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It's Time for Mason Crosby To Go

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It's Time for Mason Crosby To Go

The time has come. The time is now. Mason W. Crosby will you please go now.

I know it isn't the popular opinion right now, and that "Sergio" Tavecchio hasn't exactly overwhelmed anyone (particularly his head coach, who can't get his first name right). But, it is my humble opinion that kicker Mason Crosby is toast. It's time for you to go. Goodbye.

Some of you might think it is because he missed a ton of field goal attempts in a scrimmage Saturday night, missing an unacceptable 5 out of 8. While certainly that adds to the concern, its not the nail in the coffin for me.

Some of you might believe I'm still wallowing in Crosby's struggles last season, when he finished with an abhorrent 67.9% field goal percentage, and we all sat on the edge of our seats for a 30-yard attempt. Yeah, that's a big factor, too, but not the straw that broke the camel's back.

Some of you might think that the very idea of having competition in camp, in the form of perhaps the least threatening kicker Ted Thompson could find, and having Crosby wilt in the face of it is my final straw. It isn't, thought it certainly concerns many of us who cried for competition for years...quoting Thompson's own mantra that competition makes everyone better.

No, the end of my faith in Mason Crosby to be the once of future king of the Green Bay Packers kicking game was his quotes afterwards.

"No, I've been hitting the ball well," Crosby said. "Obviously extremely disappointed with how I hit it tonight. Have to evaluate that and break it down. I can't think about things like that. I just have to go and actually work on things, make sure I hit the ball through the uprights. That's all I can really worry about and focus on right now."

I'm not sure exactly what competition is supposed to bring out in you, but I'm pretty sure that this isn't it. This is a guy who has no idea why he's not doing well, and has no idea how to fix it. He's going to be bummed about his performance and go back and check the tape and see if he can find the mechanical problems?

I have news for you: the problems aren't mechanical. They're mental. And the passive approach to his own problems just echo the impact the failed efforts of Shawn Slocum on his career.

Let me tell you something: I really like Mason Crosby, and I've rooted for him from Day 1. He's an upstanding guy, involved in the community and giving at charity events. He's got the prototypical body for an NFL kicker, with all the right metrics, from his height to his strong leg. And, I don't blame Crosby all that much for his own shortcomings.

I blame Slocum, who should rightfully be fired for his ongoing failings with an stud kicker over the years. I'm not going to bore you by reprinting the entire Slocum/Crosby history: you can read pieces from 2009, 2009, and 2010 to see the list of stupid moves. But the years of Slocum's over-possessive control over Crosby and mind games have finally come to home to roost. You can't forbid your kicker, who knows he has mechanical issues, to NOT SEE ANY OTHER KICKING COACHES in the offseason (you know, when it is prudent to change your kicking style), then completely break down and rebuild his kicking style DURING A PLAYOFF RUN because he's still struggling.

In a way, it seems to have been an unhealthy relationship from the start, and now, Crosby's is echoing Slocum's usual excuses for him. We'll just go back and check the tape and see what we have to fix. Seriously? Crosby is starting to sound like Eeyore. This is Mason Crosby's seventh professional season. Why is he still having to fix mechanical errors?

And the point is, he doesn't have mechanical errors, or at least not ones that aren't caused by his own head. Lesson learned for the Packers: if you play head games with a kicker, you get a kicker that's a head case. Personally, I think Crosby might have a chance to save his career if he gets a fresh start somewhere else. But after six full seasons in the NFL, a drafted kicker isn't unlike a top draft pick at other positions in expectations. You really expect them to be solid players after two or three seasons, or you move on. Crosby might have set some scoring records thanks to a prolific offense giving him many opportunities, but at this point, do you trust him in a big game to come through on a 40-yarder?

I don't either, and I'm pretty sure Mike McCarthy doesn't anymore. While people can point to Crosby's statistics over the final few games of the season as a rebound from his struggles earlier last year, we know from observation that McCarthy started passing up long field goal opportunities, giving Crosby chip shots to increase his confidence.

It's time to move on. I don't know if Giovanni Tavecchio is going to be anywhere near the physical specimen that Crosby is. He doesn't have a super strong leg and kickoff duties would likely be ceded to Tim Masthay. 50+ yard field goal scenarios would have to weighed against whether or not Tavecchio has the oomph to make it.

But, at this point, what's the difference between an average kicker who believes he can make it, and a great kicker who doesn't? You might have the same percentage of making that kick, but Tavecchio can be treated like any other player, not with kid gloves to preserve his ego. If Tavecchio doesn't perform well, you sign someone different next season. That's they way it is supposed to work.

I'll be honest: I really like Mason Crosby and want him to be successful. And I think the only way that's going to happen is to get him as far away from Shawn Slocum as possible.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Badknees's picture

Agreed.

jeremy's picture

" to NOT SEE ANY OTHER KICKING COACHES in the offseason"

Why don't they have a real kicking coach? The mentality for kickers is totally different from the rest of Special Teams. It's not like the Packers are poor or something.

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

The heck with FGs. Just manage your third downs to make an easier conversion on 4th down. That eliminates the need for FGs, especially when they are not automatic. Or, just punt. We do like the Punter.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

I second.

Cole's picture

My question is, why is it that if a young player blows an assignment they get yanked but Mason can suck for years and not have any reprecussions? This is a results league. The results are in: Mason is the worst kicker in the league. Ted and McCarthy's personal friendship with Mason is clouding their judgment.

Jamie's picture

I don't think friendship is playing a roll here...it's Mason's tease of leg strength and upside.

Lou's picture

Leg strength ? Crosby finished 3rd in the kickoff competition Saturday night behind his competitor and our punter and last year he was 21st in touch backs. Upside ? He has but one game winning kick to date which was in his rookie year and had the worst shank in NFL history to tie the game vs the Colt's last year, which translates to "can't kick under pressure" and now the pressure of an intra-squad game and a competitor for the first time in years is too much ? If they keep him and he implodes again the won/lost record will be effected as well as McCarthy and Thompson's credibility internally. I can see them reducing Hawk's salary and keeping him because he is at least an average starting LB at an acceptable salary now but you can't even mention the word "acountable" any more with Crosby. He doesn't need a kicking coach, he needs a shrink.

Jamie's picture

Crosby just comes across to me as a mentally weak person, who is trying to rectify a situation that is 100% mental. Just don't see it happening without him getting mentally tougher away from the game...the spotlight has gotten to him big time.

Tony's picture

Someone said he went full "Chuck Knoblauch" and I couldn't agree more. Dude can't get out of his own head.

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

Great comparison. I say we need to wait for a few preseason games to really make judgement. I think MM will forego any "going for it" on 4th down to see where Crosby is at.

gslumbers's picture

The NFC north is TIGHT. Lambeau is balmy till maybe Nov.- then it's time to put the snowtires on, and grind it out. Ya gotta have a clutch kicker and a running game. This is only way to get to January ball. Lotta games this year could be close. Especially w/ Bulaga out. Part ways w/ Crosby, bring in some talent and a kicking coach. We don't play in a dome guys!

Cali Girl's picture

Is there anything worse than listening to kickers talk about why they're in a slump? Don't forget the money part of the equation if Crosby gets cut. I heard the hit would be so large in 2013 that he will have to have a complete meltdown to not make the team. It will play a part in the decision.

Mojo's picture

Not to pile on, but has anyone noticed how the strong-legged Crosby often gets out- kicked for distance on kick-offs? I certainly did last year and for that matter the year before. Many times I noticed the other teams kicker pounding the ball out of the back of the endzone, while Crosby was barely making it to the goal-line. Same weather conditions.

I've always wondered if he was instructed to hit it around the goal-line(and near the sidelines also) in hopes of trying to pin the opponent inside the 20. Or was that all he's got. I have a feeling, more often it was all he had on that kick, especially when he hit them straight down the middle of the field.

He may have a much stronger leg than you or I(or Tavecchio) but I think compared to the rest of the league he's just average as his touchback percentage indicates: http://www.teamrankings.com/nfl/stat/kickoff-touchback-pct (and it's not just that he kicks in a cold climate. There are other cold-weather cities that the kicker does fine in.)

Not only is Crosby a poor field-goal kicker, but his vaunted leg-strength is the stuff of exaggerated folklore.

Evan's picture

I seem to remember something about Slocum instructing Crosby to go for hang-time over distance the last couple of years. I could be wrong, though.

Longshanks's picture

I remember Jimmy Johnson, who is no stranger to super bowl rings say he would have cut Crosby late in the season as his confidence was shot. Once it happens it's hard to get that back. McCarthy probably likes the guy. He seems like a decent person but business is business.

Frankly I was shocked at how bad he was Family Night and unfortunately I have to agree with the writer of this. He needs to go. Nobody has confidence in him making a game winning kick. McCarthy and Co. will say it but deep down they know they don't trust him. I am pretty sure Crosby doesn't even trust himself.

I don't know how many times he said the word "obviously" in his interview after the scrimmage. It was strange. He's a mental headcase right now. Everyone knows it. I feel bad for him but he will get another chance no doubt with other teams if GB does the right thing and makes a change.

Lars's picture

Yea blame Slocum, that's the ticket, CD. No responsibility for the bad kicker? Slocum sure isn't hurting Tavecchio, who is as you say the "least threatenting competition" for the choker Crosby and he's winning the battle easily. Buh, bye Mason.

tundravision's picture

Yeah, actually, I do. I've documented several concerns with Slocum over the years, but none so disheartening as the relationship he's had with Crosby.

It's weird. It's like a weird, obsessive relationship. "No, honey, I don't want you to talk to a counselor. If you need to talk to anyone, just talk with me."

Add to that the completely inexplicable defending and lack of holding him responsible. It's just been weird.

Georgio might fall victim to the SLocum effect, too. But he isn't seven years in like Crosby.

I bleed Green More's picture

I thought last year was time for him to leave.

Chris Davis's picture

It's Official....Everybody knows that he has got to go! TED do something!

Fish . Crane's picture

Slocum? He's turned the corner. Our special teams had an exciting and solid last year and you want to fire him because a kicker can't make a 30 yard field goal?

There were two consecutive special teams plays that told a story last year. The weird but creative failed Masthay thing showed uniqueness and gave opponents something to think about.

The next ST play was a head scratcher. Crosby kicked about the ugliest field goal try I have ever seen at pro and college level. It was one of many but that near whiff to me showed he had lost his ability to be a consistent kicker. Gone.

Sorry two... you needed to be one.

Fish . Crane's picture

there are only three active kickers with worse CAREER FG % than Crosby's 76%.

Graham Gano - he was 9 for 11 last year
Billy Cundiff 7 for 12
Nick Novak 18 for 20

Crosby's 63% last year with 33 tries is getting close to Jerry Kramer's career mark of 53%

Greg's picture

I think the big problem last year was that Slocum had Crosby kicking too deep until the end of the year. It was then he started kicking off high and about to the three. That was when he started hitting his field goals again.

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