O’Donnell Faces More Pressure Than Any Punter

O’Donnell Faces More Pressure Than Any Punter

GREENBAY, Wis. – Given the struggles of both the offense and defense, there’s a lot of pressure for Green Bay Packers punter Pat O’Donnell.

Literally and metaphorically.

According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, O’Donnell has been pressured on 23.5 percent of his punts this season. That’s the highest rate in the NFL by a relatively large margin over the last five years, and significantly higher than any other punter this year (Tennessee’s Ryan Stonehouse, 17.1 percent). Rich Bisaccia,

Special team coordinator, did not see the pressure as an issue. He is happy with the way his team has handled all the challenges thrown at them by the opposition. He said that it was a strength when he was asked about the stat after Thursday practice. “We’ve had a punt blocked but we’ve had 33 punts and we have not had a six-man front yet.”

For the punt team, there is one player flanked out wide on each side of the formation. These players are called the fliers. For the return team, there are three ways to deploy the 10 players who are on the field alongside the returner. It can double-team both fliers, which gives it six players to rush. It can only double-team one of the fliers, giving you seven rushers. It can also place one jammer across from each gunner to create an eight-man rush. The Packers have seen many eight-man rushes.

“We have an rookie snapper,” Bisaccia stated of Jack Coco. “So, we’re getting rush after rush .”

,” Bisaccia said of Jack Coco.

The Jets picked up this blocked punt and scored a touchdown at Green Bay in Week 6. (Photo by Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

The Jets picked up this blocked punt and scored a touchdown at Green Bay in Week 6. (Photo by Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

“There’s going to be pressure on every punt,” Bisaccia said. “So, I don’t know what that stat is or how they’re made up. We haven’t yet seen a six-man front on any of these punts. We will be under pressure. I’d like to not give up another block.”

Through eight games, Bisaccia is at the unofficial halfway point of his first season on the job. There have been some positive moments and some improvement over last year’s season. This was after a disappointing playoff loss to San Francisco. A blocked field goal and a blocked punt led to Bisaccia’s first season as a professional football coach.

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To Bisaccia, what matters after every game is how the special teams contributed to field position. In the key categories, the Packers rank 23rd in starting field position after a kickoff return, 11th in starting field position after a kickoff, 28th in net punting average and 18th in opponent net punting average. “I think we’ve done an okay job covering kickoffs, and I think we’ve done well at protecting the kicker and the punter at times,” Bisaccia stated. “I think we’ve done a good job at times of forcing their punter into some shanks. We ended up with a block about a week ago. It’s not good enough. I don’t care about statistically where we are. Where we are at the end of each game is really a little bit more important to me, what we did for our offense, what we did for our defense.”

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