Bills' Marcus Thigpen, front right, runs away from Green Bay
Packers' Tim Masthay (8) and Jarrett Boykin for a touchdown
during a punt return in the first half of an NFL football game
Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y.
GREEN BAY — Tim
Masthay is ready for a fresh start in the playoffs.
improvement, the Green Bay Packers' fifth-year punter had his
statistics dip for the first time this season — the result of a
rough second half after putting up career-best numbers during the
Masthay averaged 44.1
gross and 37.0 net yards per punt on the season, struggling to get in
a rhythm during a season where his workload was limited by NFL's
"It's been kind
of a frustrating year for me because the first half of the year went
very well, and the second half of the year has not gone very well at
all," said Masthay, who finished the regular season having punted
a career-low 49 times, the fewest in team history for a 16-game
regular season's over and it's time to clean-sheet it and make a
little run here in the playoffs."
Since taking over as
the team's punter in 2010, Masthay's net average had improved every
year — from 37.6 in 2010 to 38.6 in 2011 to 38.9 in 2012 to 39.0
last season, breaking the team record for net average each of those
This season, not only
did Masthay have his worst net average, he also had his lowest
inside-the-20 rate (14 of 49 punts, 28.6 percent) and his highest
touchback rate (4 of 49, 8.2 percent).
During Sunday's 30-20
victory over Detroit in the regular-season finale, Masthay punted
three times, averaging 39.0 gross and 27.7 net yards, with one
touchback and one punt inside the 20.
"I think Tim
needs to punt better," special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum
said last week. "He needs to move forward and we've talked about
player, there's technique involved. That's always the challenge
regardless of the position that you play that you work on your
technique and you fine-tune it. And he's got some fine-tuning to
Masthay agrees, and
adds that his necessary fine-tuning may also be mental.
At midseason, Masthay
— the franchise's career leader in both career gross and net punting
average — was kicking as well as usual.
At the bye, he'd
punted 28 times and averaged 47.0 gross yards and 41.1 net yards per
punt, which would have both been career bests had he sustained that
pace. He also had placed nine balls inside the 20-yard line, an
inside-the-20 rate of 32.1 percent.
During the second
half of the season, Masthay punted 21 times, with disappointing
results. His averages were 40.1 gross and 31.5 net, including a
75-yard punt return for a touchdown by Buffalo's Marcus Thigpen on
"(I'm) not as
high on confidence as I have been in the past. I'd be flat-out lying
if I didn't say that," Masthay said. "(But) I've got a fair
amount of history of being able to punt well, and there's nothing
intimidating about the playoffs. I think if the second half of the
season would have occurred in my second year or even my third year, it
would be tougher to handle emotionally and to feel confident that I
could come back from it.
"I need to
regain some confidence, I need to perform better in the playoffs, but
it's not something that I'm worried about. I don't, it's just not
something I'm worried about. I expect to do it. Will it happen?
There's no guarantees. I don't know it's going to happen. But I'm
certainly hopeful it'll happen, I expect it to happen, and I'm just
not worried about it. I'm confident in what I've done in the
NOTES: For the second
straight day, quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not take part in practice,
instead getting treatment on his injured left calf. Rodgers is
expected to return to practice on Thursday. . Wide receiver Jordy
Nelson missed another practice due to what the team termed a
"personal matter," although he came through the locker room
with his son and later had a workout. ... Inside linebacker Sam
Barrington, who did not practice on Friday due to illness, was back to