More changes have been made official today on the Packers’ coaching staff. The most notable of them, as Tom Silverstein of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, is that special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton will not return (Twitter link).
That news certainly doesn’t come as a surprise to many, given the unit’s struggles throughout the season. After ranking dead last in the league in terms of special teams DVOA, the issue came to a head in Green Bay’s loss to the 49ers in the Divisional round. With a blocked field goal at the end of the first half, and a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, the unit’s performance played a large role in yet another 13-win season coming to a premature end.
Problems in the third phase of the game are nothing new in Green Bay. As The Athletic’s Jason Wilde tweets, the news of Drayton’s departure continues a seemingly never-ending trend of new coordinators cycling in and out. The new ST coordinator will be the fourth in the past five seasons for the team. As ESPN’s Rob Demovsky notes, Drayton is the eighth consecutive ST coach to either be fired or forced out (Twitter link).
With Nathaniel Hackett and Luke Getsy being hired by the Broncos and Bears, respectively, other changes were necessary on the offensive staff. It has already been reported that Adam Stenavich has been promoted to OC, which left a vacancy in the role of offensive line coach. To fill it, Luke Butkus, who had previously been an assistant o-line coach in Green Bay for three seasons, got promoted (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman).
Schneidman adds that Ryan Mahaffey is being promoted to assistant o-line coach after one season in Green Bay. As well, Connor Lewis has been promoted to assistant QBs coach following six seasons with the team. Lastly, wide receivers coach Jason Vrabel, who has spent three years with the Packers, including two in that role, has had passing game coordinator added to his title.
4 comments on “Latest On Packers’ Coaching Staff”
There are times when teams seemingly go through tough sledding in special teams phases, and it seems much harder to get out of than the two higher profile phases (offense and defense). Maybe special teams is just harder to judge, but it seems like the reason is that teams are just more willing to put money and effort into offense and defense.
Spending a pick on a special teamed other than a kicker in the later rounds is just ludicrous, and teams signing good special teams players just to do that is more uncommon. They usually wait until something catastrophic happens and THEN scramble to fix it. But a lot of special teams, more than the other phases seemingly, comes down to how the ball rolls or some other random thing. So is the problem that the Packers don’t care enough, or is that the Packers just had bad luck? It surely is more than just another bad coordinator.
GB had issues with all 4 “specialists” this season. Long snapper, holder, place kicker and punter. Add to that poor blocking on punts, kicks and returns, plus poor coverage on kick offs and punts. So it wasn’t just 1 guy here or there.
Then again, we should have seen this coming. Drayton was the assistant coordinator last year, when they also stunk. So the “fix” was to fire the coordinator and replace him with HIS underling. Not exactly what I’d call a winning formula.
I would agree. It’s still strange to see such a decline, though. I know special teams coordinators have more direct influence over their respective phase than other coaches, but it still seems like everything got very bad very quickly.
I mean Crosby’s been in the league for years. It’s not like he just forgot how to kick. Other than that slump in 2013 (if I remember correctly), he hasn’t had a year like this. Is it a simple question of finding the right coordinator, or is it an issue with the approach? That I don’t know.
ButkUs. Nephew of the greatest MLB in history