Unit by unit analysis: Special teams

Packers make big improvement in kicking, returns, coverage

SPECIAL TEAMS: K Mason Crosby, P Jon Ryan, LS Rob Davis, KOR Koren Robinson, KOR/PR Tramon Williams, PR Will Blackmon.

Suffice it to say, the Packers didn't bring up the rear in the composite special-teams rankings for a third straight season. Their opportunistic units scored four touchdowns, with ace Tracy White setting the tone with a fumble recovery in the end zone in an opening-day win over Philadelphia.

Williams and Blackmon each returned a punt for touchdowns. The infusion of young talent engendered reckless abandon in coverage, led by Jason Hunter's 25 tackles.

Rookie Crosby was hardened by a laborious training-camp battle with incumbent Dave Rayner and led the league with 141 points, a franchise record for a kicker. His strong leg is an asset late in the season at Lambeau Field, though accuracy on field-goal kicks was an issue when the weather initially turned for the worst.

Frigid, windy conditions didn't agree with Ryan, a Canadian incidentally, and his second NFL season didn't end so hot. He shortened his delivery to two steps in the offseason in an effort to improve get-off and hang times, which resulted in a modest improvement of two yards in his net average to 37.6.

Davis, at 39, remains one of the best at his craft and would like to re-sign for another year if the team is willing to have him.

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