"What in the hell...?!"
Those were my exact words when I heard the Packers drafted a punter in the 5th round in the 2018 NFL Draft. I had horrible flashbacks to one BJ Sander, a punter that Mike Sherman traded up to draft in the early 2000s who, as it turns out, could not punt. A punter who cannot punt is an issue.
The Packers then threw another curve ball at me by drafting a long snapper in the 7th round. So let me get this straight: 2 draft picks were spent on a punter and a long snapper...(sigh). Rookie punter Justin Vogel broke franchise records punting last year - why would they mess around with that?!
I began trying to crawl into Güte's brain and figure out what the hell he was thinking and the more I thought about it the more I became convinced that maybe, just maybe, the Packers are finally shifting their philosophy about special teams. See, Mike McCarthy has (in my opinion) never looked at special teams as a game-changing asset. He always seems to look at it as a necessary evil. Punting and kicking is like putting in golf I guess - it's so boring to putt when you can focus your attention on driving the ball 300 yards and getting your iron approach shots dialed in. BUT...as they say: "drive for show, putt for dough".
I did some digging and I found some very interesting stats by digging around special teams grading guru RICK GOSSELIN and his annual special teams rankings for NFL teams. My focus was on one particular team that I LOVE TO HATE - the (gulp) New England Patriots. What I discovered was very telling...
You see, Bill Belichick loves special teams and actually uses that side of the ball as a difference maker - he doesn't just focus on offense and defense. Look at the rankings of the Patriots' vs. Packers special teams over the past 5 years below. Pretty pitiful if you're Green Bay but as Mike McCarthy says - "you get what you emphasize."
Here is my tin-foil hat theory: Gutekunst is saying enough with this crap, we're going to go out and get the best punter available and try to passive-aggressively help out the defense by pinning the opposition deep in their own territory as much as we can. Ted Thompson also played a tireless game of release-then-resign-when-desperate with their previous snapper, Brett Goode. The Packers has all sorts of issues snapping the ball last year - pee wee football stuff.
Let's hope that Güte is telling MM - enough is enough...let's turn special teams into a weapon instead of a liability.