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Packer Report Special Teams Rankings

It's three weeks into the season, but how are the Packers doing on special teams? Plus, what do the stats say about what to do with kickoffs into the end zone?

The Green Bay Packers’ special teams have been a work in progress.

There was the late change at punter, with the release of veteran Tim Masthay and the addition of Jacob Schum.

There was the late change at snapper, with Brett Goode re-signed after final cuts.

Four of the top returning players from last season were either sidelined by injury (Chris Banjo and Jayrone Elliott missed the first two games with injured hamstrings), limited by injury (Jeff Janis played through a broken hand) or suspended (Demetri Goodson).

And yet, according to the first version of our special teams rankings, the Packers rank a respectable 14th.

The Packers were 16th after the 2015 season, a big improvement over their No. 31 standing in 2014.

Packer Report tracks five key special-teams statistics: Starting field position following a kickoff and kickoff return, net punting for and against, and field-goal accuracy. A No. 1 ranking means one point, a No. 2 ranking means two points and so on. The first four categories are about field position. After all, a 40-yard punt with no return is better than a 50-yard punt with a 15-yard return, and a touchback on a kickoff is better than a 30-yard return from a kick 7 yards into the end zone.

Obviously, three games into a season means a small sample size. That’s evident in two areas.

First, eight teams have made all of their field-goal attempts, including the Packers. Thus, one missed kick means a big penalty in our rankings.

Two, the Packers rank sixth in field position following a kickoff due in large part to Ty Montgomery’s out-of-bounds pickup of a kickoff against Detroit last week that gave Green Bay the ball at the 40.

Speaking of kickoff returns, teams are better off taking the touchback and getting possession at the 25-yard line. Only 10 teams are starting beyond the 25, with only four teams getting it beyond the 26. For Green Bay, it’s taken a touchback on 12 of 16 kickoffs, that 75 percent being the fifth-highest.

RankTeamNet PuntOpp NetKO ReturnKickoffFG PctTotal
1 Baltimore 21 15 5 3 1 45
2 Dallas 13 5 9 13 10 50
3 Atlanta 18 17 12 4 1 52
4 New England 10 9 20 1 14 54
5 Indianapolis 4 32 13 9 1 59
5 Washington 31 3 3 21 1 59
7 Los Angeles 8 18 17 17 1 61
7 Seattle 23 4 7 26 1 61
9 Minnesota 14 7 1 23 19 64
10 N.Y. Jets 27 20 2 6 10 65
11 Miami 6 10 27 8 21 72
12 Detroit 1 14 28 14 16 73
12 Philadelphia 28 19 11 5 10 73
14 Green Bay 20 31 6 16 1 74
15 Houston 19 29 15 2 10 75
15 Buffalo 24 2 4 24 21 75
17 Kansas City 16 1 30 32 1 80
18 Cincinnati 12 24 18 18 9 81
19 Denver 11 28 10 20 16 85
20 Tampa Bay 3 21 19 12 32 87
21 Carolina 17 25 16 11 19 88
22 Pittsburgh 2 13 29 25 21 90
23 Arizona 32 11 8 19 21 91
23 Jacksonville 7 16 25 15 28 91
25 New Orleans 5 26 24 10 29 94
26 Tennessee 9 12 22 31 21 95
27 San Diego 29 8 23 22 14 96
28 Oakland 22 23 32 7 21 105
29 San Francisco 26 22 14 30 21 113
30 Chicago 25 6 31 27 30 119
31 N.Y. Giants 30 27 21 28 16 122
32 Cleveland 15 30 26 29 30 130

Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.


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