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Crosby, Ripkowski Show Old Warts at Family Night

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Crosby, Ripkowski Show Old Warts at Family Night

Another Green Bay Packers Family Night is in the books and by most accounts, it was a success.  The weather threatened to alter or cancel the night at the outset but cooperated so that the crowd of 65,000+ could enjoy the night.

While it's tough for those out of market to watch live, the advent of social media has allowed many to feel like they're right there on top of the action.  Many, myself included, were glued to their Twitter timeline waiting for the next update from the night.  Many of the reports were good.  Others were not.

Aaron Rodgers looked good in limited reps and seems to have a love affair with his tight ends.  Ty Montgomery had quite a few touches and appears ready for the season and the rookie backs appeared to be holding their own in pass protection, something many rookie backs struggle to learn.

On the flip side were kicker Mason Crosby and fullback Aaron Ripkowski.  Crosby entered the day having missed just one field goal attempt since training camp opened.  He was just 6-11 on the night.  Ripkowski had the ball stripped and fumbled during a two-minute team period.

In Crosby's case, it was an odd regression for the same guy who has been so good for most of his 10-year career and who hit the game-winner in Dallas to send the Packers to a NFC championship game.

In that NFC championship game in Atlanta, Ripkowski put the ball on the ground for the first time all season.  The Packers lost the ball and, shortly thereafter, the game and their 2016 season.  

Ball security issues have always chapped the hide of head coach Mike McCarthy.  Ripkowski has come on and filled the role vacated by John Kuhn and while the Ripper isn't quite what Kuhn was in his prime, he's more than adequate at the fullback position.

Crosby's history shows that it may not yet be time to panic.  His bounce-back after a rough 2012 season is well-documented.  He was able to do what so many have not in the past: get his head straight.  He's a consummate professional and knows how to get through a rough outing like this past weekend's.  

Fortunately, it was just a practice and many reports were that with a new long snapper and holder, the trio haven't quite gelled.  By some accounts, we shouldn't be surprised if Brett Goode is back in town soon.  Still, I have to admit, seeing the results flashed me back to the days where Crosby lining up was less than a 50-50 proposition.  Let's hope Crosby doesn't go full Blair Walsh.  A team with such promise having to find a new place kicker this close to the season could be disastrous.

In Ripkowski's case, the only thing to say is that it wasn't in a live game that matters.  Defenses know when a runner is struggling and focus on trying to pry the ball loose.  With every fumble, game or practice, Ripkowski puts a bigger target on himself to would-be tacklers.

All in all, this is the time to make the mistakes and get them worked out.  The lights come on for real in just over a month and there will be many eyes on Crosby and Ripkowski's performances between now and then.


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (15) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RCPackerFan's picture

I really wonder how much of the problems with Crosby's kicking and Vogel's consistency is due to the snaps they are receiving. One of the punts that Vogel got he had to jump really high for it. And one of the snaps that he got to hold for Crosby, was off. That is what I could see from my big comfy chair at home while watching.

I wouldn't be surprised if they brought Goode back.

As far as Ripkowski, the fumble handoff, is it completely his fault or did Rodgers fumble it handing it to him?
I will admit that my first thought was bringing me back to the NFCCG, but then a replay looked like he never really got the ball, or was expecting it? I just question if it was a miscommunication type of play more then anything.

croatpackfan's picture

I agree with your comment. I think it is not on Crosby's or Rips' back. It would be nice to rewatch that handoff. Who is responsible, Aaron or Aaron?

RCPackerFan's picture

And I'm not saying that they aren't at fault, but in Crosby's case he can only kick what is put in front of him. While Vogel maybe at fault, for him to do his job, it becomes much harder if he has to reach everywhere for the snaps. A great snap makes his job much easier.

It will be something to watch and see what happens.

croatpackfan's picture

Oh, there is a lot of things to watch and see how it will pan out... But I think, regarding that fumble, Aaron is definitely guilty one!

Bedrock's picture

No, I completely disagree. It was Aaron's fault.

Nick Perry's picture

On top of Crosby's poor Family Night showing I've read that some of his attempts in practice haven't looked the same either. He may have been 22 of 23 in TC so far but Crosby's kicks haven't looked the same this year as years past. Holder? Long Snapper?? I'd start with bringing back Goode. If the concern is whether or not he can hold up physically for the season I get that. But lets worry about that when/if it presents itself.

Crosby IMO is one of the best kickers in the NFL. Before the NFCCG Crosby hadn't missed a FG attempt in the postseason since 2010, and that was from over 50 yards. Now THATS money folks! Hopefully this addressed and addressed quickly because the Packers will need a focused Crosby this year.

RCPackerFan's picture

Right now I'd start with the snapper. Like I mentioned above I saw a couple of bad snaps. The one for Vogel he had to jump and reach as far as he could to catch it. Then come back down and try to get the punt off. And one of the kicks I noticed the snap was way off. If the snap is off the timing gets way off.
McCarthy said the whole operation was off. Well the operation starts with the snapper.

Don Hutson's picture

There is a reason why you have training camp and preseason. The Crosby/kicking game issues are getting new parts to mesh, at best; replacing defective parts at worst. There are a few weeks yet to sort this out. The Ripowski hand-off fumble certainly resurects an unhappy memory, but doesn't define a pattern, YET! Take a deep breath, try not to cough.

Savage57's picture

Ripkowksi fumble in the NFCCG - 4 guys riding him for 5 yards, one strips the ball out.

Ripkowski fumble on Family Night - botched handoff.

Not even close to the same, and nothing to worry about.

Since '61's picture

Bring back Goode. When he was handling the LS role you never heard his name which is the best thing that you can say about a long snapper. Why even screw around with such an important position that was working fine? At least bring in some competition for the current LS. Thanks, Since '61

Mojo's picture

From what I've heard the Pack weren't enamored with Goode in coverage. With Goode getting injured a while back, they figured it might be the time to upgrade the position and at the same time save money. It's what they should be doing as a organization - upgrading the roster.

As far as what happened this Saturday, it could be botched operations from Hart to Vogel that threw Crosby off, but I will remind everyone that in 2012 when Crosby went into shankfest mode while hitting less than 64% of his FG's his longsnapper and holder were no other than seasoned pros Goode and Masthay.

Matt Gonzales's picture

Goode is a known quantity and is currently a street FA. The Packers really don't need to be in a rush to bring him in, should they decide they need to replace the current LS. My guess is they wait to see how the PS shakes out and go from there.

Finwiz's picture

Hopefully the Ripper won't be carrying the ball much, so no danger of a repeat of ATL in the playoffs, or losing another critical game. Fumble fingers

Bedrock's picture

How many team activities does a long-snapper really participate? I read it was a laces issue...that he was inconsistent getting the laces in a position where Vogel didn't need to turn the ball. Well, get it figured out! Rotate the ball a 1/8 turn pre-snap? Overall consistency? Either way, 120 minutes of practice allows a specialist plenty of time to experiment and get this figured out.

Fordham Ram's picture

Goode has been snapping to Crosby for years. I know he's old but if he can make an accurate snap on one leg he should be brought back. You can't fool around with the kicking game. Go with what you know, otherwise your flirting with disaster.

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