New Packers Special Teams Coordinator Maurice Drayton is eager to get to work and improve the unit.
Drayton got his start in the NFL five years ago as an assistant on special teams for the Indianapolis Colts, a break that mirrored the roots of his playing career at The Citadel as an undersized walk-on assigned to the punt and kick return teams.
During his first press conference last week, he reflected on his roots and his passion for special teams, “I’m small in stature by nature and that was a way for me to get on the field,” Drayton said.
Drayton stated that, “Time to roll up our sleeves and put in the work”.
He has a lot of work ahead of him to improve a unit that was one of the worst in the league. Drayton has been the teams special teams assistant for the past three seasons, first under Ron Zook and then Shawn Mennenga. So he does partially own the failures of the unit the past couple of seasons. Drayton is looking to bring in new techniques and better teaching methods to begin the units turnaround.
The team did not have many explosive returns, which was mostly due to not having a dynamic returner. That is a priority as they have to find someone who can be a threat returning the football. They had that for a little bit in 2019 with Tyler Ervin but no one who could fill his shoes in 2020.
Besides a lack of a dynamic returner, Drayton put two of his three core specialists on notice, punter JK Scott and long snapper Hunter Bradley. Both were inconsistent for the second year in a row. We can probably expect to see some competition brought in this off-season at those two spots.
Again, a bright spot for the unit was kick Mason Crosby. What can be said about Crosby that hasn’t been said already. He was nearly flawless for the second straight season.
There is a lot of work this offseason for a team that went to the NFC Championship Game two years in a row. An improvement in special teams could help put the team over in their quest for another Super Bowl.
Go Pack Go!
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag