8

July

Cory’s Corner: Mason Crosby deserves praise not punishment

Mason Crosby trails Ryan Longwell as the Packers career scoring leader by a score of 1,054-903. He was perfect from 39 yards and in last year.

Mason Crosby trails Ryan Longwell as the Packers career scoring leader by a count of 1,054-903. He was perfect from 39 yards and in last year.

Mason Crosby has been the whipping boy by Packers fans the last few years.

People have been eager to paint him as the goat for missing the 52-yarder at the Metrodome in 2008 or the 52-and 51-yard field goals at Indianapolis in 2012.

But despite getting the Monday Morning Quarterback treatment every time he misses a field goal, Crosby had the best season of his seven-year career last year. He made over 89 percent of his field goals, including 5 for 7 from 50 yards or more, and he was perfect from extra points for the second straight year.

And now, Crosby is on the cusp of greatness. He is only 151 points from tying Ryan Longwell as the Packers career scoring leader. Crosby, who turns 30 on Sept. 3, is under contract until 2015, so there’s plenty of time for the record to fall.

However, I doubt that even a Packers career scoring record will sway the minds of the Packers faithful that wanted him gone two years ago.

Kicking is one of the most fickle jobs in sports. They don’t help the offense move the ball down the field. They don’t wrap anybody up on defense. They are only called on when an offensive drive fails or to be the end-of-game savior.

And when their foot fails them, things get ugly for them. Yet, running backs and wide receivers fail at some point in the game but they usually don’t receive the same amount of criticism when a kicker pushes an attempt as time expires.

Crosby’s 141 points he scored last year and in his rookie year of 2007 are the highest Packers scoring totals in a season by a player that was only a kicker. And believe it or not, Crosby owns the most field goals at a distance of 50 yards or more with 19. That’s two more than Chris Jacke and six more than Ryan Longwell.

When Crosby signed the five-year $14.75 million contract back in July of 2011, I was one of those that was a little surprised. But then that season he connected on 85.7 percent of his kicks (24 for 28) including a 58-yard boot at Minnesota.

After that season I was sold. I understand that he is only a 2012 season away from another Sahara dry patch. But I also know that Crosby has what it takes to put aside his ego and compete.

Remember, the Packers brought in guys like Giorgio Tavecchio and Zach Ramirez to push Crosby last August. And when he had to perform, Crosby nailed all 14 of his field goal attempts to send Ramirez packing and keep the job.

On an offense that has the NFL’s best quarterback, one of the league’s best running backs and a couple of receivers that might be the best pass-catching tandem in the league, Crosby is often overlooked. However, he should be looked at as another weapon.

Remember, kickers have a much longer average shelf life than other NFL players. Barring a crazy injury, which includes a torn ACL of Bill Gramatica proportions, Crosby should be able to perform for another five years.

And after all that, you still find the need to make Crosby your whipping boy, take a look at the entire picture. Why is the game coming down to a kick in the first place?

In the next two years, Crosby will become the best scorer in Packers history. Better than Don Hutson, better than Paul Hornung and better than Jim Taylor. It’s about time to start realizing how good Crosby really is and stop magnifying only his faults.

——————

Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

——————

---- Get AddToAny

10 Responses to “Cory’s Corner: Mason Crosby deserves praise not punishment”

  1. Nick Perry says:

    When Crosby went 3 for 8 at Family Night I thought the guy was done for, he lost it. The 2012 season wasn’t just about his misses, but how BADLY he missed. That kick in Indy was embarrassingly bad. I admit, I was one pulling for anyone other than Crosby. But when 2013 came and Crosby was damn near automatic. Not only that he finished the season making 14 straight FG including playoffs, not bad considering that was from the middle of November through January. Once again as a member of the peanut gallery, I’m glad MM and TT don’t think like me.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    • Ed Schoenfeld says:

      Kickers typically go through a season or two at mid-career that can best be described as ‘brain cramps.’ They seem to be a little like closers in baseball that way.

      I was surprised that the Packers had the patience to stick with Crosby through that period. Usually teams dump the guy who is having brain cramps and he goes on to kick very effectively for a different team while the original team spends a couple of seasons trying to find a replacement.

      Chalk one up for patience.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  2. Big T says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 18

  3. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    The guy has talent. Just like Burnett last year, he was overpaid in 2012. But he earned the money back and was a pretty darn good kicker last year. His problems were in his head – it’s good to see him overcome that. One more good year in 2014 and I’ll sold on him as a Packer for Life.

    Coincidentally, GB (with apologies to Chicago and Pittsburgh) is the hardest place to kick in the NFL. It’ll be interesting to see how everyone’s FF fave Blair Walsh does in Minny at TCF the next couple years. Although he’ll be kicking on Astro Grass, I’d argue that Minny will be colder/windier outside than GB in Nov/Dec.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    • Stroh says:

      That’s something that is really overlooked. GB and Lambeau in particular is easily the most difficult venue on the NFL for kickers. No denying it…

      Pitts, NE, Chi and a couple others are difficult too, but Lambeau is VERY difficult to kick in. There was an article I read 4 or 5 yrs ago that said it wasn’t even close.

      Given the venue and Crosby’s success to date, he’s only going to get better. Even Longwell said it took him a few years to figure out. I think that had a lot to do w/ Thompson/McCarthy sticking w/ him thru the “12 season. Bringing in a new Kicker would probably have subjected the Packers to another 3 yrs of terrible place kicking.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Bedrock says:

    In this day and age of the NFL, being a team’s all time leading scorer carries significantly less credibility. Hornung, Hutson, and Taylor in the same breath as Crosby? I get the point, but let’s not confuse points scored and greatness. The first three are great. Crosby isn’t there yet.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  5. Tim says:

    I’m glad they kept Crosby, he was great last year. MM & TT knew what they were doing when they stuck with him. He was pretty iffy before. Its a “what have you done for me lately” existence for kickers. If your kicker sucks, you needlessly blow team efforts – throw away games that would be won with someone just a little better. There’s lots of guys waiting in line for a shot to show they are better. For a chance to start or renew a career. Most organizations probably would have gone that different direction during mason’s slump. Good work packer braintrust – a sticky star for you! Hope to see more Crosby dividends this year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  6. LyerlaStoleMyBike says:

    I think this article is a year too late… Who is trying to “punish” Crosby these days?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    • BradHTX says:

      My thoughts exactly when I read the headline — since when is Mason Crosby even controversial after having a great season last year?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • Stroh says:

        Go over to CheeseheadTV. Dra is banging on Crosby big time. Saying that McCarthy is still avoiding FG attempts to cover for Crosby and that its going to happen a lot more this year!

        Its ridiculous…

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply