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Packers new punter Jake Schum passes first test

If Jake Schum was on a one-game tryout with the Green Bay Packers, then the second-year punter should have earned another week.

They could always dump him without any lingering costs because as a non-vested player, his salary isn’t guaranteed even if he’s on the roster for Week 1. But if his debut in Thursday’s preseason finale at Kansas City was any indication, then he should plan on sticking around.

Two days after the Packers claimed him off waivers and cut their punter of the last six years, Tim Masthay, Schum averaged 45.5 yards (gross) and 41.3 yards (net) on eight punts against the Chiefs. He placed three inside the 20 and nearly had another, but the Packers failed to down a 57-yard boot that bounced a couple of times before it rolled into the end zone for his only touchback of the night.

His eight punts averaged 4.61 seconds of hang time. Two hung for more than 5 seconds and a third was at 4.95.

“I thought he did a lot of good things,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters after the game. “Really, Jacob, for being with us for two days, punted well at practice yesterday and I thought he continued that tonight. Most important, I think the ball placement outside the numbers was what we were looking for, and he accomplished that.”

His numbers against the Chiefs were better than his averages with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, when his gross was 41.9 and his net 38.0. The Buccaneers released him earlier this week after they decided to go with Bryan Anger.

“Every day is a tryout,” Schum told reporters after the game. “I just have to go out and perform. You’re expected to do your job and practice what we do every single day. You have to have that same mindset and perform under the lights.”

He arrived in Green Bay late Tuesday night and went through one, brief practice with the Packers on Wednesday before the team flew to Kansas City. He barely had time to review the coverage schemes with special teams coordinator Ron Zook.

“Obviously you want to punt left or right and just keep it away from the returner,” Schum said. “I kind of want my directions a little better. I thought it was a pretty good start. The coverage team was awesome. [Long snapper Rick] Lovato gave me some great snaps, and we got down there and made some nice plays. What you’re expected to do as a punter is change field position and get good directional hang time distance. That’s what I expect every day.”