May 20, 2022

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First key personnel move on special teams was…

2 min read
First key personnel move on special teams was...

GREEN BAY – Mason Crosby is already getting to know his new holder pretty well.

That’s because the Packers’ new punter, and the veteran kicker’s new holder, is living in Crosby’s basement until his own home purchase is closed. Pat O’Donnell was signed in free agency to be the Packers’ third punter in the last three seasons, a proven pro with a cold-weather pedigree following eight years in Chicago, and a track record as a consistent, successful holder.

It makes O’Donnell the first key, personnel-wise, to new special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia turning around the Packers’ struggling third phase. Corey Bojorquez’s effectiveness as a punter waned as the season wore on last year, and his holding for Crosby was an issue all year long.

O’Donnell didn’t just arrive in Green Bay by happenstance, either. Four years ago, when Bisaccia first took over the Raiders’ special teams, he eyed bringing in O’Donnell then. It didn’t work out and O’Donnell stayed with the Bears for another four years.

“I heard some rumors in free agency,” O’Donnell said of the past. “Obviously, they went a different direction, but this league is crazy how we end up on the same team a couple years down the road. As soon as I found out they were interested and having an opportunity to reconnect with Rich, it was a no-brainer for me to come up here.”

The Packers have two other kickers on the roster in addition to Crosby, though General Manager Brian Gutekunst has indicated he wants an experienced veteran on a team he expects to be a contender. So it’s still Crosby’s job until further notice, with JJ Molson and Dominik Eberle battling for a backup spot this spring.