With the Green Bay Packers offense struggling for most of last season, they could ill afford to have a bad year at the Punting position. Tim Masthay’s sudden drop in distance and hang time often put the defense in difficult positions, and had a huge negative impact on last season.
The easy solution is to listen to the mob of Packers fans who want Masthay gone. However, as we’ve seen in the past with Mason Crosby, it is possible for a return to career averages after a debacle of a season. Ted Thompson prefers to go with the specialist he knows, so undrafted Peter Mortell will have to soundly beat Masthay in training camp and the preseason.
As a Green Bay native and a former Big Ten Punter, Mortell will be a fan favorite. He was an excellent holder for kicks in college, which is one of the things that helped Masthay hang on to his job the last two seasons. He has a strong leg, but will have to prove he can have the placement and hang time of a NFL punter.
Masthay’s 4.11 second hang time is not a huge obstacle for Mortell, but Special Teams Coordinator Ron Zook placed an emphasis on net average last season. Masthay actually set the franchise mark for net punt average last season, so it is possible the coaching staff does not view last year as the catastrophe fans do. However, much of that net average has to do with the excellent job Jeff Janis and Demetri Goodson did as gunners on the punt team. They made some terrific plays on low punts which could have led to huge returns.
Tim Masthay will be kicking for his job this summer. His ability to fend off another camp challenger will require him to return to his pre-2015 form, and beat out Mortell in Training Camp.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig