4

August

It’s Time For The Packers To Part Ways With Mason Crosby

Mason Crosby may have just kicked himself out the door at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.

When the Green Bay Packers signed Giorgio Tavecchio to “compete” with Mason Crosby for the starting kicker job, Packers fans everywhere chuckled.

There was no way Tavecchio, an undrafted free agent in 2012 cut by the 49ers, would unseat Green Bay’s long-time incumbent kicker right? This was just a move by general manager Ted Thompson to appease those calling for Crosby’s head after a poor 2012. It had to be.

Well, that very well may have been Thompson’s mindset in March when Tavecchio was brought on board but it’s not anymore.  Thanks to a poor showing by Crosby in the team’s annual Family Night scrimmage (3-8 overall) and a solid night by Tavecchio (6-7 overall), the kicking competition is serious, and don’t call it Shirley.

Everyone hoped Crosby’s 2012 struggles were behind him and the early news from training camp looked promising.  Things went right back downhill during Family Night however and the frustrated look on Crosby’s face Saturday night didn’t exactly inspire confidence in the veteran.  It is clear Crosby’s confidence has been on thin ice since last season ended and it’s beginning to break before the first preseason game.

Further proof that the vultures may be circling over Crosby was the comment coach Mike McCarthy made about his kicker after the scrimmage. In short, he wasn’t pleased.  McCarthy said that Crosby “definitely didn’t take a step in the right direction” and that “he’s definitely got to do better than that because that’s not going to cut it.”

That’s quite the change from the defiant McCarthy who stood firmly behind his kicker last season despite some serious accuracy problems.

What did Crosby think of his performance? Well, he said he was “way past” his issues from last year and that he’s “just working on things.”  Not exactly a ringing self-endorsement. In Crosby’s defense, he did say he knows his performance in the scrimmage was “unacceptable and I have to do better.”

So where do (or should) the Packers go from here?

It’s time to cut the cord with Crosby.  With as much time between the end of last season and training camp, Crosby should have had enough time to exorcise the mental demons that were plaguing him in 2012 and come back strong in 2013.

For whatever reason, it didn’t happen and the Packers can ill afford a repeat of last season from their kicker.  With a much tougher schedule in 2013, Green Bay will likely be in for a fair amount of close games that could very well come down to a field goal attempt.  That could possibly be the difference between the team making the playoffs and sitting at home.  You just don’t know what to expect in today’s NFL.  A contender in August could be a pretender in December.

Does anyone have confidence that Crosby is the guy for that kind of situation?  Anyone? Bueller?

Just because Crosby could be thrown to the curb doesn’t make Tavecchio the new starter by default, however.  His leg strength remains a concern and if the Packers do go with the Italian as their kicker, it could very well mean punter Tim Masthay would handle kickoff duties.  It’s not exactly an ideal situation.

Therefore, Thompson should do what he should have done in the first place: bring in a legitimate veteran to compete for the job.   Keep in mind this isn’t necessarily to challenge Crosby.  He could be cut and the veteran could face off against Tavecchio.  Handling the kicking competition “Gong Show” style is the way the Packers might have to do this.

It’s admirable to stand by your players until the bitter end, but Thompson has to swallow his pride and cut Crosby loose.  Fans (and probably coaches and players too) will be holding their breath every time Crosby lines up to kick a field goal and nothing can change that now, especially in light of tonight’s performance.  Crosby could have a perfect preseason and that probably won’t be enough to scare off the ghosts of 2012.

Olindo Mare is still available.  While he may be 40 and have lost some strength in his leg, he won’t have nearly the mental baggage that Crosby has right now.  Kicking, perhaps more than any position in football, is as much mental as it is physical and a successful kicker has their head on straight.

That’s not Crosby right now and nothing he can say can change that fact.

This isn’t to say the Packers need Mare specifically.  There are many good veteran kickers that are free agents right now.  Any one of them at this point would be an improvement over Crosby.   Tavecchio may even end up being the best option for the Packers when it’s all said and done.

Thompson has got to pull the trigger here.  He won’t be able to live with himself if Crosby doinks a kick in December and it keeps his team out of the postseason.  It shouldn’t take that kind of heartbreak to force the general manager’s hand.  There’s probably nothing to worry about on that front, however. If McCarthy is losing patience with Crosby, Thompson likely isn’t far behind.

Crosby should be thanked and appreciated for his years of service to the Packers, but the time has come to close the chapter on this era.  Letting him go would be the best thing for both Green Bay and Crosby. It would allow the kicker to hit the reset button in his head and hopefully get out of his slump while the Packers would get a much needed boost at the position.

The time has come.  Crosby has got to go.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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---- Get AddToAny

35 Responses to “It’s Time For The Packers To Part Ways With Mason Crosby”

  1. Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

    I don’t think I can handle another year with Crosby after last night.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  2. nick perry says:

    All summer long I was begging for the Packers to sign Lawrence Tynes, another FA kicker, or draft Either the Florida or Florida St. kicker. Anyone other than Crosby. This is a championship caliber football team without a doubt. The time is now, yet we continue to F around with a kicker that has missed 8, 7, 9, 6, and 4 FG attempts in his previous years in the NFL, and that’s all BEFORE last years debacle. It’s admirable that M.M. is trying to give Crosby a chance to redeem himself after last season. Personally I believe that there’s not another coach in the NFL that would have stuck with Crosby through last year. We have the best QB in football, which gives a chance to be great every season. We went out and drafted not one but two of the best RB in this years draft. The Green Bay Packers are built to win now and in the future yet continue to play around with Crosby. It’s time to stop, cut our losses with Crosby. 3 for 8 on family night no less isn’t going to cut it. Another year of passing on 42 yard FG attempts because going for it on 4th and 8 seems like a better option than Crosby, isn’t fair to the other 52 players and coaches that have been held accountable for their play. It’s time for Thompson to bring in some other kickers. If this Tavecchio is really the answer then fine. The time is now for Ted T. to go get the best kickers he can find, at least one or two others and start a competition. Forget about the cap hit Crosby will have. This guy missed 5 FG attempts at a family night scrimmage. For a Head Coach that preaches accountability, he needs to start with himself and whats fair to the other 52 players watching Crosby miss, miss, and miss again.

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      “there’s not another coach in the NFL that would have stuck with Crosby through last year”

      100% correct.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 4

      • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

        McCarthy can be stubborn to a fault at times, Crosby being the most recent example. 3rd and 1 FB Dive? Hasn’t worked in awhile yet it is still in the playbook.

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      • nick perry says:

        My point is this Al, while it’s admirable that M.M. stuck with Crosby last year, after last nights performance do you feel confident in Crosby heading into the season. Week one, the score is tied and Rodgers leads the Packers down the field for a game winning 42 yard FG attempt with 3 seconds left on the clock. Do you want Mason Crosby kicking that FG after last season, and missing 5 in a family night scrimmage?? Accountability, we hear it all the time from McCarthy. There can’t be exceptions, especially with a kicker struggling this badly. It just sends a mixed message and that will blow up in your face eventually.

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  3. Savage57 says:

    Crosby needs to ask the Packers to go and get him a goal post where the uprights are mounted about 3 yards apart.

    Start at the 10 yard line and hit 10 for 10. Then when you can do that, line up on the 20. Repeat all the way back to the 40. Then when he has that target narrowed down, the full size uprights are going to look like a gaping bucket.

    Or maybe the brain trash rattling around in his head has just gotten so full he’s lost it and needs to go.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  4. NYPACKER says:

    Crosby is done, stick a fork in him. However, I fear Tavecchio doesn’t have the leg to kick in adverse conditions. I agree with “nick perry”, cut Crosby & bring in someone to compete with Giorgio NOW.

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  5. Manitou says:

    Even in his best seasons, Crosby was average at best when compared other NFL kickers.

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  6. BobBrews says:

    I have given Crosby the benefit of the doubt for last year because of his great year preceding that. However he is practicing well but the “pressure?” of family night has shown that he has a mental problem with game time situations. That is when you have to release him so that he can (and will) regain his composure with someone else!

    The “Stallion Italian” Can hardly make the 53 yards in perfect weather. What will he do in 11 degrees with a concrete ball at 53 yards? My bet is that he will be sitting on the bench watching the packers punt!

    I am all for having someones back and sticking with him in bad times but their is time to look out for the greater good and let “Mason go Chasing” his dream somewhere else.

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    • Lars1 says:

      Crosby can’t make those kicks either. He either shanks them wildly, dings them off the upright or some other such nonsense.

      I’d rather have an ACCURATE kicker from 45-in than a guy with Crosby’s supposed leg, who hits at a 63% clip. That may not be Tavecchio (who IMO was never meant to be serious competition to MC) but somebody else.

      The Packers are incredibly stubborn in admitting re-signing mistakes and Crosby is one of the biggest. TT needs to let his ego/pride go and cut bait.

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    • Elle says:

      This is exactly how I feel. His statistics were trending upward in the same way as some other good veteran kickers but last year (and now this year) prove that it’s not just a funk that he’s in.

      He’s lost his “swing” and he needs to go. We can’t experiment on him any longer. An adequate kicker beats a bad kicker with “potential”.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    I just completed my dissertation in music performance anxiety. My research has taught me the meaning of the mental processes called the “reinvestment theory” and the “Constrained Motor Action.”

    Thought it was relevant to our choking kicker.

    —-

    From the performer’s point of view, an internal focus falls under the constrained motor action theory. In constrained motor action, subjects unsuccessfully attempt to consciously control their own motor skill process via consciously manipulating their body or mind to achieve. This occurs because the automatic motor control processes that would “normally” regulate the procedural movement are replaced by cognitive thought. Thus the action becomes less efficient, which leads to increased tension in the nervous system, slower response times to stimuli, and increased error rates in movement commands from the brain to the body.
    One common sports example of the ineffective nature of internally focused attention during autonomous execution is a basketball player thinking about the specific individual movements that go into a pressure packed free throw when those shooting movements have been thoroughly learned during thousands of hours of practice. The player goes through this arduous mental process time after time in order to “ensure” success, when his motor skills no longer need instruction in how to perform the shooting motion. This over-thinking phenomenon is called the “reinvestment theory”. The reinvestment theory states that internally focused execution slows down subconscious motor responses. This inefficiency is based on the expert’s previously gained knowledge of how to perform an action successfully, and it occurs because performers using reinvestment inevitably generate self-evaluation of whether their current standard of performance matches the standard of performance that they have as a goal.

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    • steve cheez says:

      That’s what I was going to say…

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      • Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

        lol. I know. Not too common to see academic-speak when referring to football.

        But in all seriousness, Crosby has a high level of “This is how to do it” cluttering around his brain right now, in a misguided attempt to “ensure” success.

        For a professional, that type of thinking during performance is only going to hurt him further.

        MM needs to do the right thing for Crosby’s mental health and for the Packers.

        Performance anxiety is beatable, but you need time away to beat it. Doing it while working is almost impossible. Maybe Crosby can come back with another team at a future point in his career and be successful. I hope so.

        But he needs to be given his walking papers for now.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

        • Ed Schoenfeld says:

          It might have been reasonable to think Crosby could ‘get it back together’ by taking his mind off kicking during the offseason.

          Looks like that did not happen.

          Can Masthay kick field goals?

          Ed

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

        • PatMc says:

          Performance anxiety is beatable, but you need time away to beat it.

          Are you saying Crosby needs a viagra before kicking?

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      Would love to see the whole dissertation if you can provide a copy, Bearmeat.

      I actually struggle with performance anxiety when playing my horn in solo or audition type situations. It’s been a struggle my entire playing career, and while it’s subsided as I’ve become more confident and proficient on horn, it still rears its ugly head every now and then.

      So yeah, I can definitely relate… and I totally understood your paragraph to boot. ;-)

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  8. redlights says:

    I don’t relish seeing #2 on opening day, but I’ve never seen anyone better at onside kicks, though.

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  9. Mojo says:

    One thing I did notice on Crosby’s kicks last night is that he is improving on preventing the knuckleball type kicks he was making last year. He had one for sure knuckler that went straight but was aimed outside the right goalpost. I don’t know if he tries to get cute by hitting fades or hooks or tries to gauge the wind speed too much.

    Overall his ball striking was better than last year, but his aim was way off. I would suggest to him to target the middle of the goal-posts and don’t worry about curving it in there. However, even if he did aim for the middle he looks totally lost on right-hash kicks. Brutal.

    As far as MM supporting him in the past, it makes sense if you don’t intend on cutting him. No need to add stress to a process that has such a large psychological component. But now Crosby is on a short-leash. The coaches and GM are probably given serious consideration to looking in a different direction but I think they’ll keep him going into the season unless he completely stinks it up in the pre-season. What’s different from last year is they’ll actually pull the plug when he shanks a few in the regular season.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Nick Perry says:

      I’m sorry mojo but if Crosby can’t do better than 37.5% in the friendly confines of Lambeau field in the summer from less than 40 yards on most of his misses, HE ISN’T EVER GOING TO GET IT!!!!! He’s getting worse, a least compared to last year for gods sake and I for one didn’t think that would be possible. Whatever it is that Kickers have, that part of them that allows them to put the ball through the uprights left Crosby. Clearly it’s not coming back.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. steve cheez says:

    Is there really nobody out there better than these two?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Bart Vanden Plas says:

      Yes there are better kickers, but they are all competing in other camps. There will be one available when the cuts are made elsewhere. Crosby will be replaced at that time, if not before.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  11. Slim11 says:

    I hope this season doesn’t end up like the 1968 season. The Packers won their second Super Bowl and K Don Chandler retired. Jerry Kramer was supposed to be Chandler’s replacement but he only managed six FGs (out of 13 attempts)and the Packers tried Chuck Mercein. He didn’t work out and they signed Mike Mercer. He was too little, too late.

    If the Packers had converted six FGs in the right places, their 6-7-1 record would have been 10-4 and they would have won the Central Division (now NFC North) title.

    This has the potential to be really ugly. The Packers went through mediocre kickers until drafting Chester Marcol. He followed the likes of Mercer (the 1969 kicker), Booth Lustig and Dale Livingston. I don’t want to see this again.

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    • Nick Perry says:

      The mystery is why didn’t they pick up a UDFA or even use a 7th rounder on one. Olindo Mare is a career 81% kicker, he’s also getting up there in age. This will haunt the Packers and make M.M and T.T look a pretty foolish if this ends up costing the Packers a game or three this season. From January to July wasn’t enough time to address the issue? Maybe this new kid makes everything from 48 yards and in. Crosby can’t hit from 50 either, he’s 30 yards wide right.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Bart Vanden Plas says:

      Booth Lutig and Dale Livingston, names I had forgotten. Thanks for putting those memories back into my head.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. GBPDAN says:

    It’s a mystery as to why MM hangs onto this guy.If he is our kicker on opening day, an investigation needs to be open by law enforcement

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  13. Two Bears, One Cup says:

    Maybe it’s not Crosby’s fault. Maybe our holders are doing a poor job of setting the ball down with the laces out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  14. Nick Perry says:

    This is for you Chris. You mentioned there were several good free agent kickers available, who are they? I know Tynes just was signed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. 3G says:

    Laced out Mason. Common man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. crikker magoo says:

    I thought Masthay was kicking pretty darn good last night, farther than crosby did on some of his kickoffs. Just an observation, doesnt mean anything other than if your teams punter can kick farther than the Kicker then u have a problem

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