Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby has one of the strongest legs in the NFL. He was also one of the most accurate kickers in the game.
The key word: was.
Last season was no doubt Crosby’s worst season as a pro. He had a career-low 63.6 field goal percentage, which was second worst in the league. Crosby also struggled mightily in the 50+ yard attempts, the same range that made him a dangerous kicker in previous seasons. In nine attempts, Crosby only made only two of these long range field goals last season, the longest being from 54 yards.
The problems for Crosby started week 5 against the Indianapolis Colts. Prior to that game, Crosby was five for five on the season. In the third quarter with the Packers leading 21-13, Crosby missed a 52 yard field goal, wide right. That missed field goal proved to be costly as the Colts scored a touchdown on their next drive to cut the lead to two. With the game on the line in the 4th quarter, Crosby lined up for a game-winning field goal. The kick never had a chance, missing wide right again, and the Packers lost the game.
That started a slump for the Packers’ kicker. With the exception of the game against the St. Louis Rams where he went 3 for 4, Crosby went a combined 4 for 9 over the next four games. In week 13 at home against the Minnesota Vikings, Crosby went 3 for 4, but those three makes barely made it inside the goalpost.
It was that game against the Vikings that gave Packer fans a glimpse of hope for their kicker. In the season finale against the Vikings, Crosby went 2 for 2, including a 51 yarder. In the playoffs, Crosby made both of his field goals, although neither being greater than 31 yards. His good finish to last season is what gives Crosby confidence coming into the new year. With hard work and determination, Crosby might be able to end his kicking woes. If at any point Crosby starts to struggle like last year, head coach Mike McCarthy has made it known that he is willing to make a change. The Packers signed kicker Giorgio Tavecchio to a three year contract as competition to Crosby. The pressure is now on Crosby. He needs to return to his old form, or he might be out of a job.