Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mason Crosby Has To Be Replaced

I have a lot of patience with coaching and front office decisions because there is usually more than one point of view. Sometimes patience is rewarded, but an NFL career is such a short time period that maybe a quick hook is the way to go. The Green Bay Packers have usually been aggressive about making personnel changes, replacing aging, underperforming veterans with younger players, but the decision to stand by K Mason Crosby has become a glowing exception.
Maybe this is a rhetorical question. There's no excuse now for avoiding a change. Even earlier in the season, when Crosby's kicking percentage was higher than his unbelievably awful 58.6% (17 of 29), he was missing badly at times. This isn't a recent problem; he's been struggling all season.

Maybe the memories of releasing P Jon Ryan factor into this decision and they felt like they gave up too soon on him, which happens to be the truth. Ryan wasn't great with the Packers, but he turned it up as soon as he arrived in Seattle, and he's gone onto have a solid career. The Packers, on the other hand, struggled for two seasons with a couple replacement punters before finding P Tim Masthay, who was awful in his first half-season before becoming a solid player.

They're right on some level: Crosby is going to figure it out at some point. But right now, they should have no faith that he'll figure it out this season. Kickers are often inconsistent, but it's unknown when they'll come out of a slump. Betting on Crosby to find his groove again as the playoffs start is a huge leap of faith.

In general, under 85% is poor for a kicker. Currently there are 16 kickers who have 15 or more attempts this season and are over the 85% mark. This isn't an unrealistic goal and Crosby is nowhere near hitting it. The cap savings and money paid to him don't even matter at this point; he's unacceptable at any price.

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