Packers' special teams outlook

Rayner, Crosby competition among the top battles of training camp

SPECIAL TEAMS: PK Dave Rayner, PK Mason Crosby, P Jon Ryan, P David Lonie, LS - Rob Davis.

For all the attention that will be given to the competition for starting jobs at halfback and strong safety, the best battle might involve incumbent Rayner and newcomer Crosby.

Rayner, who misfired on nine field-goal tries last season, was anything but thrilled to find out the team drafted a kicker, taking Crosby in the sixth round. Crosby is Rayner's equal and even a little more with leg strength. Crosby also displayed better field-goal accuracy in limited kicking chances the two had in off-season practices. The preseason games will be telling.

The strong-legged Ryan appeared to be benefiting from having his steps shortened in the spring work. The hang time must improve, after having a woeful net average of 35.7 yards, to retain the punting job for a second season.

Davis, the oldest player on the team at 38, is one of the best long snappers in the game.

Still to be sorted out are the return duties. Woodson, though, might continue on punt returns, but look for Will Blackmon or James Jones to take over depending on who performs best in training camp.

Morency is a top candidate on kickoff returns, but Blackmon, Jones and rookie David Clowney will get opportunities in camp to return kickoffs.


Packer Report Top Stories