For almost three weeks now, the Green Bay Packers have wondered who would return kicks and punts. It was a question that head coach Mike McCarthy had to answer and was a question he really didn’t have a direct answer for.
McCarthy told reporters last week before the Baltimore Ravens game that the team would look at Randall Cobb, Micah Hyde and Johnathan Franklin. Both Cobb and Hyde had looks during the game but Hyde looked extremely explosive and demanded both kick off and punt return duties.
Hyde will be relied on the rest of the season. Cobb will miss several weeks with a fractured fibula and with Franklin having fumbling issues, Hyde will need to stay true to his game and show the Packers he can be their man.
In their game last week, Hyde showed signs that he can break tackles, hold onto the football and showed great vision as well. He totaled five punt returns and had an average of 13.66 yards per return. These types of return numbers should give Hyde a lot of confidence in himself. It is clear the organization has his back.
In a post-game interview, special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said of Hyde and the return game: “I thought we blocked them well on the three explosive gains, and I thought Micah was real decisive after he caught the ball. He got off the spot well and got vertical.”
Hyde is only a rookie and there are many things he can improve on. He must improve as a cornerback and prove that he can be someone Dom Capers can rely on to cover a receiver and he must also prove that he can keep the return job. For now, he has done everything he was expected to do and looks like a steal for the Packers.