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Lattimore, rookies spark special teams amidst turnover

Nov. 8, 2012
 

As the injuries have piled up, the Green Bay Packers’ starting offensive and defensive units have needed to adjust to new personnel.

The same goes for the team’s less-heralded unit – special teams.

With special-teams stalwart Brad Jones and others having to play a bigger role on defense, the Packers’ special-teams units have needed players to step up to fill those voids.

While mainstays Jarrett Bush, Ryan Taylor and Robert Francois remained active during Sunday’s 31-17 win over Arizona, rookies Sean Richardson, Jarrett Boykin and Terrell Manning also saw their workload increase.

They’ve also received a boost from their veterans, most notably second-year linebacker Jamari Lattimore, who has assumed a more vocal role this year after playing substantially on special teams last season.

“He’s done it with his play style on the field,” Packers special teams coach Shawn Slocum said. “He’s done it in the meeting room. We’ve been excited with his development.
“Jamari has been very vocal in the meetings and on game day and he’s got a lot of energy. He’s having fun playing football.”

Despite the turnover, the Packers’ special teams have been stout through the first nine weeks of the season with returner Randall Cobb continuing to be among the league’s best in kickoff and punt returns.

There’s also something to be said for the unit’s coverage teams, who limited Arizona punt returner Patrick Peterson to only a 4.8-yard average last week and recovered a muffed punt in the waning moments to seal the win.

“I think it’s very important because it gets down to play accountability to one another,” Slocum said. “Young guys are involved in every meeting, every practice and may not be playing and when they’re time comes it’s important for them to go out and execute and play well.”
-whodkiew@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

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