Grading the Packers: Specialists

Rayner and Ryan perform above average as first-year kickers

Dave Rayner: For the most part, Rayner performed better than expected in his first season as a full-time kicker. Even better, Rayner was especially effective on his deep kickoffs with 11 touchbacks, tied for 11th in the NFL. He had three touchbacks in a game twice last season (against New Orleans Sept. 17 and at Miami on Oct. 22).

Rayner made 26 of 35 (74.3 percent) field goal attempts, including a team-record-tying 54-yard field goal Oct. 2 against Philadelphia, his career-best. He booted a game-winning 44-yard field goal on a slick surface Dec. 21 to beat the Minnesota Vikings.

Rayner can be Green Bay's kicker for a long time to come, but needs to get more accurate. With a full season under his belt, chances are he will.
Grade: B

Jon Ryan: Like Rayner, Ryan also entered this season with some experience at the pro level (Canadian Football League), but in his first season as a full-time NFL punter. Blessed with a powerful leg, Ryan for eighth in the league with a gross average of 44.5 yards per punt, third best in team history to Craig Hentrich (45.0 avg., 1997) and Jerry Norton (44.7, 1963). Ryan had four punts of 60-plus yards.

The knock on Ryan, however, is that he often out-kicked his coverage and/or didn't get enough hang time. His net average (distance of the punt from Green Bay's line of scrimmage to the point where the ball is returned) was 35.7 yards, tying him for 26th in the NFL.

Ryan, also the holder for Rayner on field goal attempts, played the season despite his father's battle with cancer. Bob Ryan passed away on Dec. 1, but Jon stayed with the team to punt in the Dec. 3 loss to the New York Jets before returning home to Canada for his father's memorial service. His teammates recently honored him as Green Bay's recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.

Grade: C+

Rob Davis: The 38-year-old veteran only seems to get better with time. He didn't have any poor snaps this season with extra points, or punts, and often was one of the first downfield to make a tackle on a punt. Davis was seventh on the team with eight special teams tackles.
Grade: B+


Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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