19

November

How to Fix Packers Kicker Mason Crosby

Packers K Mason Crosby

Packers K Mason Crosby needed a hug after Sunday’s game against the Lions (photo from JSOnline.com)

Everyone is yelling and screaming about Packers kicker Mason Crosby and it’s making my head hurt.

Stop yelling and screaming. Ryan Longwell ain’t walking through that door anytime soon.

If a quarterback continually misses passes or a linebacker can’t make a tackle, we can usually point to a reason why these things keep happening. Maybe the quarterback isn’t stepping into his throws or the linebacker can’t get off a block.

When a kicker goes haywire, all we can do is yell and scream at him. Nobody really knows enough about kicking technique to break down the film and say that Crosby’s big toe is angled too far to the left, causing his kicks to sail wide.

And even though most fans think they’re psychologists with a PhD from Harvard with the ability to diagnose what’s giong on in a kicker’s head, most fans arent psychologists wtih a PhD from Harvard and have no clue what’s going on inside a kicker’s head.

So how do you fix Crosby? I don’t know. I just titled this post “How to Fix Packers Kicker Mason Crosby” to get more people to click on it. If I actually had the answer to this question, I wouldn’t be writing on a fan blog. I’d be getting paid to miraculously fix struggling kickers.

Like most Packers fans, I don’t know enough about kicking to breakdown his technique and I don’t know Crosby personally to get in his head and figure out what’s going on.

From my outsider’s perspective, this is how I view the Packers’ options:

  • Cut him. Besides a stretch last season, Crosby has never been a great kicker. The Packers could go ahead and cut him right now. If Ted Thompson felt there was another kicker sitting at home who could consistently drill a 40-yard field goal, Crosby would probably be gone. I think Thompson feels that Crosby is his best option at the moment and cutting him would be counterproductive.
  • Ride it out. Mike McCarthy and other players are treating this rough stretch as a slump. I don’t know if they actually believe that, but it’s what they’re saying. What else are they supposed to say? It wouldn’t do much good to call your kicker a bum and openly wish you had a different one. Perhaps Shawn Sloccum (or whoever knows about kicking form and technique) can continue working with Crosby to make technique corrections and hope this slump passes. I’d have more confidence in the riding it out option if Crosby had a track record as an upper-tier kicker before all of this started happening.
14

November

Packers Midseason Grades: Special Teams

Tim Masthay

Packers P Tim Masthay has been excellent in special team.

Special teams wraps up our midseason Packers grades report.

I feel like parent-teacher conferences are now over and it’s time for the student (the Packers) to try and find a way to get an ‘A’ on the final report card while the parents (Packers fans) keep nagging the kids to get their homework done and turn off the video games.

If you missed it, here are our grades for the offense and defense.

Kickoffs: A-
When the Packers are kicking off, it’s usually a good time to grab a snack or refill your beverage.

Out of Mason Crosby’s 47 kickoffs, 26 have went for touchbacks, ranking the Packers 10th in touchback percentage. When opponents do return it, they don’t go far, averaging only 24.4 yards with a long of 38.

This unit also forced a fumble that should’ve ended the game against New Orleans, but the refs botched the call.

It appeared that Crosby had at least one angle kickoff against the Cardinals where he tried to use the sideline to pin the returner inside his own 20. It worked and I wonder if we might see more of that down the stretch. You can afford to take some risks like that when you’re coverage has been excellent.

There’s always the chance that Mike McCarthy could call for an onside kick like he did against St. Louis. Crosby is excellent at onside kicks and the Packers recovered his only onside attempt.

On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t leave the couch when the Packers are kicking.

Punts: A-
We’ve see too much of him this season, but it’s nice to know that when Tim Masthay trots on the field, the odds are good that the other team will be stuck with less-than-desireable field position.

Out of 44 Masthay punts, 19 have been fair caught, which is tied for the league lead. When opponents do get a chance to return one, they don’t go far. The Packers only allow 6.3 yards per return, sixth best in the NFL.

Masthay (or, ”Ging,” as Aaron Rodgers calls him), averages 44.5 yards per punt and has dropped 24 punts inside the 20.

Masthay and the punting unit turned things around late in 2010 and were a major reason why the Packers beat the Bears in the NFC championship. They haven’t slowed down since.

30

October

Packers Stock Report: An Ugly Win Counts the Same as a Pretty Win Edition

Brad Jones

Packers LB Brad Jones was sharp against the Jaguars.

As I’m writing this week’s Packers stock report, I’m watching the Cardinals play the 49ers on Monday Night Football. The Cardinals look horrendous. Absolutely atrocious. They can’t do anything right.

Does this mean anything for Sunday’s Packers vs. Cardinals matchup? Who knows.

So far this season the Packers have been good and bad, lucky and unlucky, hot and cold, hurt and healthy, explosive and stagnant, emotional and dead, and everything in-between.

The same can be said about the Cardinals and just about every other team in the NFL.

There’s no use projecting what might happen week-to-week, so I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the games the rest of the way.

Rising

James Jones
When the Packers offense needed a lift in the second half on Sunday, James Jones came to life. He caught a 11-yard pass and drew a roughing penalty. He also caught a 31-yard pass that set up Donald Driver’s touchdown. No. 89 was feisty in the second half. Perhaps that aggression led to the Jacksonville defender getting a little annoyed and throwing him down on the roughing call. Too bad some of that aggression didn’t wear off on the rest of the offense.

Brad Jones
The latest next man up is Jones and he’s answered the bell so far. Playing inside linebacker for the first time, Jones hasn’t been perfect, but he’s been more than adequate. A sack on an inside blitz and a forced fumble deep in Packers territory were big plays on Sunday. As long as Jones makes the routine tackles and a big play every now and then, he’ll be fine plugging the gaping hole left by Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith.

Morgan Burnett
Someone needed to step up with Charles Woodson out and Burnett was the guy on Sunday. The third-year safety has been decent all season but really showed a nose for making plays and played with emotion against the Jags. The main thing the Packers will miss with Woodson out is his attitude. The veteran might not have the raw skills to do what he used to do, but he’s not afraid to stick his nose in there and try to make a tackle or take on a bigger offensive lineman. Burnett demonstrated the same will against Jacksonville, and made a few impact plays doing so.