Sunday, August 4, 2013

Kicking Situation a Serious Problem

By: Matt Bove

Mason Crosby put his job in jeopardy after an egregious performance at the Packers Family Night Scrimmage on Saturday.

Crosby converted on just 3-of-8 field goals, while his competitor, first-year kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, made 6-of-7.

Crosby, who converted on just 21 of 33 field goal attempts in the regular season last year, started off his evening by missing a 48-yard field goal that bounced off the right upright and then came back to make a 40-yarder.

During the field goal kicking period, Crosby missed from 37 yards, missed wide right from 53 yards, missed wide right from 33 yards and missed wide left from 43 yards. He made kicks from 47 and 51 yards.

Meanwhile, while Tavecchio was very accurate, he did not show off a strong leg. His makes from 51 and 53 yards barely made it, with his kick from 53 yards hitting the crossbar and going over.

In perfect summer conditions it is not good that Tavecchio struggled to reach on those distances. In December and January when the tundra is frozen at Lambeau Field, Tavecchio might really struggle to have enough distance on long field goals.

Ted Thompson made a big mistake not signing a veteran kicker or drafting a rookie to compete with Crosby. Crosby should have been cut last year, regardless of the dead cap money. You cannot allow a kicker to derail what could be a great team. Players and coaches work too hard and invest too much to lose games or a season because of a kicker.

In today's NFL, most teams have kickers who hill hit at least 80% of their kicks and have range that extends at least to 55 yards. The Packers were very lucky to be able to work around a kicker who only hit 63.6% of his field goals last year. They should not test their luck twice.

At the very least Mike McCarthy finally seemed upset with Crosby after last night. McCarthy was very supportive of Crosby during his struggles in the regular season last year, but was singing a different tune last night.

"Well, Mason Crosby is competing for a job on this football team, like everyone else. He definitely didn't take a step in the right direction with his performance,"McCarthy told ESPN Milwaukee's Jason Wilde. "That's what Family Night's for. He''ll be evaluated. He's definitely got to do better than that because that's not going to cut it."

At this point it is clear that Crosby is fried mentally. He has the ability to be a solid kicker, but a big part of kicking is the mental aspect. Once a kicker loses himself mentally it is very hard to get it back. If Crosby cannot even handle an intra-squad scrimmage in front of his own fans, how will he handle making a big kick in a tough environment on the road?

Neither Crosby or Tavecchio should be the Packers' kicker this season. Since Thompson neglected his issue in the offseason, he should sign somebody that is cut from another camp or is on the street. Such a small thing like kicking should not be allowed to derail the Packers' season.

No comments:

Post a Comment