Despite punting only seven times, Packers not worried about rust with JK Scott
GREEN BAY – It’s not like Green Bay Packers punter JK Scott is hoping for more work, but his leg has so seldom been needed this season that you wonder if he might take on a second job.
Through four games, Scott has punted just seven times.
It was 38 minutes, 17 seconds into the season opener against Chicago last year when he reached his seventh punt. After four games last season, he had punted 23 times.
This season, the Packers are averaging 1.75 punts per game, two fewer than the league average, and Scott hasn’t punted enough to even qualify for the league rankings in gross and net yardage.
For the record, he’s averaging 41.0 gross and 36.1 net, which would rank him last in the league in both categories. Four of his punts have landed inside the 20-yard line and he has one touchback.
Special teams coach Shawn Mennenga has no problem with Scott’s inactivity, especially since it’s a reflection of how good the offense has been. He said that as soon as Scott is needed, he’ll be ready.
“Obviously, the game situations are always your best test but we try to rush and have the rush around him and those kind of things and have him punt with pressure around him and just different situations, the pooch punts and those kind of things,” Mennenga said. “He’s been hitting the ball very consistently with his handle times and his operation times have been very, very consistent and just the ball leaving his foot, his direction.”
With so few punts from Scott, Mennenga said he focuses on how Scott is handling his fundamentals in practice, monitoring if his get-off times and hang times are consistent.
“Those are the things you can still see, is how is he hitting the ball and the distance, the hang time, the direction, all those things,” he said. “And the pooch area, is he getting the ball inside that 10-yard line and giving the gunners a chance with his hang time and his location to give them a chance to down the ball?
“He’s been doing that consistently in practice.”
King, Ervin miss padded practice
The bye week did Davante Adams (hamstring), Kenny Clark (groin) and Rashan Gary (ankle) some good but starting cornerback Kevin King (quadriceps) and kick returner/running back Tyler Ervin (wrist) missed Thursday’s padded practice and third session of the week overall.
King was seen working on his own in the Don Hutson Center, however. He has not missed a game since Dec. 8, 2019, against Washington.
Defensive lineman Montravius Adams was added to the injury report with a neck injury, and he did not participate Thursday. Tight end Marcedes Lewis, who is returning from a knee injury that shelved him against Atlanta and practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday, did not practice Thursday.
Linebacker Krys Barnes, who exited the Atlanta game early, was sporting a shoulder harness and was upgraded to a full participant, along with cornerback Jaire Alexander (hand/knee).
Rodgers vs. Winfield part II
Aaron Rodgers smiled when breaking down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense, particularly the secondary.
“They're a little younger on the back end. I believe one of those guys, I might've played against his dad at one point, which is interesting,” the Packers’ quarterback said. “I remember that name from the battles that we had.”
He was referencing Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and his father.
Winfield Jr. is a 22-year-old rookie out of the University of Minnesota who has two sacks and a forced fumble. He’s a 5-foot, 9-inch, 203-pound safety who can run a 4.46-second 40-yard dash.
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His father, Antoine Winfield Sr., was a 5-9, 189-pound corner who ran a 4.41-second 40 and played 14 years in the NFL, including nine in Minnesota. He faced Rodgers and the Packers eight times. Winfield Sr. had an interception off Rodgers, too, in a 30-23 Vikings’ victory on Oct. 5, 2009. Winfield Sr. also had 10 tackles and a pass breakup that day.
“A ton of respect for his dad, what a great, great player, one of the toughest guys I've played against, so it'll be fun to go against (Winfield Jr.),” Rodgers said. “I think that might be a first for me, a good reminder that in this league, the years get on you pretty fast.”
Martin, St. Brown on deck
Rookie inside linebacker Kamal Martin, a fifth-round selection out of Minnesota, looked to be in position to start alongside Christian Kirksey before a knee injury late in camp required surgery and sent him to injured reserve. He began practicing this week, along with wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, and both are eligible to return to the active roster as soon as the Packers clear them to.
St. Brown and Martin have participated in each practice this week. The club must make a decision on their status by Nov. 1.
The Packers have three open spots on their 53-person roster.
“I think it’s just one of those things that we’re going to take one day at a time, you know, give ’em work each day and just see how their body responds,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said. “A lot of time there is a lot of unknown in terms of just how you respond to a practice. So there’ll be some limitations for ’em, but for the most part we’re going to try to continue to progress them each and every day.”
St. Brown, a fifth-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2018, had an uneven training camp that included some missed time with an undisclosed injury, but made the final roster. He was a relatively surprising inactive Week 1 and then was listed with a knee injury before quickly being moved to IR.
The 24-year-old missed all of 2019 due to an ankle injury suffered in the preseason. He caught 21 passes for 328 yards as a rookie in 2018.