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Starter Pack: Frustration 'extremely high' over blocked kicks

12/30/2014

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GREEN BAY, Wis. – If five blocked kicks was "unacceptable" to Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum, imagine where his frustration level is now that they've had two more rejected.

"Extremely high," Slocum said Monday, one day after the Packers had their seventh kick blocked this season.

The latest was a 52-yard field goal attempt by Mason Crosby in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 30-20 win over the Detroit Lions. At the time of the block, the Packers led by only a touchdown.

"Our left wing needs to do a better job there," Slocum said.

He was referring to tight end Andrew Quarless, who was lined up on the far left side of the formation and let Lions safety Isa Abdul-Quddus blow right past him.

"It’s disappointing," Slocum added. "We've spent a lot of time, because we've had some problems this season in our placement protection. We've devoted the necessary time in practice. We were very good in the previous game. We were good inside in that ball game. That was a critical play in the game and our accountability needs to pick up there."

It was the third time Crosby has had a field goal blocked this season to go along with two blocked extra points. Tim Masthay also had two punts blocked this season. And the issues haven't been with the kicks.

The problems earlier in the season were mostly on the interior of the protection unit, where the special teams played without starting guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang for part of the season. The Packers took them off the field goal/extra point team after their Week 8 injuries even though they remained in their regular roles on offense. Only Lang has returned to special teams.

"We've gotten exposed, obviously," long snapper Brett Goode said. "We'd solved it on the inside, and now it's trickled to the outside. We've just got to get it together. Everybody's got to do their job."

It wasn't all rotten on special teams against the Lions. Micah Hyde returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown. It was his second one of the season and third of his two-year career, tying Desmond Howard and Will Blackmon for the team’s career record.

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