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Packers' Crosby Entering Rare Air for Kicking Mistakes

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Packers' Crosby Entering Rare Air for Kicking Mistakes

There was no hesitation in Mike McCarthy's voice, no wavering of confidence in a player so clearly struggling with the one aspect that defines his job.

Despite watching two more missed field goals in Green Bay's 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears, McCarthy made no question he was sticking behind kicker Mason Crosby.

"We are not changing our kicker, so you can write that down right now," McCarthy said post game. "He is our guy. He needs to make those kicks; he knows that."

McCarthy's support of Crosby is—at least on one level—admirable. In not giving up on his kicker, McCarthy has granted Crosby every opportunity to wake up from his current kicking nightmare. Knee-jerk reactions don't register with McCarthy or Packers GM Ted Thompson, and Crosby's situation might illustrate that point better than any.

But the numbers are now clear and indisputable: Crosby is entering rare air in the sheer volume of kicking mistakes he's put the Packers through this season, and it's hurting his team every single week.

After two misses Sunday, Crosby is now 17 for 29 kicking this season. His 12 misses and 58.6 kicking percentage are both good for last in the NFL among qualified kickers in 2012 (to qualify, kickers must average at least one kick per team's games played).

Both marks also rank as among the worst in the NFL over the last decade or so.

No qualifying kicker has missed as many as 12 field goals since 2003, when Jacksonville's Seth Marler missed 13 of his 33 attempts. Considering Crosby is averaging over two attempts a game this season, it's conceivable that he will pass Marler's mark sometime over the next two games.

Overall, Crosby is on pace to finish this season 19 for 33 kicking. Fourteen misses would be a rare feat, at least in recent in league history. The NFL hasn't had a kicker miss 14 field goals in a single season since 2001, when Pittsburgh's Kris Brown made 30 of 44 kicks. Before Brown, San Francisco's Mike Cofer was the last to do 10 years earlier. In 1991, Cofer hit on just 14 of 28 kicks, with three blocks.

There's more.

If Crosby's 58.6 kick accuracy holds, it would represent the worst percentage the NFL has seen in a qualified kicker since 2004. Between Indianapolis and Tampa Bay, Martin Gramatica missed eight of 19 kicks and finished with a kick accuracy of just 57.9 in '04. No kicker with at least 20 attempts has had a percentage under 60.0 for a full season since 2001, when Buffalo's Jake Arians finished at 57.1 (12 of 21).

Crosby's eight-game streak with at least one missed field goal is also the longest such streak in the NFL this season, and by a wide margin. Billy Cundiff missed in three of four before being cut by Washington, Justin Medluck had misses in three straight games before Carolina sent him packing and San Francisco's David Akers has two two-game streaks with at least one miss.

"I can't sit and sulk and think about missed kicks because I've got to make kicks," Crosby said. "We're going to get to the playoffs, and there's going to be some big ones down the line here."

Crosby is right. The Packers are heading to the playoffs, and a kick or two could ultimately decide a game there. His coach knows that it's time to start putting the football through the uprights.

"We’re at that time of year. We left points on the field today, and the two missed field goals are definitely make-able field goals," McCarthy said. "Obviously, it factors into some of the decisions you make after that. It’s time for him to step up."

McCarthy's unwavering confidence in Crosby is refreshing in the NFL, where players can come and go at the snap of a finger. But in this case, McCarthy's character strength may end up being a fatal football flaw.

Unless there's a change of heart and mind, the Packers will head into the 2012 postseason with a kicker in the middle of one of the worst single-season kicking performances in recent NFL history.

Comments (51)

Tony's picture

I don't know how McCarthy's maintaining confidence in statistically the worst kicker in the last decade, but good for him. I hope whatever mojo he has for Crosby transfers to his leg, but we're going to need him. He's a good kicker, and it's just a real shame to see him struggling like this.

jeff's picture

I think it's time for Mason and Shawn Slocum to ride that train out of GB. Slocum has never been that good of a special teams coach and seems to hurt more kicker and punters then help. His trick punt plan on Sunday was just about the dumbest thing I have ever seen. Even if McCarty OK'd that play it's still on Slocum.

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

“We are not changing our kicker, so you can write that down right now,” McCarthy said post game.

He may not be changing the kicker, but he may not use him very much. I see a lot of 'going for it' on 4th down next game.

Derek's picture

Crosby has to go. It sucked watching Olindo Mare make kicks for CHI when we could’ve had him weeks ago. Crosby is going to cost us a playoff game and then Ted and MM will get hammered by fans, media, everyone with a brain who can see he is done.

Crosby has had many, many weeks to correct his mistakes and many, many opportunities from MM to make kicks, and he simply cannot. Even his PATs wobble around and looke like they could miss at any time. Bye Bye, Crosby.

pooch's picture

Dammit McCarthy arrogance will get you no where.Rodgers throwing lights out,Clay, 3 sacks in NFL championship game,comes down to field goal 30 yards out and he shanks it 20 yards wide again,thanks Mike from,Aaron,Jordy,Gregg,Clay,BJ,Woody,Jmike,cause your too fuckin stubborn

MarkinMadison's picture

Last time I checked TT makes the personnel calls, not MM. MM can say whatever he wants. If TT wants a new kicker there will be a new kicker.

lebowski's picture

That's what I was thinking too. I know those two guys are on the same page, and doubt TT would make MM look bad by overruling him, but Ted might be getting tired of watching Sir Shanks A Lot from the executive box.

Rocky70's picture

TT does not unilaterally make all the personnel decisions. TT & MM are always talking about the 53 & even the PS. This is 'real football', not someone's fantasy team.

T's picture

Do you have a breakdown of right/left hash totals? His Achilles heel was always right hash. Also the distance of kicks? Most have been 40+ I believe due to the Packers unbelievable red zone percentage this year. I wonder if he had more of them this year he would have gotten into more of a groove and this would have been totally different.

I'm a huge proponent for going for it on 4th anytime in the opponents territory. Going for it on 4th and 6 ended up netting them +4 points.

Ryan's picture

A small part of me wonders if McCarthy is going to use Crosby's poor performance as the perfect excuse to start going for it on 4th down from that area of the field.

Every coach is going to be going for it in these situations it in 5 or 10 years, but they're too worried about job security at the moment.

Walty's picture

This is what I'm thinking as well. I think maybe MM has been thinking for quite some time that he'd be better off going for it on 4th in anything past 30+ fg range with this offense (and stats have backed that up), but knew the backlash any coach would take for doing so.

Crosby could be the catalyst for a big change in the game if Mike starts doing this and we're successful.

KennyPayne's picture

ARod just turned 29. The Pack has a shot at another Super Bowl. Crosby has always been below average kicker and now has just lost it copletely. That first kick yesterday was comical and Mare came off the street to do better.

The fact that GB is sticking with the WORST kicker in the NFL at this point means 1 of 2 things: either MM is loyal to a fault or TT is loathe to admit his draftee who he just gave a big contract to is a failure a la Justin Harrell.

Either way, there is no excuse for Crosby being on the team anymore.

Derek's picture

+1. You have to try to win NOW, not let some half ass kicker ruin your season. They may never get back the SB, but with ARod, at least we all believe we have a shot every year.

Ted, don't sacrifice this season because of your loyalty to a stupid kicker!!!!!!

PackerPete's picture

A knee-jerk reaction would be to cut an otherwise reliable kicker because he missed a couple of relatively simple field goals. But even when he makes field goals, Crosby's kicks veer off suddenly left or right, even inside domes when there are no outside weather influences.
So I really cannot understand why Crosby is still on the roster.

Derek's picture

A knee jerk reaction would have been to cut him 6 weeks ago. Cutting him now is only logical option.

Derek's picture

Sorry to keep posting on this, but Crosby is just so God awful bad, it warrants the comments. Just watched his 2nd miss a few more times, the flags on the goalposts were barely moving. He just flat out hooked the living crap out of that. Looks like a golfer who hits a duck hook left because he's too quick with the hands. You golfers know, you can feel it when you do it. Crosby looks lost. Miss left, miss right, miss them all....Billy Cundiff, come on down!!!!

PackerPete's picture

He hooked his second FG too far to the left since his first was so far to the right. So he overcompensated. He basically takes one FG try, then concludes everything he is doing wrong, and overcompensates into the opposite direction. Nobody can tell me the available veteran NFL kickers are worse than Crosby in his slump right now. Maybe they are worse over the full career, but at the moment, Crosby has to be one of the worst kickers of any available. Mare is 39, he kicked for a long time for the Dolphins, and otherwise for the Saints, and then the Seahawks. So it's fair to say he's a fair weather kicker who is probably close to the end of his career. Yet his FGs, kicked during the same conditions as Crosby had, went straight through the uprights, and he was just signed by the Bears a few days ago. Soldier field is terrible, but if Mare can do it, who is not familiar with the field nor the best kicker in NFL history, why are the ones Crosby tried to kick so bad? That first one wasn't even in the vicinity of the goal posts, even though snap and hold were almost perfect? To keep Crosby just to prove a point is pointless. I thought the NFL is all about "winning now". Do Mike and Ted really want to find out how it would be to lose a playoff game because of a shaky kicker who kicked horrible all season long, when they could've signed a slightly better kicker at this time? Again, not saying anybody may be better than Crosby long term, but this is about 2 more regular season games fighting for a No 2 seed in the NFC, and up to 4 more games in the playoffs. Nothing else. I just don't get it.

Chris Davis's picture

I do not get it as well. I have people (not Packer Fans) calling me from all over the country asking me why this guy is still kicking for us! I have a son that kicked for a College team that could do far better. His Kicks are not coming off "square" from his foot, thus the bad misses. He this guy "blowing" somebody to keep his job is my only conclusion!

Rocky70's picture

Do you even know his stats? --- Or are you just going with the flow?

Here's a link for ya ---- study & play with the numbers. You may find that you are only reacting to perceptions.

Rocky70's picture

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/C/CrosMa20.htm

Could you also clean-up your 'gutter language' abit. Believe it or not (like it or not), kids read this blog occasionally.

Jeremy's picture

I was at solder field. There was no wind at the time of that kick.

John's picture

What do youguys think about signing josh brown

Chris Davis's picture

No Doubt!

Denver's picture

I really don't get it. It's not like Crosby has even been an above-average K over his career. OK, so he's above-average on onside kicks. Unfortunately, the Pack will more than likely need a clutch FG or 3 come playoff time much more than they need a good onside kick.
It will be a damn shame if #2 costs them a game in the end.

Mike's picture

Mashed Potato Mike scheming again! Keeping Crosby on the roster is like calling an across the field lateral on a routine punt return, while clining to an 11 point lead where all you have to do is run the clock(7minutes) out for the divison title. Is anyone really surprised at this arrogant stance??? Kuhn, fullback dive on 3rd and 6! Come on! Its not surprising as much as it is stupid! MPM loves making games interesting with his arrogant stupidity! Tinkering Ted has to bring in some kickers to at least tryout!

PackersRS's picture

I really don't get this. Yeah, changing the kicker is the easiest thing to do. It's also the right thing to do.

There is nothing that suggests the Packers should keep Crosby. A career % of 76.3. There are 31 kickers active with a better career % than Crosby. THIRTY ONE.

And the leg strenght is BS. GB is 14th in touchback %, and only in 2007 and 2008 they were in the top 10, at exactly the 10th spot. His 50+ % isn't the reason. Crosby has only been in the top 10 once, in 2007. And he has been above .500 only twice, in 2007 and 2011.

He is 8 for 10 in the playoffs, however his longest made is 43 yards against the Falcons, in a dome. The rest are below 40 yards. He has attempted 2 50+ kicks, at Atlanta and at Arizona, both in domes, and both failed.

So, there's nothing in his career that says he's a good kicker, and right now he's the worst kicker employed in the NFL.

He is very good at kicking onside kicks, but I can't believe a professional NFL team will keep a bad kicker just because of those extremely rare circumstances.

If anyone cares to do the math, I'm willing to bet money that Crosby has costed the Packers more games than he has won. In fact, I remember only 1 game winning FG, in his rookie year.

TedHead's picture

The Packers strategy for kickoffs has been to kick it high instead of kicking it long for touchbacks for all of Crosby's tenure. The thought is that you can force a turnover or pin a team deeper.

kennypayne's picture

+1. I wish I had cited the stats/facts like you did to make your highly persuasive argument. Were this a trial, you'd have Crosby convicted with the jury out for less than an hour.

I would only add that there may be something going on at a higher level in that TT is very reluctant to concede his drafting/FA signing mistakes and Crosby, who has been underwhelming throughout his career but yet was signed to a lucrative new contract after last season, might qualify as both.

Denver's picture

"In fact, I remember only 1 game winning FG, in his rookie year."
Yep, in the first game of his rookie year vs. the Eagles.
Though he also had one vs. the Giants in the regular season last year.
But, yeah, how on Earth he is still a Packer at this point is beyond me.

THEMichaelRose's picture

I don't like the "he's talented" argument for why the Packers are sticking with him.
If this were some disgruntled receiver who was causing problems but you want to keep him around because he's talented and may turn into some superstar big play guy, fine.
But we're talking about a kicker. So, he's talented, as in, if he gets it right, he'll show off some super upside which makes him worth keeping. What kind of upside would that have to be to make dealing with ~60% accuracy worth it? So he's talented enough to maybe hit a 65 yarder some day?
Point is, "talent" isn't keeping him around. What's keeping him around is hubris on the part of TT and MM. He's one of "their guys", and we stick with "our guys", because we're a small town organization who believes in 2nd/3rd/4th/5th chances and who doesn't care to do what the average NFL franchise would think is an obvious decision. I like it.

Derek's picture

Judge: In the case of the World vs. Mason Crosby, Mr. Crosby, how do you plead?

#2: Not Guilty.

....several minutes go by......

Judge: Has the jury reached a verdict?

the World: Yes. We find the defendant GUILTY on all counts of being the worst kicker in football!!!!!!!

Judge: I hereby sentence you to a life of bagging groceries......

Rocky70's picture

It's incredible how all the 'kicking experts' gather in one location (CHTV) to offer their expertise. No doubt some of the same people who wanted to ship out JJ a couple years ago. --- Think of it --- GB dumps Crosby & fans will have to find another scapegoat. (Hey, it's what PackFans are good at.)

packeraaron's picture

Wait....WAIT. People come to...a...blog...and leave their...OPINIONS? MY GOD MAN. That IS incredible!

Rocky70's picture

Nothing new. You rarely have anything to offer except your flippant attitude. Don't you have something to post at B/R? ---- LOL.

packeraaron's picture

<em>Nothing new.</em>

From you? Without question.

Chris Davis's picture

Facts are Facts Rocky70. From my account Aaron Nagler has done Packer Nation well in being Honest! This has nothing to do with JJ, as he is a receiver and is Coach-able. A kicker has to have the natural ability. Mason does not! Look at the stats!

Derek's picture

Go post somewhere else, Rocky

Rocky70's picture

""Judge: In the case of the World vs. Mason Crosby, Mr. Crosby, how do you plead?
#2: Not Guilty.
….several minutes go by……
Judge: Has the jury reached a verdict?
the World: Yes. We find the defendant GUILTY on all counts of being the worst kicker in football!!!!!!!
Judge: I hereby sentence you to a life of bagging groceries……""

Very impressive !! What are you? --- 15 going on 16?

Derek's picture

Rocky, since you obviously are a relative of Crosby, go post on MasonCrosbyTV.com.

Look at NFL stats for all kickers, like the rest of us do, and you'll see Crosby is by far the worst in the NFL. Case closed.

cow42's picture

rocky -

even i think you're off your rocker.

Rocky70's picture

Come on Cow. You're still trying to convince everyone that being 10-4 is bad. You've used up all your credibility. Your best bet is to look forward to being right in season 2013. You've completely blown 2012 'out of the water'.

cow42's picture

i may be wrong (a lot) but at least i believe what i'm saying.

i don't think that's true in your case.
i think you just like to get people riled up.

i'm gonna go watch the Titans now. Gotta find out what they're better at than the Packers (other than kicker and offensive line - those are automatic no matter who the Pack plays).

Mojo's picture

Wow, even I'm on Cow's side on this one v. Rocky.

kennypayne's picture

Yeah and some of these fans probly wanted to get rid of Alan Barbre and clamored for Bishop to get into the lineup too so what do they know. They also likely did not want to keep J. Harrell on the roster for as long as he was. Fools.

"Kicking experts" indeed. Can't these fans understand how difficult it was to kick on that poor Soldier Field turf in such blustery conditions? Oh wait, 40-year old street free agent Olindo Mare made 2 kicks after signing with the Bears mid-week.

I want to be a good company man, I really do, I just can't follow what the excuse is this week to support an historically back kicker.

PackersRS's picture

Let me get this one straight. You, defending one of Ted Thompsons's decidion?

The Mayans were right. I'd like to say my thank you to everybody in here, from the bloggers to the commenters to Corey Behnke. It's been a blessing. See you in the afterlife.

Or, wait a minute! Do you just like to be contrary and derogative to people without purpose? Well, other than get reactions, that is...

Fish/Crane's picture

He's not just missing...he's missing greatly without signs of improvement. Nobody wants to see him gone, but nobody wants to see 50 yard field goals that are twenty yards wide.

Just kick it straight through the uprights, son. Nothing more.

FITZCORE 1252&#039;S EVO's picture

"Nobody wants to see him gone".

BULLSHIT! Don't speak for me... He shouldn't have been allowed on the plane home. Or do they bus it to Chi? Either way, I WANT HIM GONE.

GBP 4 LIFE

cheesewhizzer's picture

Waiting week by week for Mason Crosby to correct his abysmal 58.6% field goal percentage is no longer a matter of loyalty, it's arrogance. Can we afford to lose a playoff game wondering if he will correct his physical and mental funk? I say make a change and sign another kicker NOW!!!!

jim's picture

Crosby has proven that he can do the job. for whatever reason that we are not getting the results that we would like, is that enough reason to look for a new kicker? so many people wanted james jones neck, thompson's, bush"s, hawk's, capers', mc carthys', and slocum's as well.....where would we be if that happened? come to think of it, rodgers isnt having his best season either, so when is he going to be put out to pasture, too? have some patience. slumps happen. tryng to get out of them often extends them. this is eating at crosby more than you can imagine, and WHEN he breaks this slump, all the hysteria will disappear..... the packers are doing the right thing.

KennyPayne's picture

Actually, at this point with his historically poor % of made kicks (in fact he is just 50% on his last 24 attempts) and given that McCarthy has shunned kicking 40+ yard FGs in Chicago and at Detroit because of his lack of confidence in Crosby, it is an indisputable fact that Mason Crosby has proven he can NOT do the job of a NFL kicker this year.

Time to stop feeling sorry for poor Mason who has been and is being paid MILLIONS of dollars and performing like a scared kid. He is supposedly a professional and if he is not performing like one he should be gone. No accountability sends the wrong signal to the whole organization.

subzeropr's picture

Crosby is in a bad funk but there is still hope. At least his kicks are not slicing away as they were a couple of weeks back. The first kick last Sunday he missed it badly to the right. On the second one, I bet he tried to compensate for the first and aimed at the left goal post. The kick went straight to where he aimed it... He will be ok and if not we will lose in the playoffs and we will be back next year with him or another kicker. That is how it is going to be... so relax...

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