Thursday, March 21, 2013

Will Mason Crosby Remain With The Packers in 2013?

K Mason Crosby had an epic meltdown last season and only a late-season surge back to barely competent kept him from being a major lighting rod this offseason. Mike McCarthy was asked about him on Wednesday and admitted that "competition's good." The following tweet pretty much sums up my response:
2012 was an absolute disaster for Crosby. I've been writing every spring about how the Packers need to sign someone to compete against him. They don't need to use a draft pick, nearly every kicker in the NFL was either undrafted or released by some other team, but spend a few thousand bucks on a signing bonus for a rookie to see if they can do better.

The coaches have had this love of Crosby that I can't explain. Since his rookie season, when he beat out Dave Rayner in training camp, I can't recall whether the Packers have ever had a player in camp to challenge Crosby. When he was a free agent before the 2011 season, there was no doubt the Packers would re-sign him. McCarthy's comment above was the first negative comment I can recall seeing, and it took an epic collapse (among other bad games) to bring it about.

And this isn't about piling on Crosby for one bad season. Kickers are inconsistent, and bad stretches happen even to great kickers, but Crosby's been mediocre for a while. Part of his struggles result from kicking in bad, outdoor weather, and McCarthy's willingness to give him some long-range attempts that other coaches would avoid. But the past few seasons haven't been an impressive run.

2011 was his high water mark with an 86% success rate (10th best). Going back further, he was 78% in 2010 (22nd best), 75% in 2009 (25th best), 79% in 2008 (26th best), and 79% in 2007 as a rookie (24th best). Being accurate isn't everything for a kicker. Sebastian Janikowski frequently has one of the worst success rates and remains the highest paid kicker in the NFL. However, Crosby's bad 2012 season put a lot of strain on the team and his missed field goals have lost them some games in the past.

Crosby might still win the starting job next season, but here's to bringing in some competition for him this summer.

No comments: