Coaching Q&A: Shawn Slocum

Packer Report spent 5 minutes with the special teams coordinator on Thursday, hitting on topics ranging from the return of Will Blackmon to Mason Crosby's injury to Jeremy Kapinos' touchbacks.

Packer Report's Bill Huber spent 5 minutes talking special teams with coordinator Shawn Slocum on Thursday.

I'm sure it's good to have Will Blackmon back. How's he been looking?

I think he looks like he's ready to play some football. I know he was disappointed last week not being able to play. He had a great offseason, great training camp in terms of special teams production. We're looking forward to having him out there, not just as a returner but the other things he does.

How would you assess Jeremy Kapinos' performance against Chicago. He had a couple of touchbacks. Was that disappointing or, with Devin Hester back there, were you looking to keep the ball out of his hands?

No, I thought that he had a solid performance in terms of hang time and distance. We were able to cover the kicks that he kicked. We need to be more productive inside the 20. We can't have touchbacks. We need to force the opponent to begin drives inside the 20. That's a goal, that's a point of emphasis each week, and every time we punt, if we have that opportunity. So, it's a coordination between the coverage and him placing the ball in the proper place to get that done.

Kapinos had that one punt downed at the 6, but Clay Matthews was called for holding. That one looked a little iffy on the replay. Was that really a penalty?

Yeah, it was called, so it was. It's all a judgment call. I can understand why they made that call. We can't let that take away a very good play, and then to come back with the next punt not being very good, we gave them approximately 20 yards of field position as a result of those two things.

How's Mason Crosby doing with his abdominal strain?

Mason, I think is fine. This is precautionary. He went through training camp and then the beginning of the season. He's a kicked a lot of balls. It's not surprising for him to get a little fatigued. We're being very careful with him so he's ready to go.

Fatigue — is that what it is?

I'm not a doctor. From everything I can tell from talking to all of those involved, that's why we decided to let him rest for a couple of days. The important thing is we maintain his timing and rhythm as we move forward.

Mason said he's been dealing with that for awhile. Could that have been affecting his accuracy at times?

I don't know about that. The accuracy part of it, Mason's very accurate. Some of the misses were due to the placement spot. That to me was the biggest issue. I think Mason had a good camp in terms of kicking the football. He had a couple of poor days during camp ... but he fixed something structurally that he didn't like that he was doing and he's moved forward since then. He's a very tough-minded individual and he doesn't get affected one way or the other when circumstances get on him. I appreciate that about him as an athlete. I think that's why he's got a chance to really be a good kicker. We look forward to him moving on. He missed a 49-yard field goal — it could have been labeled a 50, it was halfway in between. He missed it, the spot was good, and I know he was disappointed as was myself. We need to make that kick, but I'm fully confident that he will moving forward.

Desmond Bishop won a game ball for his play on special teams. What did you see from Desmond?

Everything that we ask him to do, he did it 100 miles an hour. He was good in coverage, he was good in his blocking — outstanding in the blocking. He had a knockdown block on one of the kickoff returns and he played with a high tempo and was impactful in the game.

Jordy Nelson had a good night on kickoff returns. What was the key to that success?

I think, first of all, we blocked well. Second of all, Jordy made some good decisions on what he saw. He's a very effective returner. I was pleased with that.

Offenses like a change-of-pace running back. With Will and Jordy having different styles, is there something to be said about having a change-of-pace returner?

I'm sure there is. I feel very good with our returners. Will has demonstrated his ability to be effective, and Jordy has as well. We still have Tramon Williams and DeShawn Wynn as an effective returner, and there's always Charles Woodson if we need him to do something like that. We're in good shape in terms of the number of guys that we have that can return the ball.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and 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 twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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