GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Over the next couple of weeks, we will take a look at 10 returning members of the Green Bay Packers who need to take their game to another level this season.
Next up is punter Tim Masthay.
Why he needs to step up: Last season, Masthay finished with a career-low 37.0-yard net punting averaging, and it was largely because of a miserable second half of the season. Over the last eight games, he averaged just 32.95 net yards per punt, which ranked 31st in the league in that stretch, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It probably didn't help that Masthay had two games last season in which he didn't have to punt at all, making it difficult for him to get into a rhythm. Also, the late-season cold weather in Green Bay always lowers kicking statistics. Nevertheless, his performance was not up to his usual standards.
What he has to do: For starters, he's going to have to beat out Cody Mandell this preseason. It's the first time since he won the job in 2010 that the Packers have had a second punter on their offseason reason.
Outlook: Given the way Masthay kicked the ball during the offseason practices that were open to the media, it looks like his slump from last season is largely behind him. It would be a surprise if he did not win the job again. If Masthay responds to the competition like kicker Mason Crosby did in 2013, when the Packers brought in Giorgio Tavecchio to compete for the job, then look for him to bounce back with a strong season.
Quotable: "I'll say this: I'm disappointed about the second half of last year," Masthay said this offseason. "The second half was not good enough. I feel terrible about that. Performing well is always something I want really, really badly. I feel like I owe the organization. I was very disappointed about the second half of last season. That said, I feel really good moving forward. I feel really good right now."