The Packers used undrafted first-year player Jeremy Ross as their punt returner on Saturday night in their playoff game against the 49ers, and it proved costly.
Ross muffed a punt deep in Packers' territory, which essentially handed the 49ers a gift touchdown.
But special teams coach Shawn Slocum said Tuesday he has no regrets using Ross in such a crucial game. The Packers decided to use regular return man Randall Cobb on kickoffs and Ross on punts. Slocum doesn't think Ross's inexperience contributed to the mistake.
"That was not because of inexperience," said Slocum. "Heís caught a bunch of punts in his life and with his production going into that game and what he had done for us as a returner. Felt very confident, he had a great warm-up before the game. He was catching the ball well. There was no reason for me to believe he was going to mishandle that ball. Likewise, didnít have any reason to believe Randall (Cobb) would mishandle two balls on the kickoff return."
So why did Ross muff the ball, which the 49ers recovered at the Packers' 9 yard-line?
"I thought he was overly aggressive," said Slocum. "He looked up and gauged the punt and was seeing the coverage of the gunners. Jarrett Bush had the gunner coming from his right under control and he just committed the No. 1 error that you canít do, you have to catch the ball before you run. I know he was thinking about making a play because he had done that against Minnesota, had gotten the ball off the 10-yard line out to the 20, I know that was going through his mind and he was overly aggressive. That really hurt us in that ballgame. We had a one-score lead and a chance to get the ball back and score again."
As for Ross's future, Slocum said: "I have confidence in Jeremy Ross. I think he has the potential to be a very good player."