Packers XLV

On Stickin' with Missin' Crosby

Posted December 19th, 2012 @ 03:12pm

Mason Crosby does a lot of things well. His kickoffs go deep. He's a willing tackler. He can boot an effective on sides kick. And he's 39 for 39 on extra points.

He is a proven, veteran kicker who's paid among the kicking elite in the NFL because he has answered the call for years on a winning team that has asked him to step out there in ultimate pressure situations.

But the Packers should have cut him loose on Monday.

I don't say that lightly. There is something to be said for loyalty, for standing behind a player when he's going through a rough time. It's not like all-pro kickers are hanging out playing cards, cell phones at the ready.

But Crosby has clearly lost all confidence in his ability to kick field goals and the Packers are getting ready for the playoffs, with a fifth Lombardi trophy in their sights. The NFC is loaded with physical, defense-oriented teams (SF, Seattle) and balanced offensive machines (Atlanta, New York). The Packers will no doubt need Crosby to step in in a big moment (or several) and nobody on this planet, except maybe Mason's mom, will have a shred of confidence that he'll make the kick.

He's 17-29 this season. That's a tick over 58%. The next least efficient kicker is the Niners' David Akers at 71%. Akers' coach, Jim Harbaugh, is said to be losing patience and mulling bringing in some competition. Akers is also a seasoned veteran, but he's been dealing with an injury so there's an explanation for some of his struggles. Crosby is healthy, as far as anyone knows.

He was no doubt halfway out the door during the Vikings game, when he missed field goals and then booted the second half kickoff out of bounds. But he rallied to make a couple and his coaches stood firmly behind him.

The two misses from the low 40s at Soldier Field on Sunday should be the last straw. If he were an offensive lineman playing at this level he would be on the bench. The same  could be said for just every other position. The problem is, teams only carry one kicker. There is clearly hesitation to bring in a new guy in late December and get him up to speed in their system.

But they should do it. Find a guy like Nate Kaeding, Neil Rackers or the ageless John Kasay to finish out the season. Maybe they'd be hurting their kickoff unit a bit if the guy can't kick as many touchbacks as Crosby. But let the defense handle that.

Imagine the Pack in a dogfight with RGIII and the 'Skins at Lambeau on wildcard weekend. Down one, Rodgers brings the Pack to the 26 with three seconds left and out trots Crosby to kick a 43 yarder to win and move on to the divisional weekend.

See what I mean?

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Comments (10):

You hit it right on the head Trashman, keep crosby, and let him kickoff and try long field goals over 50 yards right before the half with little time left., even though he has been bad this year, he may get lucky, longwell or kasey will not reach it. the guy, I would love to see them check out Josh Brown, he used to kick for the rams, but Zuerlin beat him out. he has long leg and was about 80% kicker. kaeding missed alot of kicks in playoffs for the chargers over the years, look it up, but was great in season kicking. maybe by bringing in someone in to compete he may break out of it and stop thinking about missing and start focusing on not losing his job. it's all in his head, look how he kicked thru there playoff run, I think he may of missed 1 kick if that. keep him, and bring in another kicker, and if he does not snap out of it next year then cut him. but, u are right Dave, if he misses a game winner as u set up, how does mm face 12, 52, 63, 79, and the rest when he always preaches u must do your job, or u will be replaced. u have to give up your pride and do what is best for the team. go pack

on December 19th, 2012 at 01:21pm

I like Crosby, but I have to agree. We need a guy who is money from 40 yards in the playoffs. Some more context: there are only 8 kickers this season (including the out-of-work Billy Cundiff) who are below an 80% made/attempted rate.

on December 19th, 2012 at 07:43pm

This is just insanity. I stated my case in the previous posting, so I'm not going to belabor the point. If Crosby gets cut, that's it - he's gone. You can't stash him on IR with an "injury"; it's against league rules. All I'm going to add to this is just be careful of what you're asking for.

on December 19th, 2012 at 08:26pm

I am with you 100% on this one. I understand sticking by Crosby but this has gotten past that point. It is clear the McCarthy has lost confidence in Crosby during the games based on his recent decisions to go for it in questionable 4th down situations (and McCarthy's decision to try that long one early in the NYG game to somehow prove he still had confidence in Crosby). Crosby is affecting McCarthy's playcalling, plain and simple. I don't know that we want to "cut" Crosby but how about some kind of "injury" to put him on IR for the rest of the year and bring in somebody else? Or could we possibly afford to carry 2 kickers using Crosby for the deep kickoffs and somebody else for field goals? This was the week to do it so that the new guy had 2 weeks (hopefully 3 if we get the bye) to prepare. Losing a playoff game on a missed Crosby kick will hurt so bad that we will all forget about the painful Fail Mary loss.

on December 19th, 2012 at 12:22pm

voice, no one wants people to lose there job, but u are not going to tell me, it's not between his ears right now, watch him after kicks, he has hit the left upright 4 times this year, and if we lose to seattle the 1st playoff game, the team u want, by 2 points and crosby misses a 32 and 35 yard fg. u tell me u won't be pissed ? u have to perform simple as that. I didn't say cut him I said get another kicker for the under 40 yd. fg's. let just hope he hits 3 this week and gets his confidence back.

on December 20th, 2012 at 01:36pm

just found out my man, josh brown just signed with bengals last week and made both fg's he attempted. i do know a lilttle bit about players. he was taken over all the others that were mentioned. i would love kasey here.but he is left footed and may screw up mastay on holding, so it comes down to longwell and rackers I guess. Merry Christmas everyone, see ya in the playoffs.

on December 20th, 2012 at 01:45pm

I get it. Its a bad situation. Ok, maybe horrible. I'm still hesitant to change. MM is not going to lose the locker room over the kicker, so I don't think the "loyalty" card really has much stick. This whole situation might force MM to be more aggressive with 4th downs near the 30. Statistically, it has been proven that going for it is the thing to do. There was a big article written about Oregon and how they did the research and it could change the NFL soon. I know coming away empty sucks, but 7 is still more than 3 (or 6 for that matter).

on December 20th, 2012 at 09:10am

MM has shown Crosby loyalty so the team wouldn't blame him, in fact, he'd gain their respect by letting Mason go showing mediocre won't cut it. At 58% anyone else would be an improvement. Go Pack!

on December 20th, 2012 at 12:37pm

Crosby has already cost the Packers one game this year; when he missed twice on field goal attempts in the fourth quarter at Indianapolis. That game, as much as the Fail Mary at Seattle, is responsible for the Packers' current playoff seeding difference between second and third. But I don't see any value in dumping Crosby now and brining in someone new at this late date. If there's any one out there better than MC right now why aren't they already employed in the NFL? Although they won't say publicly what the issues are I presume McCarthy, special team coach Slocum and Crosby are sufficiently versed in the art of placekicking to know what the problem is and how to fix it. Better the devil you know than the one you don't. The Packers will stick with Crosby but if his struggles continue and he blows it for the Pack in January they will be looking for someone else for 2013.

on December 21st, 2012 at 08:48pm

Dave, Your last paragraph made me groan- that is my nightmare right now.... I want to keep Crosby for next year- pick up another kicker, it feels like anyone would be better right now.

on December 21st, 2012 at 10:13am

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