The Importance of Special Teams

As was more than evident in Sunday’s game, being able to count on your kicker to finish off a stalled drive with points is more than important in the league: it is imperative to a team’s success.

Regardless of role, rhyme or reason, a team should have the confidence to be able to count on its placekicker to come in and knock the pigskin through the uprights to add three more to the board for the good guys.

In the Green Bay-Minnesota tilt, special teams was a huge factor in the game, not even just kicking-wise.

Green Bay got on the board with the recovery of a blocked punt in the end zone for their first points, as Geronimo Allison knifed through the protection and laid out to get Josh Jackson his first regular-season score as a Packer.

Throughout the game, Green Bay was able to rely on rookie JK Scott’s cannon of a right leg, as he helped turn the field position tables more than a few times during the game. He averaged 51.8 yards per punt Sunday, with one touchback and two downed inside the 20.

Scott’s longest punt of 63 yards was an absolute ‘nuke’ of a punt, according to Pat McAfee’s astute Instagram analysis of punters throughout the league. This punt helped pin the Vikings down around their 20 with 8:30 left to go before halftime.

But the biggest hero (and to some the reason for losing the game, but not me) of the divisional contest was Crosby, who had a career day by making five-of-six field goals. Crosby accounted for 17 of the team’s 29 points, pushing him to be six-for-seven on the young season.

In his twelfth season overall and in Titletown, Crosby has been nothing short of consistent for this team, as it scrambled to look for its heir apparent following Ryan Longwell’s unneeded descent into the depth of purple and gold hell.

Having played in every single game of every season he has been in the league, Crosby has only had one season below 75 percent accuracy on field goals (2012). While Father Time eventually does catch up to kickers, Crosby seems to be in his groove yet again.

On the flip side, it was quite evident how much our rivals from the north have been longing for a consistent kicker (hello, my old friend, Blair Walsh). With the likes of Walsh, Kai Forbath, Steven Hauschka (signed as a free agent out of college but never suited up), Longwell and now Daniel Carlson, who very well may be looking for a new job this week, the Vikings have gone through their fair share of failed kicking experiments.

As a Packer fan, there are many things to complain about, mostly our defense. However, the one aspect that we as a fanbase have been spoiled with for many years is our special teams units, sans the revolving door at punter we had (hopefully Scott shuts that door and bolts it shut).

We, as fans, need to understand that to win games, it takes all three units to form a cohesive attack as a team. Offensively, injury concerns plague us year in year out, and defensive missteps are a common topic, but our special teams unit is quite solid throughout.

Per usual, if you have any suggestions for any article topics or comments about this piece, please let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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