When the Green Bay Packers signed Giorgio Tavecchio to “compete” with Mason Crosby for the starting kicker job, Packers fans everywhere chuckled.
There was no way Tavecchio, an undrafted free agent in 2012 cut by the 49ers, would unseat Green Bay’s long-time incumbent kicker right? This was just a move by general manager Ted Thompson to appease those calling for Crosby’s head after a poor 2012. It had to be.
Well, that very well may have been Thompson’s mindset in March when Tavecchio was brought on board but it’s not anymore. Thanks to a poor showing by Crosby in the team’s annual Family Night scrimmage (3-8 overall) and a solid night by Tavecchio (6-7 overall), the kicking competition is serious, and don’t call it Shirley.
Everyone hoped Crosby’s 2012 struggles were behind him and the early news from training camp looked promising. Things went right back downhill during Family Night however and the frustrated look on Crosby’s face Saturday night didn’t exactly inspire confidence in the veteran. It is clear Crosby’s confidence has been on thin ice since last season ended and it’s beginning to break before the first preseason game.
Further proof that the vultures may be circling over Crosby was the comment coach Mike McCarthy made about his kicker after the scrimmage. In short, he wasn’t pleased. McCarthy said that Crosby “definitely didn’t take a step in the right direction” and that “he’s definitely got to do better than that because that’s not going to cut it.”
That’s quite the change from the defiant McCarthy who stood firmly behind his kicker last season despite some serious accuracy problems.
What did Crosby think of his performance? Well, he said he was “way past” his issues from last year and that he’s “just working on things.” Not exactly a ringing self-endorsement. In Crosby’s defense, he did say he knows his performance in the scrimmage was “unacceptable and I have to do better.”
So where do (or should) the Packers go from here?
It’s time to cut the cord with Crosby. With as much time between the end of last season and training camp, Crosby should have had enough time to exorcise the mental demons that were plaguing him in 2012 and come back strong in 2013.