Category Archives: Kickers

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.

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18

April

Should Packers Add Competition for Crosby?

Mason Crosby

Crosby bounced back in 2013. Will his success continue into 2014?

Green Bay Packers placekicker Mason Crosby is coming off of his best season in 2013, in terms of field goal percentage.  After facing the worst year of his career and posting the worst mark for a starting kicker in the NFL in 2012 (63.6%), Crosby finished 2013 at 89.2%.

He converted on 33 of 37 tries, seven of which were 50 yards or longer.  Crosby also made all 42 of his extra point attempts.

Still, let’s not forget some of the circumstances that Crosby faced to reach that success.

Entering the 2013 season, one had to search long and hard to find any amount of confidence that Crosby would bounce back from the horror that was 2012.  Towards the end of that year and any time Crosby lined up to kick a field goal, fans and media alike held their collective breath, hoping that the ball was at least somewhere near the crossbars.

That season, during a game against the Indianapolis Colts, Crosby kicked a ball so far off base that some wondered if he had hurt himself on the kick.

After the 2012 season, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy immediately began fielding questions about Crosby and his future with the team.  The head coach expressed frustration about the output from his kicker but seemed to be supporting Crosby throughout the offseason and preseason.  McCarthy has had a tendency to remain loyal to “his guys” and players that he is familiar with, even when those players are sometimes not performing to acceptable standards.

This appeared to be the case as Crosby entered training camp the lone placekicker on the roster.  Shortly after it seemed that Crosby was still struggling to find his groove, the team signed Giorgio Tavecchio to come in and compete with Crosby.

The left-footed Tavecchio actually out-kicked Crosby in terms of field goals made during practice and preseason games, but lacked the ideal leg strength to offer the complete package the Packers would have needed to move in another direction.

Tavecchio was cut (much to the chagrin of our own Jersey Al) and McCarthy seemed ready to ride or die with Crosby in 2013.  Crosby didn’t let his coach down.

28

February

Tim Masthay Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

 

Tim Masthay

Tim Masthay

1) Introduction:  Tim Masthay gets the job done. That’s probably the best way to describe him. He doesn’t drastically tilt the field with his powerful punts and pinpoint accuracy, but he does an adequate job. Masthay doesn’t give you much to leap out of your chair and cheer about, but he also doesn’t give you a reason to hurl your TV through the wall after consistently poor punts.

2) Profile:

Timothy James Masthay

  • Age: 26
  • Born: 4/16/1987 in Pittsburgh, Penn.
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 198
  • College: Kentucky
  • Rookie Year: 2010
  • NFL Experience: 4

Career stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Just keep doing what he does. Masthay has a lot of games where he punts in cold weather and his always hold up well.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Masthay’s net average has gotten better every season, topping off at 39.0 yards in 2013. He also notched 17 touchbacks on 34 kickoffs to start the season. If you’re looking for lowlights…well, it’s always a lowlight when Masthay comes on the field because it means the Packers are punting.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  Masthay’s consistency was a bright spot on an otherwise shaky special teams unit. If there was a special teams breakdown, it was rarely because of something Masthay screwed up.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Unfortunately, Masthay contributed too much and the Packers didn’t score enough points in their playoff loss.

Season Report Card:

(B) Level of expectations met during the season

(B-) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(B) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  B

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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27

February

Mason Crosby Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

1) Introduction:  Packers kicker Mason Crosby saw his lucrative contract tore up over the offseason and replaced with an incentive-laden deal. Message received. Crosby connected on 33 of 37 field goal attempts and even sent two 57-yarders soaring through the uprights. If Johnny Jolly wasn’t on the roster, the Packers comeback player of the year award would have probably gone to Crosby.

Packers K Mason Crosby

Packers K Mason Crosby

2) Profile:

Mason Walker Crosby

  • Age: 29
  • Born: 9/3/1984 in Lubbock, Texas
  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 212
  • College: Colorado
  • Rookie Year: 2007
  • NFL Experience: 7

Career stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Get beat out in training camp by the Italian guy with the cool name. Packers fans were done with Mason Crosby and were itching for somebody to replace him. Crosby outlasted Giorgio Tavecchio and went on to have a career season.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Crosby hit all five field-goal attempts with a long of 52 yards in week 5 against Detroit. He made his first 10 attempts and even hit 5 of 7 from beyond 50 yards after going 14 for 33 on attempts of 50 yards or more in his first six seasons. Crosby’s lowpoint came against the Eagles in week 10 where his missed kicks from 53 and 42 yards.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  The Packers comeback against the Cowboys might have fallen short if Crosby doesn’t nail a 57-yard field goal earlier in the game. Unlike in 2012, you can’t really point to a game where Crosby had an overly negative impact. Crosby took over again on kickoffs midway through the season. I guess the Packers prefer Crosby’s directional kicking over Tim Masthay’s powerful leg.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Crosby made both of his field goal attempts against the 49ers and was fine kicking the ball off.

Season Report Card:

(A) Level of expectations met during the season

(A-) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(B) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  A-

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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9

January

Kudos to Crosby: Packers Kicker Answers the Critics and Naysayers

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby

It’s all I ever wanted from him, and after seven years, I finally got it. Mason Crosby finished a season in the upper half of the kicker rankings and reliably made big kicks when they were most needed.

2013 was Crosby’s finest season as a Packer and his best field goal percentage ever, going all the way back to High School.

Compared to other kickers with at least 25 attempts, Crosby finished 12th in overall field goal percentage in 2013. That’s actually a fairly amazing stat, if you think about it. Crosby made 33 of 37 field goal attempts (89.2%) and there were still 11 kickers better than him.

That speaks to the new science of placekicking. Guys now get specialized training at an early age and advanced training in HS, college and the pros. Percentages will just continue to rise, but that’s another topic.

And before you throw the cold weather argument at me, that’s been a myth in past years (as I proved in my Mason Manifesto).

Admittedly though, the argument holds absolutely true THIS season. Since the start of November, Crosby made 18 of 20 field goals. He hadn’t missed a field goal since the Eagles game, making 18 in a row over the last 8 games, including Sunday’s playoff loss to the 49ers.

More importantly, though, he came through when the team needed it most. Without Aaron Rodgers, every point was precious. If Crosby misses just a single field goal in the Minnesota, Atlanta and Dallas games, two wins and a tie become three losses and the Chicago Bears are the NFC North Division Champs.

I’ve written plenty about Mason Crosby over the years. Because of that, and because a lot of people just don’t take the time to read carefully, I’ve been labeled as being anti-Crosby. That’s a big stretch from the truth.

Mostly, there were two things that always bothered me.

1) I never understood those fans that would say he was one of the better kickers in the NFL (not even close – read my manifesto linked above, if you haven’t before).

2) I never understood the Packers treating him like he was a top kicker, with generous raises and handing him the job every year with no competition, even after some pretty bad years (See my Mediocrity Rewarded post).

19

November

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Giants 27, Packers 13

Tramon Williams was making tackles near the line of scrimmage and intercepted a pass in the red zone. It was a big day for No. 38.

Tramon Williams was making tackles near the line of scrimmage and intercepted a pass in the red zone. It was a big day for No. 38.

For the first time in three weeks, the Green Bay Packers’ starting quarterback (Scott Tolzien) played beyond the game’s first series. So, there’s that.

In his first career start, Tolzien was able to move the Packers offense down the field on his way to three scoring drives. But much like Tolzien’s first outing with the team, his day was clouded with turnovers.

Although he completed 70 percent of his passes en route to a 339-yard day against a good Giants defense, Tolzien’s second interception to Jason Pierre-Paul clinched the game for New York, as JPP picked off the pass and raced into the end zone, extending what was a seven-point lead to 14.

And here we are. The Packers are 5-5 on the season and likely need to win five of their last six to make the playoffs.

With the Vikings next on the schedule, the Packers have a good chance at getting back over .500, despite being without Aaron Rodgers for at least another week. But then again, it’ll more than likely be another ugly slugfest in which the winner is decided by a late score.

The value of Rodgers is undeniable. Not only is he really, really good at throwing the football, eluding pressure and making pre-snap reads, but simply having No. 12 under center completely opens things up for the running game. It’s not exactly rocket science, I know. Eddie Lacy is a great back, but defenses are stacking the box in a way I–having grown up watching Rodgers and Brett Favre–have never seen.

On the sideline, Rodgers has to be looking at these defensive fronts, shaking his head and thinking “If only.” Favre is probably sitting on his recliner in his Wranglers and laughing.

Either way, the Tolzien-led Packers are the Tolzien-led Packers. The Rodgers-led Packers can beat any team in the league, in my opinion. But the Tolzien-led Packers cannot.

This week? I believe the Tolzien-led Packers can beat the Christian Ponder, Matt Cassell or Josh Freeman-led Vikings. But we will see.

Game Balls

Tramon Williams

5

November

Packers Stock Report: Oh $#!%, Aaron Rodgers is Hurt Edition

It hurts just looking at this photo. Avert your eyes. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is injured.

OhmygodOhmygodOhmygodOhmygod. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is hurt.

Now what?

Can Seneca Wallace keep the Packers alive until (if?) Rodgers returns?

Should the Packers call Favre?

Should the Packers call Flynn?

Where’s Graham Harrell when you need him?

What the hell happened to the defense on Monday?

Did the Rodgers injury somehow cause the Packers to forget how to tackle and pass protect?

What is a Shea McClellin and why did it do that to our quarterback?

The Bears still suck. Ok, that made me feel a little bit better.

Oh damn, I just remembered that Rodgers is hurt. OhmygodOhmygodOhmygodOhmygod.

Now I’m starting to panic. How can I snap out of this?

Maybe writing the Packers stock report will help. Let’s see.

On to the stock report:

Rising

Eddie Lacy
I totally forgot how awesome it is when your favorite football team has a running back that just trucks people over. Getting excited about long pass plays is awesome and everything, but there’s something about the feeling you get when a stud running back starts plowing over defenders and ripping off large chunks of yards. It makes you want to tear off your shirt and start posing like Hulk Hogan. Ok, maybe it’s just me who wants to do that every time Lacy runs someone over…

B.J. Raji
It’s been a solid run for Raji the last three games. He sniffed out a couple of screen passes against the Bears and has done an excellent job of making plays at the point of attack. Big, nimble and smart. That’s been Raji over this recent stretch of games.

Brett Favre
Wait a minute. What’s he doing on this report?

Steady

James Starks
Did Starks install a turbo button on his back when he was out? Seriously, I don’t remember him being nearly this fast. He’s firing through holes like he’s been shot out of a high-caliber rifle from a deer hunter perched high up in a tree in the woods of Mondovi, Wis.

Tim Mashthay
Punts from Masthay kept pinning the Bears deep on Monday night. Too bad the Packers defense didn’t follow through and force a turnover or make a stand late in the game.