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Corey Bojorquez Should Replace Mason Crosby on the Packers Kickoff Team

It’s not a secret that the special teams unit is a weakness for the Green Bay Packers right now. While many blindly and ignorantly blame special teams coach Maurice Drayton for any and all issues in this phase of the game, I’ve broken down on Lombardi Sweep why this is a systemic issue of the organization many times. Most recently, we discussed it this week.

One change that Drayton could and should make, though he may not have enough power to do so, is having punter Corey Bojorquez be the kicker on the kickoff team instead of veteran Mason Crosby. It’s clear that the kickoff team is the worst unit on the Green Bay Packers. You can watch the video on the link above for more reasoning why this team is bad.

For the sake of this article, we will simply discuss how this single change could greatly improve the kickoff team.

Corey Bojorquez green bay packers special teams mason crosby
Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Corey Bojorquez Should Replace Mason Crosby on Kickoff

Packers Special Teams Woes

Most recently, the kickoff team has been a disaster for Green Bay. However, it is far from the only Packers special teams struggles we have seen this season. Earlier in the season, there were some questionable snaps from long snapper Hunter Bradley. This resulted in a change at the position and worsened snaps. Not only was the accuracy of the snaps worsened, but the overall timing of the kicking process was also thrown off. Off-timing led to missed kicks and a bounty being put on Mason Crosby’s head.

Of course, he was not solely to blame. He would put in extra reps in and out of practice to quickly build the chemistry between the snapper, holder and kicker. However, extra reps for a 37-year-old kicker are far from ideal.

Extra reps and wear-and-tear on the veteran kicker’s leg could have been avoided by sticking with Bradley at long snapper. Instead, we have seen a weakened leg for Crosby, which is especially apparent on kickoffs. We’ll get to that later.

Kickoff Woes

The personnel for the Packers kickoff team is not only unbelievably bad, but it also continues to rotate. The Packers have never invested in their kickoff team. Instead, they have given the special teams coordinator the scraps of the roster. These are players who Green Bay activates for game day as insurance policies for the offense more than anything else. The result is unathletic, slow players running down the field, with the majority being offensive players.

The Packers are trying to put round pegs into square holes. Not only are these unathletic players, but they are also players without special teams experience. Given the fact that Green Bay rarely puts on shoulder pads and goes full speed in practice, they aren’t getting quality reps in practice either. The result is inexperienced players getting their first true reps at the position on Sunday Night Football. It makes sense that their angles and lanes are off.

Instead of pretending 250-pound tight end Tyler Davis can figure it out on the fly, let’s bring in career special teams players. Preferably defensive backs; players with experience on special teams and experience taking good angles and finishing plays with tackles.

Crosby’s Leg is Falling Off

Okay, maybe Mason Crosby’s leg isn’t literally falling off, but the numbers sure are. This season, only 43.5% of his kickoffs have been touchbacks. This is down from 50% last season and 56.8% the year prior.

The Packers’ 43.5% of touchbacks ranks as the seventh-worst in the NFL. However, of the other six teams, five have an average return of under 25 yards, showing their short kicks could be a strategy, due to their kickoff team’s strength. These teams include the Patriots, who have notably invested in special teams under Bill Belichick, and the Giants, who are led by Joe Judge — a former special teams coordinator for the Patriots. The only other team above 25 yards is the Jaguars, at an average return of 25.7 yards. The Packers average 25.9.

Corey Bojorquez Should Replace Mason Crosby on Kickoff

If only there was another option! Oh yeah, the Packers signed a big-legged Corey Bojorquez this past offseason. The same Bojorquez who has a punting long of 82 yards this season.

Now, it’s possible Bojorquez struggles with kickoffs — I don’t know. He kicked off just once during his three seasons in Buffalo, and it was an after-safety kickoff, which doesn’t count. Maybe he misses the ball too often. It’s possible they believe that leg motion could mess up his main duties as a punter. Again, I’m not sure.

What I am sure about is that Mason Crosby’s leg has continued to weaken, and the extra reps figuring out the kicking team expedited the process. I also am sure that the kickoff team is largely absent of talent, especially now that Equanimeous St. Brown is hurt (Side note: not a joke. EQ has been the best special teams player this season).

Increasing the number of touchbacks obviously decreases the number of kicks opponents are able to return against the Packers and hurt them. Bojorquez certainly has the leg power to accomplish this task, and it could be a Super Bowl-winning decision to make that switch. We already saw last postseason how winning the field position battle can send you to a Super Bowl.

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