2013 Packers Position Group Analysis: Kickers & Specialists
Overview: To kick off the next series of evaluations on AllGreenBayPackers.com, the ALLGBP staff are going to be analyzing each position group starting off with the specialists. Overall, the specialists did a pretty good job keeping their names off the papers and blogs, outside of about 6 weeks of utter CROSBPOCALYPSE.
Where We Are Now
Here are the current suspects;
- LS Brett Goode (Undrafted, 2008)
- P Tim Masthay aka Ginger Wolverine (Undrafted, 2010)
- K Mason Crosby (6th round, 2007)
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So that’s where we are. Not much to report here; specialists are often drafted in the later rounds or not at all, and the Packers are no different, only using a 6th round pick on Crosby and picking up both Goode and Masthay off the free agent street.
- Goode: Goode again finished the season without a bad snap and even recorded a tackle in week 9 against the Cardinals, a pretty hard feat considering Goode has the least idea of what’s going on on the field since his head is between his legs at the beginning of the play. Goode was also not responsible for any blocked or batted kicks which overall for a long snapper basically is a job well done
- Masthay: Tim Masthay ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of punting efficiency on ProFootballFocus, which can mostly be attributed to his lack of power, but Masthay makes up for that and more with his accuracy and hangtime. Masthay uses his “aussie” style drop kick as well as his good directional skills to pin opponents back and usually never outkicks his coverage. Outside of one misguided pass play that I wouldn’t really put as Masthay’s fault, Masthay had a consistent yet basically unremarkable season, but for a special teams unit that has been desperate for just an average punter after Jon Ryan’s departure, Masthay was a godsend.
- Crosby: What can we say about Crosby that hasn’t already been said? He had a terrible segment (Weeks 8 to 16) sandwiched between two overall good segments (Week 1 to 7 and through the playoffs). At it’s lowest you had to question how much Crosby’s play was effecting McCarthy’s strategic thinking; while McCarthy may not have lost complete faith in his kicker, trying out risky 4th down trick plays started to suddenly seem like a better bet. Also, it seems like Crosby and fellow kicker David Akers proved really how important the kicking game is to a team’s success with the Packers making it to the Divisional Round while the 49ers got to the Superbowl. Overall, I think many fans only remember the bad bit in the middle but overall Crosby still managed to come out of the season with a 14.7 overall grade in 2012, while certainly not a good grade by any means, not the absolute dumpster fire fans make his season out to be.
Where We Want To Be
Overall the specialists played well; both Masthay and Goode played up to standard and I would be very surprised to see the Packers even waste a roster spot on another punter or long snapper, even if only to provide Masthay and Goode some competition during the offseason and OTAs. On the other hand, based on both Ted Thompson’s and Mike McCarthy’s public claims of faith to Crosby I wouldn’t be surprised to see either a veteran free agent or undrafted rookie get onto the 80 man roster at the beginning of the offseason to try to push Crosby a little during training camp. Would they go as far as spending a late draft pick on another kicker? My intuition says no, Crosby was recently resigned to a fairly hefty contract so cutting him is unlikely.
How We Get There
The specialist are in place and outside of maybe some cheap competition for Crosby I don’t see much happening in the offseason. Packers and fans alike are just hoping that Crosby’s season was just a aberration and he will regress to the mean and end up being a ~80% kicker with a strong leg.——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.