Will Packers Kicker Mason Crosby Bounce Back In 2022?

It was the best of time, it was the worst of time. While Charles Dickens died long before Mason Crosby was born, his famous opening lines to "A Tale of Two Cities" could easily be describing the last two seasons of Crosby's career.

In 2020, the Packers all-time leading scorer had the best season of any kicker in franchise history. He made all 16 of his field goal attempts and kicked 59 extra points. No kicker in the 100-plus year history of the Packers had ever enjoyed a perfect season kicking field goals before. That was the 13th time in 14 seasons that Crosby had topped 100 points for a season.

But 2021 was a tougher season for the former Colorado star. He missed nine field goal tries in 34 attempts, his least accurate season since 2012. In the Packers playoff loss to the 49ers, he had a field goal blocked just before halftime that could have made a big difference in the outcome of the game.

Crosby isn't fully to blame for his struggles last season. The Packers blocking on field goals left a lot to be desired. Punter Cory Bojorquez also struggled as his holder. The team also went through two long snappers last season in Hunter Bradley and Steve Wirtel but neither of them was very consistent which further disrupted Crosby's timing.

Crosby has been a Packer since 2007. He has spent 15 seasons with the team and is one of only two players left on the current roster who were on the last Packers team to win the Super Bowl back in 2010 (Aaron Rodgers is the other).

He is also the Packers' all-time leading scorer with 1,806 points, more than 700 more than second-place Ryan Longwell.

Crosby will turn 38 before the start of the 2022 NFL season. That's ancient for a football player although it's not unusual for kickers who take care of themselves to kick effectively into their 40s.

The Packers are hoping that Crosby can bounce back like he did after his rough 2012 season. There are reasons the team wants to bring Crosby back this season. He has always been a clutch kicker. Even last year, he booted a last-second field goal that beat the 49ers in Week 3 and an overtime game-winner against the eventual AFC Champion Bengals two weeks later.

Crosby's most famous clutch kick came in the 2016 NFC Divisional Playoffs against the Cowboys. Crosby kicked a 56-yard field goal with 1:33 left to put the Packers ahead by three points and then kicked the game-winning, 51-yard field goal as time expired to give the Packers a dramatic 34-31 win to send them to the NFC Championship Game.

Crosby alo knows how to kick at Lambeau Field which can be very tricky especially in November and December. When the weather gets cold, the ball gets harder and tougher to kick for long distances. The winds also swirl at Lambeau and Crosby knows how to read the winds and adjust accordingly. That takes time to learn and master.

GM Brian Gutekunst was quick to dispel rumors that the Packers may try to save cap space and look elsewhere for a kicker this season. Earlier in the offseason, he told reporters, "For where our football team is, having a championship kind of kicker, a guy who can compete at that level, is important."

Gutekunst added, "Obviously, Mason had to adjust to a lot of things that were happening with our special teams unit and the snappers and the new punter and holder. With those moving parts, he had to adjust and I thought he did a really nice job toward the end of the year. We're in that offseason period where we get a chance to look at a lot of guys."

While the Packers want to bring Crosby back this season, they aren't taking any chances. New special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia brought in two players to challenge Crosby before OTAs in former practice squad player J.J. Molson and Dominik Eberle.

Crosby outkicked both of his competitors during OTAs and madatory minicamp. Molson was let go first and Eberle, who Bisaccia was familiar with from their time with the Raiders, was also cut. The Packers then signed Gabe Brkic off waivers from the Vikings. He will be Crosby's competition for the kicking job heading into training camp. 

The Packers are hoping Crosby will be their kicker in 2022. It is his job to lose. He is popular in the locker room and with the fan base and his experience and reputation as a clutch kicker is invaluable. But the team cannot afford a repeat of the disastrous season they had last year on special teams. Crosby has to win his job back and be better than he was a  year ago to keep it.

 

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (42)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Swisch's picture

June 23, 2022 at 12:23 pm

Mason Crosby has been and continues to be a treasure for the Packers, but seems to be underappreciated.
I'd be super reluctant to part with him until his skills significantly decline and we find someone significantly better -- especially realizing the sunny days of training camp are nowhere near the wintry gusts of December.
Crosby has been like a stellar closer in baseball who is going to come out on top almost every time, and is almost impossible to replace.
I doubt that most of the problems kicking field goals last season were due to Crosby, and would guess that very few were due to him.
Look at the Bears letting go of Robbie Gould. It's been a tough time finding someone as good as Gould, so to speak.
Crosby is also golden, and these old pros who have proven time and again to come through under pressure in adverse conditions are to be cherished as long as possible.

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murf7777's picture

June 23, 2022 at 04:29 pm

Yes, of course he will bounce back as you said Swisch and I’m not sure why you got downvoted, but all of the issues last year shouldn’t be thrown at Crosby. It takes a long snapper and holder as well to perform at a high level. Barring he has that a definitive Yes he will perform above average in the NFL as he has for the past years.

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Swisch's picture

June 23, 2022 at 04:51 pm

Thanks, murf, for the supportive comment.
I think if I just reported the weather, I'd get a couple of downvotes without any explanation.

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Rarescope's picture

June 23, 2022 at 05:38 pm

It's the offseason, those downvoters gotta stay in shape just like the rest of the team I guess :P

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Swisch's picture

June 23, 2022 at 06:50 pm

:-)

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TheVOR's picture

June 23, 2022 at 07:08 pm

Crosby is one of my all time favorite Packers players. The bottom line for me is I wouldn’t want any other kicker competing with him this year or in past years to be counted on for that monster game winner.

He’s a top 3 favorite player for me on this team and a top 10 all timer for me dating back to 1963.

Hope he’s rock solid in preseason and is the 2022 and on kicker until it’s obvious he not the guy. I don’t see that. I think with this holder and coach, He’s going to have a monster year.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 26, 2022 at 04:16 am

Well, Crosby was the worst field goal kicker in the NFL last year (min 22 attempts). He was subpar on kickoffs, and that's not likely to change. He was good in 2019 and 2020. He has been clutch. He has been below average more years than he has been above average.

I have been busy and am just catching up here on CHTV, so I didn't down vote you. That said, while I am fine with Crosby returning in 2022, he just hasn't been all that great in GB, even if CHTV ranked him as the best kicker in team history. The big thing about Crosby is that he made 88.6% of his attempts during playoff games, and that's why I am fine with his contract and probable return for the 2022 season.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 23, 2022 at 12:43 pm

I think he's the best kicker we've ever had. Chester Marcol, Jan Stenerud, Ryan Longwell....all really good, but I'd pick Crosby.

He gets all, or most, of the blame for a missed placement kick, and that's a little unfair because he's part of a trio there....long snapper, holder, kicker......and if either of the first two don't execute, there's a problem. It's a machine, it's a unit. Crosby missed several FGs last year, but the previous year, he didn't miss a single FG attempt, so I'm inclined to think he maybe wasn't as responsible for those misses as the holder was.

The Tale of Two Cities reference made me laugh because we joke that there are two identical twins: Makin' Crosby and Missin' Crosby. And when he's Makin', he's pretty good. He'd made like 30 in a row or something going into the Cincinnati game last year.....I think we still remember what happened. Then his evil twin showed up out of nowhere.

I'd like to see us kick it out of the endzone and make everybody start at the 25, and I'm not certain he still has the leg for that. A missed FG has the same net effect as a turnover, so every one of those missed FGs is like a fumble, and we had quite a few last year. I'm generally a fan of going for it whenever possible.

I mean, for example, it's 4th and 5 at the 32. You can bring in Crosby and have a pretty good chance of getting 3 points. Or you can go for it. If you succeed, now you've got a chance for a TD. Additionally, you've just held onto the ball for another couple of minutes, even if you have to settle for a FG instead of a TD.

If you go for it and fail, it's still better than a missed FG because you aren't penalized the 7 yards.

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dobber's picture

June 23, 2022 at 02:34 pm

"He'd made like 30 in a row or something going into the Cincinnati game last year.....I think we still remember what happened."

Yeah: CHTV posted an article about Crosby being automatic and crushed his mojo. Way to go CHTV! ;)

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mnbadger's picture

June 23, 2022 at 12:50 pm

"Crosby isn't fully to blame for his struggles last season." Gil could have stopped there.
No, MC wasn't perfect.
But with so much ineffective play and player turnover around him, nobody could have succeeded.
And by nobody, I'm including Jesus, Buddha, Mother nature nor any other other-worldly force, would have been above 70%.
Stability, execution and Success in 2022. GPG!

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splitpea1's picture

June 23, 2022 at 01:30 pm

Crosby can bounce back in his FG/XP accuracy with a reliable holder and the appropriate protection alignments and assignments. Plenty of practice with the new holder should translate into a predictable routine once he trots out onto the field. The blocked kick in the SF game was not remotely Crosby's fault, as Ward was almost in his lap after the ball left his foot.

The question is whether or not he can improve upon his touchback percentage, which wasn't great. Either way, our coverage units are going to have to do a better job keeping the opponent penned up to start their possessions.

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Starrbrite's picture

June 23, 2022 at 01:34 pm

It was patently clear Crosby was not confident in his snapper and/or holder. He will bounce back in a big way—I see a 90% field goal rate and 100% PAT’s.
My biggest concern is his length on kickoffs.

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croatpackfan's picture

June 24, 2022 at 03:15 am

That is what I'm worried about also.

As I discussed few months ago, if Masons lost the strength in his kicking leg, that will also affects his accuracy as well. Either he need to kick lower trajectory on the longer field goals to reach the target or he will lose his precision on longer kick by putting higher effort to kick the ball. That is physics, not wishes.

On the other hand, I like Mason, his silent present and calmness at the crucial moments. I just hope it was just another bad season he will recover from it...

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Belleview's picture

June 23, 2022 at 01:44 pm

Mason Crosby should always be on the Packer sidelines and be our kicker. He has been a loyal Packer and when attending the Wine and Cheese reception he was always there with his wife (hope she is doing well) and family. You couldn't ask for a truer Packer and someone who needs to make his own decisions. He was not the reason for the loses. The entire team needed to upscale their play and not depend on one player to win the game. This is a team sport and everyone has to do their best. He has always gone above doing his best. When he had to support the team on runbacks of his kick off and make the tackle - really - where was the team then.

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Rarescope's picture

June 23, 2022 at 05:53 pm

What is this Wine and Cheese reception and why wasn't I invited?

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 24, 2022 at 07:40 pm

They were afraid you'd drink all the wine and eat all the cheese? Just spit balling here.😉

In the 90's I did a delivery route where one of the things I distributed was specialty cheese. I was asked to attend a wine and cheese tasting to promote the product. It was all these people in fancy clothes and fresh out of college me in jeans and t-shirt. When it was over I helped the guy that put it on load his truck. He asked me if I wanted some wine and cheese to take with me. When I told him I didn't know much about wine he gave me a 5 minute rundown on what was what and then gave me a mixed case of wine and about 10 lbs of different cheese to take home. I don't know how much the cheese was worth but I priced some of the wine and figured he gave me almost $500 worth. That was a seriously nice swag grab and free education. It was probably 15 years before I spent $40 on a bottle of wine and there were about 8 of them in the case he gave me.

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Belleview's picture

June 23, 2022 at 01:44 pm

Mason Crosby should always be on the Packer sidelines and be our kicker. He has been a loyal Packer and when attending the Wine and Cheese reception he was always there with his wife (hope she is doing well) and family. You couldn't ask for a truer Packer and someone who needs to make his own decisions. He was not the reason for the loses. The entire team needed to upscale their play and not depend on one player to win the game. This is a team sport and everyone has to do their best. He has always gone above doing his best. When he had to support the team on runbacks of his kick off and make the tackle - really - where was the team then.

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Belleview's picture

June 23, 2022 at 01:44 pm

Mason Crosby should always be on the Packer sidelines and be our kicker. He has been a loyal Packer and when attending the Wine and Cheese reception he was always there with his wife (hope she is doing well) and family. You couldn't ask for a truer Packer and someone who needs to make his own decisions. He was not the reason for the loses. The entire team needed to upscale their play and not depend on one player to win the game. This is a team sport and everyone has to do their best. He has always gone above doing his best. When he had to support the team on runbacks of his kick off and make the tackle - really - where was the team then.

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Belleview's picture

June 23, 2022 at 01:44 pm

Mason Crosby should always be on the Packer sidelines and be our kicker. He has been a loyal Packer and when attending the Wine and Cheese reception he was always there with his wife (hope she is doing well) and family. You couldn't ask for a truer Packer and someone who needs to make his own decisions. He was not the reason for the loses. The entire team needed to upscale their play and not depend on one player to win the game. This is a team sport and everyone has to do their best. He has always gone above doing his best. When he had to support the team on runbacks of his kick off and make the tackle - really - where was the team then.

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Belleview's picture

June 23, 2022 at 01:44 pm

Mason Crosby should always be on the Packer sidelines and be our kicker. He has been a loyal Packer and when attending the Wine and Cheese reception he was always there with his wife (hope she is doing well) and family. You couldn't ask for a truer Packer and someone who needs to make his own decisions. He was not the reason for the loses. The entire team needed to upscale their play and not depend on one player to win the game. This is a team sport and everyone has to do their best. He has always gone above doing his best. When he had to support the team on runbacks of his kick off and make the tackle - really - where was the team then.

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Belleview's picture

June 23, 2022 at 01:44 pm

Mason Crosby should always be on the Packer sidelines and be our kicker. He has been a loyal Packer and when attending the Wine and Cheese reception he was always there with his wife (hope she is doing well) and family. You couldn't ask for a truer Packer and someone who needs to make his own decisions. He was not the reason for the loses. The entire team needed to upscale their play and not depend on one player to win the game. This is a team sport and everyone has to do their best. He has always gone above doing his best. When he had to support the team on runbacks of his kick off and make the tackle - really - where was the team then.

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Belleview's picture

June 23, 2022 at 01:44 pm

Mason Crosby should always be on the Packer sidelines and be our kicker. He has been a loyal Packer and when attending the Wine and Cheese reception he was always there with his wife (hope she is doing well) and family. You couldn't ask for a truer Packer and someone who needs to make his own decisions. He was not the reason for the loses. The entire team needed to upscale their play and not depend on one player to win the game. This is a team sport and everyone has to do their best. He has always gone above doing his best. When he had to support the team on runbacks of his kick off and make the tackle - really - where was the team then.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

June 23, 2022 at 02:09 pm

Learn to use the internet. NO ONE wants to see your dumb post 5 times.

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PeteK's picture

June 24, 2022 at 09:15 am

A view of the bell curve. LOL

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PatrickGB's picture

June 23, 2022 at 02:02 pm

We will see how the new trio works out.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

June 23, 2022 at 02:09 pm

Let's hope it doesn't matter.

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stockholder's picture

June 23, 2022 at 02:19 pm

I have No problem with Crosby as the Kicker. The problem is the holder and ST coverage. IMO the holder should be a QB. Get his butt off the bench.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 23, 2022 at 03:13 pm

Our coverage units were fine. Do you know what the opposition's starting field position was 9th worst in the league? On average, they took over on the 27.7 yard line. That doesn't happen by luck or accident....we didn't give up very many long returns.

Our frustration(s) were about the missed FGs, and multiple miscues on the punt return unit (A fumble recovered by Amari, a fumble out of bounds by Amari, a fumble by Cobb that we lost and a punt that bounced off Malik Taylor's foot while he was laying on the ground.

My issue with special teams isn't who is on them, or who the coach is. My issue is doing everything you can to minimize the ability of special teams to hurt you. Since missing a FG is the same as a turnover, having that unit is primo importante. Avoid fumbles on kick and punt returns by not returning. Start on the 20, or 25. Put Rodgers on the field and in a few plays we'll be at midfield. We don't need that extra 0.8 yards of field position we might get from a return, and we damn sure don't need the penalties or injuries or turnovers

Catchthefrickinball. Put your offense on the field.

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stockholder's picture

June 23, 2022 at 04:23 pm

Your figures are noted. And yes there were fumbles. And we did have a lot of injures. And yes, there were blocked kicks. But The coach wouldn't have been terminated.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

July 05, 2022 at 04:33 pm

So dumb. ONE slight error and you've kicked your back up QB in the hands and created a horrible issue.
It's not the 1940s.
Maybe you should join us in the present, where we don't abuse players in practice and act like football is still a bloodthirsty bloodsport where people have to get hurt.
It's still a great game.
It's just modern and more humane.
And not dumb.
Like you.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

July 05, 2022 at 04:33 pm

So dumb. ONE slight error and you've kicked your back up QB in the hands and created a horrible issue.
It's not the 1940s.
Maybe you should join us in the present, where we don't abuse players in practice and act like football is still a bloodthirsty bloodsport where people have to get hurt.
It's still a great game.
It's just modern and more humane.
And not dumb.
Like you.

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Roadrunner23's picture

June 23, 2022 at 02:37 pm

The Packers need an NFL tested long snapper or the whole operation is screwed!

Gutey go get one!

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Rarescope's picture

June 23, 2022 at 06:02 pm

We could have had the pick of the long snapper litter with any one of our picks in the first... like... 7 rounds but NOOOOO, we go linebacker, lineman, WR (did we really need another one of those?!?!) then some offensive linemen when we'll have two bionic commandos coming back from ACL tears just as soon as they leave the PUP list, then more wide receivers even though we drafted one at the top of the second round. What was Gutey thinking?

All kidding aside (hey, it's the offseason, gotta have some fun here and there) why did they mess with any single component of that clutch kicking team from 2020?

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GregC's picture

June 23, 2022 at 06:20 pm

The botched Dickens quote was a painful way to begin the article (it's "times," not "time.") As for Crosby, I get a little more nervous about him every year, simply because he's getting old. His hair has been white for about 10 years. But the kickoffs are still adequate, so his leg strength seems to be holding up. I thought the Packers really liked J.J. Molson and were planning to have him replace Crosby this year, but they must've kept Molson around just as a possible COVID replacement. He's gone now. I hope Crosby's got at least another good year left in him. The new holder should help, but I have zero confidence in the long snapper.

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PeteK's picture

June 24, 2022 at 09:22 am

How this botch, "Happy teams are all alike, every unhappy team is unhappy in its own way". LOL

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Slim11's picture

June 24, 2022 at 09:42 am

If the LS is Wirtel, then I agree. A new LS was signed after a tryout during minicamp and OTAs. On paper, I don’t see much of a difference.

Crosby provides an additional advantage most teams don’t enjoy. He can tackle. When returning kickoffs against the Packers, the opposing KR has no guarantee he can run right over Crosby. One season, against the Vikings, Crosby made the tackle AND forced a fumble which GB recovered. Replays showed it was not a fluke and Crosby knew what to do given the opportunity.

In early season games, his kick offs are making it out of the end zone. When it starts getting colder, his distance diminishes and has been more noticeable in recent seasons. Like Rodgers, Crosby’s time in Green Bay is nearing its end. Crosby will be difficult to replace.

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PhantomII's picture

June 23, 2022 at 08:16 pm

Crosby plays with ST....SPECIAL...SO SPECIAL in fact we have DL blocking on offensive snaps. Yea, a real kind of genius there. Anyways, there is a new Sheriff in town running that show who knows what he's doing. I don't expect near the debacle of last year happening this year. The punter was rattled most of the time also from poor ST OL blocking and poor general makeup of ST in general. Crosbys biggest problem is inability to kick off thru the end zone any longer. I would get a punter with a big leg who can kick off also leaving Crosby for last resort and have him concentrate on field goals.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 24, 2022 at 08:14 am

Missin' Crosby, Mason Crossbar, whatever name you call him, he is the Green Bay Packers ALL-TIME leading scorer - for a reason. He is a great kicker and has been for a long, long time.

https://www.footballdb.com/teams/nfl/green-bay-packers/leaders/career-sc...

Here are the top ten all-time leading scorers in Packer History.
Scoring
Player Gms TD FG PAT 2Pt Pts
1. Mason Crosby, 2007-21 241 0 370 696 0 1,806
2. Ryan Longwell, 1997-05 144 0 226 376 0 1,054
3. Chris Jacke, 1989-96 126 0 173 301 0 820
4. Paul Hornung, 1957-62,64-66 104 62 66 190 0 760
5. Don Hutson, 1935-45 116 105 7 171 0 726
6. Jim Taylor, 1958-66 118 91 0 0 0 546
7. Chester Marcol, 1972-80 102 1 120 155 0 521
8. Fred Cone, 1951-57 82 16 53 200 0 455
9. Davante Adams, 2014-21 116 73 0 0 4 446
10. Jordy Nelson, 2008-17 136 69 0 0 1 416

That is domination by Mason Crosby, leading by over 750 points. That is not an accident.

He has also been money in pressure situations, Playoffs? Money. Long distance game winners? Money.

The Pack has been very lucky with the quality of kickers they have had for quite a long stretch. If you want Mason Crosby gone, be very, very careful what you are wishing for.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 24, 2022 at 07:45 pm

Marcol would have been a lot higher if he could've put down the chemistry set. Dude was ahead of his time when it came to leg strength.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 25, 2022 at 07:10 am

He was poor at ball security though, did you see the way he was carrying the ball on his TD run vs duh bares?

Like a loaf of bread! LOLOL!

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PeteK's picture

June 24, 2022 at 09:41 am

Let's leave emotions out of the the debate, We have an aging kicker that missed too many kicks wether on his own or with miscues. A very accurate kicker will be needed this year since we lost a HOF WR. O' Donnel could be an option on KOs .

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 24, 2022 at 07:48 pm

Depending on how Gould and Gostkowski do this year Crosby could push into the top 10 in scoring and is probably two decent years from being top 5. 2000 points would be a special achievement for him.

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