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Blackmon Appears to Have Edge in Punt Return Role


It appears as if the Packers have solved their punt return position, as 4th round draft choice Will Blackmon appears to have the inside trak on the spot. Charles Woodson, who returned punts with the Packers in 2006, says he has no problem with the rookie taking that position from him. “I had fun with it,” Woodson said. “If somebody else is capable of doing it and can get it done, who am I to disagree? I did most of it last year and it was fun. But I took a beating back there. We’re going to need some guys back there that can share the load. It’s good to have that.”

Last season Woodson returned 41 punts, averaging 8.9 per return, good for 19th in the league. Blackmon grabbed the punt return role with a steady training camp, and showed some flash last week returning a punt vs the Steelers, despite the fact that he went for minus four yards. What impressed the Pack though was the fact he broke four tackles, and it appears that the 202 pounder is going to be tough to bring down once he gets the wheels going.

Greg Jennings and Shaun Bodiford both also got chances to return punts, but neither did all that great. On Jennings’ return he let the ball bounce, which made special teams coach Mike Stock none too happy. “We lost 10, 12 yards on the play,” Stock said. “That shouldn’t happen. We blocked the heck out of the gunner and blocked the wing back, and he had a clear chance to pick up the football and had the chance to come up the field for 10 or 12 yards himself. You can’t do that.”

So expect to see more of Blackmon and what he can do back there returning kicks. If he can continue to break tackles and make things happen, by the final preseason game the job may be his to keep.

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