The big issue for Crosby was kickoffs. He’s going to turn 39 just before the next season starts and his leg strength isn’t what it used to be. That sometimes compromises field position.

The Packers have a tough decision ahead with Crosby who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He knows how to kick in the cold and wind of Lambeau Field but as a veteran, he will cost the Packers more money than an inexperienced kicker. His shorter kickoffs are also an issue.

Crosby has already indicated he wants to play another season so GM Brian Gutekunst must decide if the team wants and can afford to bring back the team’s all-time leading scorer.

Ramiz Ahmed spent the season on the practice squad. He was elevated for one game and kicked off but the Packers did not sign him to a new deal for 2023.

Instead, they signed kicker Parker White to a future’s deal. White should be competing for a job in training camp. The former South Carolina star left as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

Pat O’Donnell was brought in by Bisaccia to be the punter and holder for field goals and extra points. He proved to be a much more consistent holder for Crosby and helped the kicking game improve.

As a punter, he averaged 44.5-yards per kick and placed 24 punts inside the opponent’s 20 while having only one touchback all season.

O’Donnell had two punts blocked although that was more due to poor blocking rather than O’Donnell’s ability to quickly get his punts off quickly.

The former Bears punter has one year left on his contract and should be back next season.

Jack Coco took over as the team’s long snapper and was more consistent than his predecessors. Coco was not perfect, but there were no major botched snaps this season.

Coco is under contract for two more seasons although the Packers could bring in competition for Coco in training camp this year.

Amari Rodgers started the season as the team’s primary return specialist but he struggled throughout the season. The former third-round pick was let go midseason after continually struggling with fumbles and poor decision making. He averaged just 7.0-yards per punt return and a pedestrian 20.3-yards per kick return. His poor ball handling led directly to the team’s loss to Washington. Rodgers was finally let go after 10 games this season.

He was replaced by Keisean Nixon who gave the return game a substantial boost. He averaged 28.8-yards per kick return and scored a touchdown, the first by a Packers returner since 2011. Nixon is speedy, confident and dangerous any time he touches the ball. He also averaged 12.7-yards per punt return, 5.7-yards per runback more than Amari Rodgers did.

The Packers will want to bring Nixon back although he is an unrestricted free agent. He is loyal to Bisaccia and took less money to rejoin him in Green Bay. If Bisaccia stays in town, that could help the Packers re-sign Nixon although he will certainly be paid more after his strong performance last year.

The Packers kick and punt coverage teams improved over the course of the season but still have work to do. Opponents averaged 23.2-yards per kick return and 9.5-yards per punt return against Green Bay. The Packers did not allow a punt return or a kick return for a touchdown in 2022.

Overall, Bisaccia improved the Packers special teams from dreadful to below average. Hopefully, the team will continue to progress next season.


Grade: C



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