It's time for the eighth annual "Best & Worst Case Scenario" series, a feature that goes back to the days of the old RailbirdCentral.com domain.
I attempt to take a look at what is the very best possible season a player is capable of producing, and on the other hand, what would happen if a player fell flat on his face (without assuming they suffer a season-ending injury). These are intended to be extreme scenarios on both sides of the spectrum. More than likely, each player is going to fall somewhere in the middle, but every now and then, they just so happen to come to fruition.
As one final note, I also try to take a look at what these scenarios would be from an individual standpoint and not necessarily what's best (or worst) for the team.
Best-case scenario: Builiding off his bounce-back 2013 season, Crosby continues his successful ways in 2014. For the first time in his career, he is able to break the 90 percent benchmark on field goals, finishing among the league leaders in that category. Crosby also is perfect on 100 percent of his extra point attempts, and thanks to a potent Packers offense, he leads the entire NFL in scoring with more than 150 points. On kickoffs, Crosby holds off Tim Masthay to handle such duties, and improves in that facet of the game as well. At season's end, Crosby is named to the Pro Bowl for the first time of his career.
Worst-case scenario: The situation doesn't get as dire as it was in 2012, but Crosby's struggles re-emerge. His field goal percentage is somewhere in the seventies, which is ranks him among the bottom quarter of the league. Some of it might have to do playing in cold weather, but there are enough early-season misses to suggest weather wasn't a major factor. Crosby also loses hold on the kickoff job, deferring to Masthay. The Packers enter another offseason knowing they'll have to bring in competition for Crosby at the very minimum.
Best-case scenario: Entering his fifth year in the NFL, Masthay has the finest season of his professional career. He achieves career-highs in nearly every measurable category, highlighted by eclipsing the elusive 40.0 net punting average for the first time. Masthay also has career-highs gross punting average and punts downed inside the 20, along with a career low in touchbacks, thanks in part to an improved coverage unit. He also reclaims the kickoff job, being more effective than Crosby ever was.
Worst-case scenario: Inconsistency plagues Masthay, not allowing him to escape the middle tier of average NFL punters. He has a gross punting average of less than 44 yards and a net punting average of less than 38 yards. He's also a victim of back luck, getting a punt blocked and at least one returned for a touchdown. Although his job isn't in jeopardy, it's a forgettable season for Masthay and the Packers special teams as a whole.
Best-case scenario: Dead, solid, perfect. Just as he's been for six seasons in Green Bay, Goode isn't responsible for a single bad snap that leads to a turnover or a block on either punts or kicks. Throw in a couple tackles on punt coverage and Goode has as solid a season as ever.
Worst-case scenario: For the first time in his career, Goode has at least one bad snap that leads to a turnover or a blocked kick and a couple more that make life difficult for Crosby and Masthay. Combine that with subpar athletic ability on punt coverage, and it appears as if Goode's best days are behind him.
That concludes our annual best-case/worst-case scenario series. Here is each position on the Packers roster:
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor at Cheesehead TV and its "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].
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