Packers bring back long snapper Brett Goode
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers aren’t taking any chances with their kick and punt snaps.
After going all offseason and training camp with inexperienced Derek Hart, they signed veteran long snapper Brett Goode to compete for the job. The Packers announced the signing Saturday, but did not announce a move with Hart, meaning the two both are on the 90-man roster.
This will mark the second straight year the Packers have tried to go without Goode, 32, only to bring him back. Last year, Goode was coming off a torn ACL suffered near the end of the 2015 season and the Packers tried to move on with Rick Lovato and Jesse Schmitt.
But Lovato was inconsistent and Schmitt broke his hand in his very first practice. After Lovato was released at the end of training camp, general manager Ted Thompson signed Goode to a one-year, $885,000 deal on Sept. 5.
Kicker Mason Crosby had one of the best seasons of his career with Goode snapping and newcomer Jacob Schum holding.
This year, the Packers again decided they would try to move on from Goode and signed Hart on March 31. The 6-4, 245-pound Hart came out of James Madison in 2015, but had not been on an NFL regular-season roster.
The Packers have been trying to get someone younger and faster than Goode to help improve their punt coverage, but no one has been able to match his impeccable snapping. It was especially evident in the night practice at Lambeau Field on Aug. 5 when Crosby missed 5 of 11 field goal attempts.
Not all of the misses were Hart’s fault, but he has struggled to master the rotation of the ball to the point new punter Justin Vogel doesn’t have to spin it to get the laces pointing outward. Goode consistently has made it possible for the holders to just focus on putting the ball down and not having to spin it.
Even though Crosby hit his only field-goal attempt of the night in the exhibition-opening 24-9 victory over Philadelphia on Thursday night, the operation on all of the kicks was not smooth. The Packers apparently want to give Hart a chance to improve, but they may have decided they couldn’t wait any longer to sign Goode.
Goode tweeted: “Happy to be back with the @packers for another year."
It’s possible Goode, a free agent, was receiving interest from other teams and the Packers decided they couldn’t risk losing him. Either way, Goode, who has played in 142 career games, will now be preparing for a 10th season with the Packers.
Terms were not disclosed, but the minimum for a veteran with nine years of experience is $900,000.
Earlier in the week, special teams coach Ron Zook admitted the Packers were taking a chance with Hart, but they thought he could work through any issues that showed up Saturday night.
“The good thing obviously, (he is a) young athletic guy and he's got talent,” Zook said of Hart. “Once again, you kind of start over. Whatever happens is, as you get older in this league, you know your door is closing, that's just part of it.
"I think as an organization you have to protect yourself. I've heard it said here, and I know it's said a lot when I was in the NFL before. You'd rather get rid of somebody a year too early than a year too late. Sometimes, you think 'Gosh, why did we do that?' Obviously that's where the people upstairs that make that decision.
“But you know as a football team, you're constantly changing and trying to have the best team that you can have.”