Possible Replacements for Shawn Mennenga

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Being a coach in the NFL is an ever-changing profession. The days of having a long tenure as a head and especially an assistant coach is long gone. The Green Bay Packers are a rare NFL franchise when it comes to coaching longevity. While they aren’t in the category of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they do favor loyalty to their coaching staff. Still, changes do occur at times on their staff. That was the case when it was announced that they had parted ways with special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga.

Five Potential Replacements for Shawn Mennenga

The news of head coach Matt LaFleur firing Shawn Mennenga isn’t much of a surprise. The Packers special teams unit has failed to contribute, in a positive manner, during Mennenga’s tenure. Hired in 2019 after he was recommended by Mike Pettine, who also finds himself on the hot seat, the Packers special teams have failed to contribute under Mennenga’s watch.

This past season the Packers ranked 29th on Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings. The Packers punt and kickoff coverage this season were downright awful. Punter JK Scott, who general manager Brian Gutekunst used a fifth-round pick on in 2018, struggled this season. For the second season in a row, he suffered an in-season slump. Long snapper Hunter Bradley, who Gutekunst drafted in the seventh round in 2018, also had his struggles. If not for the strong season of veteran kicker Mason Crosby, this unit would have given the Los Angeles Chargers a run for their money for the worst special teams unit in the NFL.

Bad special teams coordinators aren’t anything new to the Packers. Before Shawn Mennenga, Ron Zook and Shawn Slocum both made names for themselves with coaching failed special teams units. The firing of Mennenga will be the second assistant that LaFleur has fired during his tenure. Last season he fired wide receivers coach Alvin Whitted. The special teams need a jolt and LaFleur will need to pick the right person to right the ship.

Here is a list of possible candidates to replace the now-departed Shawn Mennenga.

Maurice Drayton

Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com tweeted out that there is a strong chance that the Packers promote within the coaching staff to replace Shawn Mennenga. It would be a curious decision, and one we feel would be a huge mistake. LaFleur would be better off finding someone outside the organization. With how poorly this unit has performed the past several seasons, it would make no sense to promote somebody who was affiliated with this unit.

However, if LaFleur foolishly decides to do this, Drayton would be the most likely option. Drayton fits the mold of LaFleur assistant coaches. He is young and has worked his way up the coaching circles. Still, not only was he an assistant for Mennenga, but he also was the assistant to Zook in Zook’s last season with the Packers. It makes you wonder if Drayton has any potential to turn this unit around, since he didn’t do so when he was an assistant under Zook and Mennenga.

Brayden Coombs

Coombs name was mentioned for the Packers special teams coordinator position that went to Shawn Mennenga prior to 2019.

He was an assistant special teams coach from 2012-2019 for the Cinncinati Bengals. In 2020, he was hired by former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia to oversee the Lions special teams.

Coombs held that position until late in 2020 until he was fired by interim Lions head coach Darrell Bevell. Coombs was fired by Bevell for running a fake punt that Bevell didn’t approve of.

Even with his case of going rogue, Coombs coordinated a very solid Lions special teams unit. The Lions finished third on Gosselin’s special teams rankings.  If LaFleur can move past Coombs history, he would be a good candidate to try to turn around the Packers special teams unit.

Anthony Blevins

Blevins is currently the assistant defensive backs coach for New York Giants. However, he has experience working with the special teams.

Before moving over to assist with the defensive backs, he was an assistant special teams coach for the Giants from 2018-2019. From 2013-2017, he was an assistant special teams coach for the Arizona Cardinals.

He recently interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings for their special teams coordinator position.

Frank Ross

The Indianapolis Colts finished fourth in Gosselin’s special teams ranking this season. Their top assistant to special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone is Ross.

Ross has an interesting background. He spent several seasons in the New England Patriots player personnel department. He then moved on to the field spending a couple of seasons at his alma mater John Carroll University before moving on to the Colts.

Matt Daniels

When you talk about top special teams coordinators one of the first names to come to mind is John Fassel. Fassel was the long-time special teams coordinator for the Los Angels Rams before coming over to the Dallas Cowboys. His top assistant is Matt Daniels, who played under Fassel when he was a player with the Rams.

While the Cowboys struggled this season, their special teams unit was a lone bright spot. Under Fassel and Daniels watch, the Cowboys finished 11th in Gosselin’s special teams rankings.  Getting Fassel’s top assistant, might be a great hire of LaFleur and the Packers.