Time for Packers to 'Get Shorty' in kick return game
Stephen O'Brien, Packers contributor
Wide receiver Jeremy Ross.Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
It is a well know fact that Ted Thompson’s goal in recent times is to add big, imposing, tall players to the Packers roster.
According to an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson and Coach Mike McCarthy wants the opposition to look at the Packers players and be intimidated.
This policy is great when you have two burly formations facing each other in the scrimmage, but the question is: do the Packers need to get a small guy?
The Packers are looking for a return guy since they cut Jeremy Ross.
Costly fumbles on special teams led to McCarthy losing patience with Ross and his NFL tenure ended soon after his costly fumble against the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that was beaten by the Cleveland Browns this weekend.
Ross was not a small man, standing at 6 feet tall and weighing in at 215 lbs. He could have been an elusive returner had he done his job on several occasions, but it was the fundamental of catching the ball that Ross never truly mastered.
That said, with huge success being seen with returners who are smaller in stature, should the Packers look to get a small returner for the roster?
Arguably the most explosive and dangerous special teamer in the NFL today is Trindon Holliday.
The Denver Broncos have been devastating this season already with Manning smashing at least one NFL record with each passing game and with Holliday running in TD's on returns, Denver is lethal.
Holliday is an NFL record holder for his postseason heroics against the Baltimore Ravens last year when he returned a kickoff for 104 yards and a punt return in the same game. He had an incredible 256 combined punt/kick return yards.
One more unique and astonishing thing about Holliday? He is only 5 feet five inches.
Holliday uses his size the way Chicago Bears returner Devin Hester does. Hester is considerably taller than Holliday but at 5'11" is still considerably smaller than his team mates.
Hester holds the record for the most kick/punt return TDs with 18.
More often than not at this level, a diminutive stature equates to increased quickness, cutability and elusiveness due to size.
When you have a 6'5" special teamer blocking your view and your body from a zippy little return specialist, it is incredibly difficult to bring him down or even get to him.
The Packers are currently looking at a few punt/kick returners for the role.
I think that there is huge merit in looking at a player who can use speed and shortness to their advantage as opposed to size and bulk.
After all, on a punt/kick return, it is important to evade contact and not look to do too much strong arming.
A good return is about speed and inviting any contact slows motion and allows the Defense to re-adjust and spot where the returner is going. Ted needs to "Get Shorty."