Packers fire special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers have fired special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga after two seasons, a source confirmed Wednesday to PackersNews.
The status of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was uncertain. Pettine is not under contract beyond the 2020 season, a source said. Most coaches agree to rollovers each year so they’re always in two-year deals.
Head coach Matt LaFleur hired Mennenga as special teams coordinator in 2019 as the successor to the fired Ron Zook.
While LaFleur could seek an external candidate to replace Mennenga, he may also consider promoting assistant special teams coach Maurice Drayton. Drayton joined the Packers in 2018 after spending the 2016-17 seasons as a special teams assistant with the Indianapolis Colts.
Longtime NFL reporter Rick Gosselin, who has compiled special-teams rankings annually for the last 42 years, gave a 26th-place rating (out of 32 teams) to Mennenga’s unit in 2019 and a 29th-place rating in 2020.
The Packers finished last in kickoff returns (18.9 yards) and punt coverage (17.1 yards) in 2020. They finished third in penalties (six) and 30th in punt returns (4.8 yards).
Additionally, over the last nine games of the regular season and through the postseason, the Packers’ special teams units:
- Lost a fumbled punt return at Chicago.
- Allowed a blocked field goal (called back by a phantom penalty) vs. Tennessee.
- Allowed a 71-yard kickoff return at Detroit.
- Allowed a 73-yard punt-return touchdown, a 46-yard kickoff return and had a missed extra point vs. Philadelphia.
- Missed an extra point vs. Chicago.
- Lost a fumbled kickoff at Indianapolis.
- Allowed a 91-yard punt return TD vs. Jacksonville.
- Botched an extra-point attempt against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC divisional playoffs that led to kicker Mason Crosby injuring his shoulder.
- Allowed a 46-yard punt return vs. Tampa Bay in the NFC championship game.
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Other errors, such as a blocked punt at Houston, reflected poorly on the group’s performance in 2020.
Before joining the Packers, Mennenga was an assistant special teams coach for the Cleveland Browns from 2011-17. In 2018, Mennenga was the special teams coordinator at Vanderbilt.
The NFL Network first reported the news of Mennenga's firing.