Category Archives: Kickers

28

February

Tim Masthay Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

 

Tim Masthay

Tim Masthay

1) Introduction:  Tim Masthay gets the job done. That’s probably the best way to describe him. He doesn’t drastically tilt the field with his powerful punts and pinpoint accuracy, but he does an adequate job. Masthay doesn’t give you much to leap out of your chair and cheer about, but he also doesn’t give you a reason to hurl your TV through the wall after consistently poor punts.

2) Profile:

Timothy James Masthay

  • Age: 26
  • Born: 4/16/1987 in Pittsburgh, Penn.
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 198
  • College: Kentucky
  • Rookie Year: 2010
  • NFL Experience: 4

Career stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Just keep doing what he does. Masthay has a lot of games where he punts in cold weather and his always hold up well.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Masthay’s net average has gotten better every season, topping off at 39.0 yards in 2013. He also notched 17 touchbacks on 34 kickoffs to start the season. If you’re looking for lowlights…well, it’s always a lowlight when Masthay comes on the field because it means the Packers are punting.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  Masthay’s consistency was a bright spot on an otherwise shaky special teams unit. If there was a special teams breakdown, it was rarely because of something Masthay screwed up.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Unfortunately, Masthay contributed too much and the Packers didn’t score enough points in their playoff loss.

Season Report Card:

(B) Level of expectations met during the season

(B-) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(B) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  B

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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27

February

Mason Crosby Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

1) Introduction:  Packers kicker Mason Crosby saw his lucrative contract tore up over the offseason and replaced with an incentive-laden deal. Message received. Crosby connected on 33 of 37 field goal attempts and even sent two 57-yarders soaring through the uprights. If Johnny Jolly wasn’t on the roster, the Packers comeback player of the year award would have probably gone to Crosby.

Packers K Mason Crosby

Packers K Mason Crosby

2) Profile:

Mason Walker Crosby

  • Age: 29
  • Born: 9/3/1984 in Lubbock, Texas
  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 212
  • College: Colorado
  • Rookie Year: 2007
  • NFL Experience: 7

Career stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Get beat out in training camp by the Italian guy with the cool name. Packers fans were done with Mason Crosby and were itching for somebody to replace him. Crosby outlasted Giorgio Tavecchio and went on to have a career season.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Crosby hit all five field-goal attempts with a long of 52 yards in week 5 against Detroit. He made his first 10 attempts and even hit 5 of 7 from beyond 50 yards after going 14 for 33 on attempts of 50 yards or more in his first six seasons. Crosby’s lowpoint came against the Eagles in week 10 where his missed kicks from 53 and 42 yards.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  The Packers comeback against the Cowboys might have fallen short if Crosby doesn’t nail a 57-yard field goal earlier in the game. Unlike in 2012, you can’t really point to a game where Crosby had an overly negative impact. Crosby took over again on kickoffs midway through the season. I guess the Packers prefer Crosby’s directional kicking over Tim Masthay’s powerful leg.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Crosby made both of his field goal attempts against the 49ers and was fine kicking the ball off.

Season Report Card:

(A) Level of expectations met during the season

(A-) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(B) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  A-

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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9

January

Kudos to Crosby: Packers Kicker Answers the Critics and Naysayers

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby

It’s all I ever wanted from him, and after seven years, I finally got it. Mason Crosby finished a season in the upper half of the kicker rankings and reliably made big kicks when they were most needed.

2013 was Crosby’s finest season as a Packer and his best field goal percentage ever, going all the way back to High School.

Compared to other kickers with at least 25 attempts, Crosby finished 12th in overall field goal percentage in 2013. That’s actually a fairly amazing stat, if you think about it. Crosby made 33 of 37 field goal attempts (89.2%) and there were still 11 kickers better than him.

That speaks to the new science of placekicking. Guys now get specialized training at an early age and advanced training in HS, college and the pros. Percentages will just continue to rise, but that’s another topic.

And before you throw the cold weather argument at me, that’s been a myth in past years (as I proved in my Mason Manifesto).

Admittedly though, the argument holds absolutely true THIS season. Since the start of November, Crosby made 18 of 20 field goals. He hadn’t missed a field goal since the Eagles game, making 18 in a row over the last 8 games, including Sunday’s playoff loss to the 49ers.

More importantly, though, he came through when the team needed it most. Without Aaron Rodgers, every point was precious. If Crosby misses just a single field goal in the Minnesota, Atlanta and Dallas games, two wins and a tie become three losses and the Chicago Bears are the NFC North Division Champs.

I’ve written plenty about Mason Crosby over the years. Because of that, and because a lot of people just don’t take the time to read carefully, I’ve been labeled as being anti-Crosby. That’s a big stretch from the truth.

Mostly, there were two things that always bothered me.

1) I never understood those fans that would say he was one of the better kickers in the NFL (not even close – read my manifesto linked above, if you haven’t before).

2) I never understood the Packers treating him like he was a top kicker, with generous raises and handing him the job every year with no competition, even after some pretty bad years (See my Mediocrity Rewarded post).

19

November

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Giants 27, Packers 13

Tramon Williams was making tackles near the line of scrimmage and intercepted a pass in the red zone. It was a big day for No. 38.

Tramon Williams was making tackles near the line of scrimmage and intercepted a pass in the red zone. It was a big day for No. 38.

For the first time in three weeks, the Green Bay Packers’ starting quarterback (Scott Tolzien) played beyond the game’s first series. So, there’s that.

In his first career start, Tolzien was able to move the Packers offense down the field on his way to three scoring drives. But much like Tolzien’s first outing with the team, his day was clouded with turnovers.

Although he completed 70 percent of his passes en route to a 339-yard day against a good Giants defense, Tolzien’s second interception to Jason Pierre-Paul clinched the game for New York, as JPP picked off the pass and raced into the end zone, extending what was a seven-point lead to 14.

And here we are. The Packers are 5-5 on the season and likely need to win five of their last six to make the playoffs.

With the Vikings next on the schedule, the Packers have a good chance at getting back over .500, despite being without Aaron Rodgers for at least another week. But then again, it’ll more than likely be another ugly slugfest in which the winner is decided by a late score.

The value of Rodgers is undeniable. Not only is he really, really good at throwing the football, eluding pressure and making pre-snap reads, but simply having No. 12 under center completely opens things up for the running game. It’s not exactly rocket science, I know. Eddie Lacy is a great back, but defenses are stacking the box in a way I–having grown up watching Rodgers and Brett Favre–have never seen.

On the sideline, Rodgers has to be looking at these defensive fronts, shaking his head and thinking “If only.” Favre is probably sitting on his recliner in his Wranglers and laughing.

Either way, the Tolzien-led Packers are the Tolzien-led Packers. The Rodgers-led Packers can beat any team in the league, in my opinion. But the Tolzien-led Packers cannot.

This week? I believe the Tolzien-led Packers can beat the Christian Ponder, Matt Cassell or Josh Freeman-led Vikings. But we will see.

Game Balls

Tramon Williams

5

November

Packers Stock Report: Oh $#!%, Aaron Rodgers is Hurt Edition

It hurts just looking at this photo. Avert your eyes. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is injured.

OhmygodOhmygodOhmygodOhmygod. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is hurt.

Now what?

Can Seneca Wallace keep the Packers alive until (if?) Rodgers returns?

Should the Packers call Favre?

Should the Packers call Flynn?

Where’s Graham Harrell when you need him?

What the hell happened to the defense on Monday?

Did the Rodgers injury somehow cause the Packers to forget how to tackle and pass protect?

What is a Shea McClellin and why did it do that to our quarterback?

The Bears still suck. Ok, that made me feel a little bit better.

Oh damn, I just remembered that Rodgers is hurt. OhmygodOhmygodOhmygodOhmygod.

Now I’m starting to panic. How can I snap out of this?

Maybe writing the Packers stock report will help. Let’s see.

On to the stock report:

Rising

Eddie Lacy
I totally forgot how awesome it is when your favorite football team has a running back that just trucks people over. Getting excited about long pass plays is awesome and everything, but there’s something about the feeling you get when a stud running back starts plowing over defenders and ripping off large chunks of yards. It makes you want to tear off your shirt and start posing like Hulk Hogan. Ok, maybe it’s just me who wants to do that every time Lacy runs someone over…

B.J. Raji
It’s been a solid run for Raji the last three games. He sniffed out a couple of screen passes against the Bears and has done an excellent job of making plays at the point of attack. Big, nimble and smart. That’s been Raji over this recent stretch of games.

Brett Favre
Wait a minute. What’s he doing on this report?

Steady

James Starks
Did Starks install a turbo button on his back when he was out? Seriously, I don’t remember him being nearly this fast. He’s firing through holes like he’s been shot out of a high-caliber rifle from a deer hunter perched high up in a tree in the woods of Mondovi, Wis.

Tim Mashthay
Punts from Masthay kept pinning the Bears deep on Monday night. Too bad the Packers defense didn’t follow through and force a turnover or make a stand late in the game.

8

October

Packers Stock Report: Back on Track Edition

Jordy Nelson vs. Detroit Lions

Jordy Nelson- “He will bring it down”

The Packers took a big step in the right direction this week with a boring, but thorough beating of the Lions. The Packers won the game where they haven’t won many lately – in the trenches.

The offensive line, especially the interior three, showed what they are capable of, going up against some of the toughest, baddest (over-rated?) hombres in the NFL and controlling them for pretty much the entire game.

The defensive line was stellar; something we first saw in the preseason and it has been consistently good four games into the season.

So let’s take a look at who’s trending and in what direction after Sunday’s game:

Rising

T.J. Lang
When matched up against Ndomukong Suh and the other bruising interior defensive linemen for the Lions, Lang did exactly what needed to be done: Control their pursuit upfield and use their own momentum against them to create running lanes. It was the second straight solid performance from Lang against a group of elite interior defensive linemen.

Josh Sitton
After a horrible opener against the 49ers and battling back problems against Washington, Sitton has played a key role in shutting down Geno Atkins and quieting Ndomukong Suh. Thanks in part to Sitton’s efforts, the Packers are fifth in the league in rushing and Aaron Rodgers has had a pretty clean pocket to step into. Moving Sitton to the left side has paid off so far.

Jordy Nelson
You could put any of the three receivers in the rising category. I chose Nelson because his toughness is second to none. It doesn’t matter if he’s covered on the sideline or absorbing a big hit over the middle, Nelson makes the catch, then gets up and does it all over again. He hasn’t busted out the Jordy Stiff Arm yet this season, but the Jordy-Makes-a-Miraculous-Catch-With-a-Defender-Draped-All-Over-Him-as-he-Falls-Out-of-Bounds plays have more than made up for it.

Steady

Evan Dietrich-Smith
If we’re going to give Sitton and Lang props for controlling some monster defensive tackles over the last few weeks, it’s only fair that we show Dietrich-Smith some love too. The free-agent-to-be is putting together a nice little season so far. Nothing spectacular, but more than holding his own against some quality interior defensive linemen.

7

October

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 22, Lions 9

Morgan Burnett and A.J. Hawk helped contain the Calvin Johnson-less Lions offense.

Morgan Burnett and A.J. Hawk helped contain the Calvin Johnson-less Lions offense.

Kickoff was scheduled for noon in Green Bay, but the game between the Packers and Detroit Lions got underway mid-morning with the surprising news that Calvin Johnson was inactive.

Johnson, regarded as the best receiver in football, may be as important to the Lions offense as any non-quarterback is to his team around the league. And although the Lions added Reggie Bush this offseason to give them a more complete offense, it’s Johnson that makes the wheels go round.

With Johnson out, the Lions were unable to get anything going against the Packers defense.

Coming into the game, Bush—whom the Lions move all over the formation and utilize him in the passing game—looked like a tough matchup for a Packers defense that struggles in the middle of the field, but Detroit’s new offensive weapon managed just 69 total yards on 17 touches.

It’s hard to say what might have been had the Lions’ offense been at full strength, as the high-flying Packers offense only posted 22 points themselves. But in the end, five Mason Crosby field goals and a James Jones touchdown was all the Packers needed to get their second win of the season.

And as things currently stand, the Packers (2-2) trail the Lions and Bears (3-2) by only one game atop the NFC North standings.

Game Balls

Mason Crosby

After a disastrous 2012 season and ugly Family Night Scrimmage, Crosby has brought his A-game so far the regular season. With the offense struggling to punch the ball into the end zone, Crosby scored 16 of the team’s 22 points and left little doubt on his five field-goal attempts. I’m no kicking expert, so I often relate kickers to golfers. And right now, Crosby is hitting the fairways with his short irons and his driver. But of course, Giorgio Tavecchio would’ve been six-for-five with a hole-in-one.

Nick Perry

Welcome to the NFL. Sunday was unquestionably (right?) the best game of Perry’s NFL career, as last year’s first-round pick registered his first multi-sack performance. The Packers were unable to come up with the football after Perry forced a fumble on a sack of Stafford, but Clay Matthews’ book end showed flashes throughout the afternoon of why the team drafted him in the first round of last year’s draft. If the Packers are getting three sacks out of Perry and Matthews, they’re going to be tough to beat.