The Packers believe they have found their long term punter.  Daniel Whelan won the job out of training camp last season. He beat out veteran punter Pat O’Donnell.  For the most part, Whelan was impressive in his rookie season.  The Packers were so pleased with Whelan that they did not bother signing another punter this offseason.  Daniel Whelan will be the only punter in camp for Green Bay.  He is the Packers long term punter.  

Whelan has a fascinating journey to the NFL.  He was born in Ireland.  He played his college ball at University of California-Davis.  Whelan even had a stint in the XFL with the D.C. Defenders which is how the Packers discovered him.  In 2023, Whelan was the bright spot for the Packers special team unit.  Whelan’s impressive finish to 2023 was overshadowed by Carlson’s kicking struggles down the stretch.

Daniel Whelan

Daniel Whelan Finished 2023 Strong

Whelan, similar to Jordan Love, finished the season strong.  The reason why that is critical is because as it gets colder in Green Bay, it gets harder to kick.  In the final nine games of the season, Whelan had 11 punts inside the 20 yard line.  None of them resulted in a touchback.  This stat improved from 18 punts inside the 20, five of which resulted in touchbacks, per Pro Football Focus.

Unlike the Packers kicking position, Whelan does not have a fellow competitor in training camp. That fact makes the positive reports out of minicamp and OTAs more impactful.  Overall, it appears that Whelan has shown improvement so far this offseason. It will be important for him to carry this positive momentum into camp and the preseason games. If Whelan plays well in the preseason, the job will be his to keep without any doubts.

The Packers special teams has been a sore for several years. Their kicking and punting coverage has been underwhelming. Neither kickers Anders Carlson nor Greg Jospeh are sure things. Green Bay does have a two time All-Pro kick returner in Keisean Nixon. It would be a nice option to have a reliable punter. With a new look defense, the Packers certainly hope, more often than not, Whelan can give the opposing offense poor starting field position. Having a strong, reliable punter is underrated. In the grand scheme of a successful football team, a strong punter takes the pressure off the defense. The Packers faith in Daniel Whelan is there and hopefully, he comes thru.