GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Thumbing through the list of proposed NFL rule changes each year, there’s always a few that raise some eyebrows.
This year, the biggest one involved special teams.
The league is proposing a change to the onside kick rule that would eliminate the need for teams to try a low-probability kick – or multiple kicks – to try and mount a comeback.
The rule change would instead put the responsibility on the offense to gain 15 yards in one play, a change that chips away at special teams’ role in game preparation.
Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga offered his thoughts on the prospective rule changes and discussed his unit’s improvements in a Zoom call with reporters Friday. Below is a rundown of what he had to say.
- “Our mantra is penalty-free aggression.” Mennenga said the Packers need to emphasize the details to get away from penalty issues.
- Mennenga said he’s excited to get Tyler Ervin back in the fold this season. He said last year’s newcomer provided a spark in the return game and called Ervin a versatile player.
- Mennenga mentioned the willingness to adapt to any new special teams rules, but he said as a special teams person, he’s a little disappointed whenever part of his area gets taken out of the game.
- As far as the virtual offseason goes, Mennenga and others have been making videos and doing Zoom meetings on a daily basis, a slightly bigger challenge for one of the largest groups on the team.
- Mennenga called kicker Mason Crosby the leader of the room. He credited Crosby’s approach to every portion of the week, from taking care of his body to his mental approach, and said that’s why they wanted to resign the veteran kicker.
- Mennenga expressed optimism about the development of long snapper Hunter Bradley and punter JK Scott and the communication they’ve shared with coaches this offseason.
- Mennenga said the whole team has done a great job of recycling the information from the special teams coaches. He likes the athleticism of the group and calls them “sharp.”
- Mennenga said they’ll train every person on the team outside of the quarterbacks, but mentioned linebacker Christian Kirksey as an example of someone who likely won’t be playing on the unit.
- Mennenga is receptive to changes that make the game safer, and said they want to mesh that with still making the game as exciting as possible.