Unit by unit analysis: Special teams
Mason Crosby (2) led the league in scoring.
Mason Crosby (2) led the league in scoring.

Posted Jan 26, 2008

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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