ORLANDO, Fla. -- At about this time last year, Green Bay officials were noting how excited they were about the pair of young punters on their roster. The ensuing competition put their 2009 punting duties on the foot of Jeremy Kapinos, whose performance left coach Mike McCarthy speaking Monday about how excited he is with the two new punters on the Packers roster.
So should we expect anything better from a looming 2010 battle between Tim Masthay and Chris Bryan?
McCarthy spoke with both realism and confidence about the ongoing attempt to replace Jon Ryan, whom the Packers surprisingly released before the 2009 season.
"A young punter in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is a challenge," McCarthy said. "We'll get that on the record. I get that part. But we've been the youngest team in the league for four years. So I think we've accepted the challenge and I don't see this any differently.
"I like the two guys that we have in camp. ... I think these guys are as talented as Jon Ryan. I think they're definitely that caliber as far as pure ability to punt the football."
There are no guarantees that Masthay and Bryan will be the two punters the Packers bring to training camp. Masthay spent a brief time with Indianapolis last summer but was waived before the Colts' first preseason game. Bryan spent the past five years playing Australian rules football.
But the Packers' philosophical aversion to signing veteran free agents dictates they find a punter either through those means or via the draft. The situation remains fluid, but it appears the Packers will spend at least part of the spring evaluating their newest pair of young punters.