Packers Make Key Move With Bush

Never mind Jarrett Bush's up-and-down play on defense. Bush's value is on special teams, and his growing important in that role was evident last season.

The Green Bay Packers retained a key piece to their vastly improved special teams by re-signing free agent defensive back Jarrett Bush.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported that Bush received a three-year deal that was "better" than the three-year, $4.5 million contract Bush inked with the team in 2009, when the Packers matched Tennessee's restricted free agent offer.

Bush had made free-agent visits to the Jets and Cardinals, and the Cowboys were interested, as well,'s Aaron Wilson reported on Monday.

Bush was part of the Packers' resurgent kicking teams. In Rick Gosselin's annual special teams rankings for the Dallas Morning News, the Packers had finished 26th in 2008, 31st in 2009 and 29th in 2010. This year, Green Bay tied for 13th.

Gosselin tracks 22 special-teams categories. Breaking it into the five main areas — starting field position on kickoff returns and kickoff coverage, net punting for and against, and field-goal accuracy — the Packers ranked an average of 11.6 compared to 21.8 in 2010. With Bush spearheading the coverage units, Tim Masthay set a team record for net punting average and opponents' average starting position after kickoffs was pushed back 7.6 yards.

Bush tied for the team lead in special-teams tackles with 12. Always one of the more aggressive players on the team, Bush has learned to harness that energy. In 2011, he was guilty of one penalty on special teams, a holding call in the season's only regular-season loss, at Kansas City. That's down from six in 2007, six in 2008, four in 2009 and three in 2010.

"Jarrett Bush has been a great leader, No. 1, and his production's been very good," special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said. "He plays so combative and I think those young guys see it and try to mimic it. It's created a synergy that's helped us improve."

Bush's re-signing is a key move in terms of the NFC North. The Bears, who are trying to mount a push back into contender status, signed ace kick returner Eric Weems away from the Falcons. Chicago's always-strong special teams finished third last season, with Minnesota (29th) and Detroit (31st) near the bottom.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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