There is a short list of athletes in professional sports that are deemed to be just a little different than the rest. Hockey and soccer goalies, closers in baseball and kickers in the NFL.
All these players that play these positions are regarded differently than their peers in that their entire skill set seems to balance on their mental being. In hockey, the team with the goalie who is on a hot streak is usually the team that makes a run in the playoffs, a run-of-the-mill goalie in soccer could shut out the best team, a closer who knows he can strike out anybody, can, and will. You know the drill.
The catch with these players is that when they have their confidence shaken or are in a funk, then they really lose it all.
Mason Crosby is in a funk, and it is a bad one.
Up until he hit the field goal in the final seconds on Sunday against the Lions, Crosby had missed seven of his last twelve field goal attempts. While it is difficult just by watching him, it looks like Crosby has almost no confidence in himself.
Now Crosby hasn’t been an automatic kicker his entire career, minus last season he hovered around 77-78 percent field goals made for a season. But the questioning aspect of this season is that last year Crosby was very good.
Last season Crosby hit 86 percent of his field goals, including eight from 40+ yards, three of those being from 50+.
The key issue with Crosby’s struggles this season is that fans are worried he won’t get out of his funk and his struggles will continue.
McCarthy said after the game that Crosby is the Packers kicker and will remain as such but the threat is there that Crosby could be removed. Crosby will most likely spend time working out the kinks, but it seems to be all mental issues at this point.
Crosby did make the final field goal of the game, after missing the first two, so hopefully he is back on the right track but if he can’t get it figured out soon the Packers will have to look somewhere else for a kicker. The Packers can’t go into their playoff run with a kicker who misses over half of his field goals. The Packers got lucky on Sunday by not having Crosby’s two misses hurt them, but they won’t always get that lucky.
Crosby needs to get back on track or the Packers will have to look to a new kicker and they will have to do it fast.