Packers: Tremon Smith can be a game-changer in return game

Green Bay Packers

Well, the Trevor Davis experiment has finally come to an end for the Green Bay Packers as they have recently traded him away to the Oakland Raiders for a sixth-round draft pick.

Davis was in the final year of his rookie deal and had put together his best preseason at the receiver position of his NFL career. While coming into the new season he was on the bubble, his performance over the summer was enough to keep him around.

Although he received some high praise from Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers during training camp, Davis’ primary responsibility was still as a return man. However, a rough week against Minnesota coupled with a career full of mixed results led to his inevitable trade.

For several years now, the return game for the Green Bay Packers has felt more like a liability, rather than a weapon. It’s time for that to change and the newly acquired Tremon Smith looks like the man for the job.

Earlier in the week, the Packers claimed Smith off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs where Smith had put together a very successful 2018 season returning kicks.

Smith would average 26.8 yards per kick return in 2018 with four over 40 yards and a long of 97. The Packers haven’t had that kind of big-play potential returning kicks in years. Smith was even rated as the number two kick returner by Pro Football Focus last season.

As far as punt returns go, Smith does not have any NFL experience there, but he did the job in college at Central Arkansas. In 39 punt return attempts, Smith would average 7.6 yards per return with a long of 65 and a touchdown.

With 4.3 – 40 speed, Smith is a viable option as a punt returner, however, special teams coach Shawn Mennenga alluded to the Packers utilizing Darrius Shepherd in that role, as he had 44 punt returns at North Dakota State and was a return man in the preseason for Green Bay.

While we won’t know until we see him take the field, it certainly looks like the Green Bay Packers made an upgrade in the return game with the addition of Tremon Smith. This is an element that has been missing from this team and if Smith can prove to be a reliable and explosive returner, he has the potential to greatly improve this Packers’ team.

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