Mason Crosby running out of excuses
By Mike Vandermause, Green Bay Press Gazette
~GREEN BAY – After a shaky performance at Family Night on Saturday at Lambeau Field, Green Bay Packers place-kicker Mason Crosby could be in danger of losing his job.
Crosby made just 3-of-8 field goals during the scrimmage in front of 63,047 fans, while the man gunning for his job, first-year kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, made 6-of-7.
It’s still early in training camp, but Crosby’s performance is giving the Packers serious concern.
“He’s definitely got to do better than that, because that’s not going to cut it,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
Crosby, who is entering his seventh season, missed a 48-yard field goal attempt that bounced off the right upright early in the scrimmage, then came back to make a 40-yarder.
But the scrimmage ended with each kicker getting six tries from various distances, and Crosby made just 2-of-6 attempts, which drew some boos from the crowd.
“Just obviously disappointed with how I hit it,” said Crosby in the locker room after the scrimmage. “Obviously going to have some film to look at and evaluate.”
Crosby missed from 37, wide right from 53, wide right from 33 and wide left from 43 yards. He made kicks from 47 and 51 yards.
Crosby said he struck the ball well but took some bad lines in his aim.
“A couple of them I obviously misjudged,” he said.
When asked if he was concerned about his job status, Crosby said: “No, I’ve been hitting the ball well. Obviously extremely disappointed with how I hit it tonight. Have to evaluate that and break it down. I can’t think about things like that. I just have to go and actually work on things, make sure I hit the ball through the uprights. That’s all I can really worry about and focus on right now.”
Tavecchio made a 33-yard field goal early in the scrimmage, then hit 5-of-6 at the end. He made kicks from 37, 53, 33, 43 and 51 yards. His only miss came from 47 yards.
Going into Saturday, Crosby had made 9 of 11 field goal attempts in training camp and Tavecchio 10 of 12. Overall, Tavecchio has converted 16 of 19 field goals, while Crosby is 12 of 19.
Tavecchio wasn’t ready to claim he had taken the lead in the Packers’ kicking competition.
“I really couldn’t say,” Tavecchio said. “As I’ve always said, I take it one day at a time. I felt like I had a decent day out there.
“The fans were great. The atmosphere was really one and only out there. I appreciate the experience, (will) learn from it and keep moving on.”
Although they’re battling for a job, Tavecchio said he felt bad for Crosby.
“I feel for him,” said Tavecchio. “He’s a fellow kicker and I thought he struck the ball well tonight. I think he struck the ball better than I did, but the results don’t show that, and that’s the frustrating part as a kicker.”
Tavecchio’s 53-yard field goal hit the crossbar and bounced over. His performance impressed McCarthy.
“Giorgio’s distance definitely has improved since the spring,” said McCarthy. “I think he’s done a very good job of that. I thought he hit a couple nice kickoffs too, particularly with the height.”
Tavecchio attempted two kickoffs during the scrimmage, putting one at the goal-line with 4.2 seconds of hang time and another at the back of the end zone with 3.7 hang time.
Crosby kicked off three times, with two of them going 8 yards deep in the end zone with 4.0 seconds and 3.8 seconds of hang time. His put his other kickoff at the 2-yard line (4.0 hang time).
Crosby had his worst season as a kicker in 2012 when he made just 64% of his field goal attempts, but he said there has been no carry-over into training camp this season.
“I’m way past that,” Crosby said of last season. “I’m just going and working on things. Tonight I didn’t hit the ball the way I wanted to. I didn’t hit it on the lines I wanted to. I had great lift, hit some good balls, just picked some bad lines. That’s something I really need to work on.”
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