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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13

August

Are Packers Ready To Retire Longwell?

Ryan Longwell

Longwell will retire as a Green Bay Packer

We learned, today, that Ryan Longwell will retire as a member of the Green Bay Packers.  Players sometimes will sign a symbolic one-day contract with the team that they started with and so that they can finish up where the started.  Longwell spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Packers before joining the Minnesota Vikings for his final six.

Longwell holds many Packers records that still stand today.  The most notable is most points scored in Packers history, with 1,054.  While Longwell’s former teammate and former Packers quarterback Brett Favre was known for his consecutive games played streak, it is Longwell who holds the record for most consecutive games with a score, at 144.  Favre recently began to hint that he was getting closer to a return, of some sort, to the Packers and Longwell has decided to do the same.

While this is a “feel good” story and it’s always good to see a former standout member of the Packers return home to Green Bay, I have to wonder if the Packers feel the same way?  Not because there was any real bad blood between the team and Longwell.  Well, OK, there were a few interviews in support of Favre when he joined the Vikings in 2009.  I have always believed that kickers should never speak to the media and after those episodes, I really believe that.  And there was also the time he said that Applebee’s was “as good as it got” in Green Bay as far as restaurants, but I digress.  Is there an opportunity knocking (or kicking) here?

The state of the place kicking position in Green Bay has been shaky, at best, for the past year.  After a superb 2011 season, Packers kicker Mason Crosby has hit a wall, a brick wall, and can’t seem to shake what is ailing his kicking ability.  He posted the lowest conversion of any kicker last season and even caused Packers head coach Mike McCarthy to take more chances on fourth down instead of trying a reasonable field goal attempt.