Packers News: Tavecchio released, team down to two kickers

Ciao, Giorgio. The Packers have cut ties with Tavecchio.

Ciao, Giorgio. The Packers have cut ties with Tavecchio.

Just one day after signing street free agent Zach Ramirez, the Green Bay Packers have released kicker Giorgio Tavecchio.

Incumbent kicker Mason Crosby has, again, had an up-and-down, left-and-right summer, and it seems the Packers are determined to provide some competition for Crosby all the way up to the regular season. Still, despite his inconsistency, it looks like the job is Crosby’s to lose.

Crosby certainly had a rough season in 2012, missing 12 of 33 regular-season field goal attempts. But believe it or not, his challenger this summer, Tavecchio, has missed kicks in his life, as well. As a senior at California, Tavecchio failed to connect on six extra points.

Now, it’s down to Crosby and Ramirez–another Internet-sensation-turned-NFL-kicker-hopeful. The Detroit Lions signed Havard “Kickalicious” Rugland to compete with David Akers this summer, and the Packers turn to Ramirez–a young kicker with some pretty impressive YouTube highlights.

Obviously, kicking field goals with the wind at your back in an empty stadium in front of one person holding a camera is much different than kicking in front of 80,000 in a packed NFL stadium. But we’ll see how this kicking competition shakes itself out.

During the Family Night Scrimmage, Tavecchio got the better of Crosby, connecting on five of six field goal attempts. Crosby, on the other hand, had an awful night, missing four of six.

At that point, just a week into training camp, Twitter exploded with fans calling for Crosby’s release. However, due to the Tavecchio’s limitations in terms of leg strength, the concept of Crosby being cut in favor of Tavecchio seemed farfetched–at least to me.

I’m not saying Crosby is God’s gift to kicking field goals, but if he’s going to be beaten out for the job, it wasn’t going to be by Tavecchio. You can’t make fun of me for that prediction; however, feel free to point and laugh at my suggestion that Graham Harrell would be a “pleasant surprise” this summer.

In my opinion, Crosby will win the job. He’ll be the Week 1 kicker, although it wouldn’t at all be surprising if the Packers made a change in the regular season, should Crosby’s struggles continue.



Tom Crabtree Leaves Packers, Signs With Bucs

Tom Crabtree Lambeau Leap vs. Chicago bears

Unfortunately for Packers fans, we won’t be seeing Tom Crabtree making any Lambeau Leaps this season.

The next time Tom Crabtree catches a touchdown, executes a fake field goal, or makes you laugh out loud with one of his Tweets, it won’t be as a member of the Green Bay Packers.

The tight end reportedly has signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Packers declined to place a low tender on Crabtree that would have cost about $1.3 million, thus making Crabtree an unrestricted free agent.

The Bucs will be getting a versatile player who can play tight end, line up as an H-back and contribute on special teams. Packers fans are losing a player who built a connection with cheeseheads everywhere through social media and general accessibility.

I’m sad to see Crabtree go, just like I’m sad to see any Packers player depart who is a solid contributor and appears to be a decent guy. But from strictly a football sense, I don’t blame the Packers for only offering Crabtree the minimum.

Crabtree only caught eight passes in 2013 (although three went for touchdowns) and Pro Football Focus gave him a negative run-blocking grade of -7.7. With Andrew Quarless returning, the Packers probably didn’t feel that Crabtree was worth more to them than the minimum.


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.




2012 Packers Training Camp: Randall Cobb as Placekick Holder?

Randall Cobb

Is Randall Cobb’s role on special teams being expanded this season?

It hasn’t been long since I last talked about Randall Cobb here at AllGreenBayPackers.com. The Green Bay Packers’ kick returner/wide receiver is one of those special players whose set of talents runs deep, and today at Training Camp, we might have glimpsed another card McCarthy is holding up his sleeve when it comes to this young man.

Hidden among all of the training camp updates around blogs, Twitter, and articles was a short but noteworthy tweet by JSOnline.com beat writer Tom Silverstein:


Here’s the obvious part: Randall Cobb is a triple threat as a placekick holder. Not only can he run with the football on a fake, but he can also deliver a pass if needed. And just to top things off, the threat of those two options can keep the opposing defense from going all in on a rush to block the field goal.

Now, it’s interesting to note that this possibility was brought up by one of our commenters on the last article I wrote about Cobb being used on the reverse. A visitor by the name of “zac5” posted, “The occasional reverse would be exciting but I would love to see Randall as holder on field goal attempts.”

Zac, perhaps you should be betting on the horse races right now.

To be completely honest, though, I was originally skeptical of this suggestion. We had seen kicker Mason Crosby go through some rough patches with inconsistent placekick holders. Matt Flynn was the holder before punter Tim Masthay finally settled into the position. And although it’s hard to tell whether the consistency of Masthay is the true cause behind this, Crosby had his best field goal completion percentage last year (24/28, 85.7%).

So while I think the option of Randall Cobb as a holder has its merits, I’m still not sure I’m ready to take the dive. I would have to see that it’s not affecting Crosby’s accuracy before I could fully commit to the idea.

I must say though, we might be seeing a side of McCarthy never before experienced. As was also pointed out by a commenter, the head coach’s playbook mantra last season was: “Less volume, more creativity.” The Packers have never really had a gadget player quite like Cobb during McCarthy’s tenure, so it may spur him to try some new things to take complete advantage of the talent available.



Anthony Hargrove Says He’s a Green Bay Packer – Green and Yellow…

Anthony Hargrove says he's a Green Bay Packer

Anthony Hargrove says he's a Green Bay Packer

Free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove has taken to twitter again, this time to announce he is officially a member of the Green Bay Packers:

It offiicial.. Here I come Packer Nation….Green and Yellow

Soon after, we heard this from Packers beat writer Paul Imig of Fox Sports Wisconsin:

Anthony Hargrove’s agent confirms that the contract with the #Packers is 100% complete. It’s done. He’s a Packer.

Later on, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com confirmed the signing. Seifert (or someone at ESPN spoke with Hargrove via telephone.  Hargrove was quoted as saying, ”When you think of this team, you think of one of the most respected organizations in the league. For them to come after me is very moving. I feel blessed today.”

So let the questions begin.

Can Hargrove be “Packer People?”

Will Hargrove be suspended as part of “Bountygate?”

Can a 4-3DE be successful in the Packers version of the 3-4 defense?

Has somebody kidnapped Ted Thompson?

As for me, I’m just thrilled they have someone who is an NFL starting caliber defensive lineman, who has hopefully left his troubles behind. Let’s all cross our fingers…


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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.




Anthony Hargrove is Tweeting Like a Packer

Anthony Hargrove is Tweeting like a Green Bay Packer

Is Anthony Hargrove Coming to the Packers?

“Can’t wait for my first Lambeau Leap on game day.”

“Played with Pickett when he was a Ram. Going to be great playing with him again.”

“Not yet but we screaming green and yellow green and yellow.  go Packers go.”

“Loving the packer nation for all the love already…go packers go…goodnite”

Free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove has been tweeting out hints today about where he thinks he’s going to be playing. Nothing has been announced, and my guess would be that contract details need to be finalized, but it sure sounds like Ted Thompson is about to land his third free agent of 2012.

This all assumes that it is, in fact, really Anthony Hargrove. Judging from his other tweets it has the feel of authenticity and Liz Mathews of ESPN Seattle gave his twitter account out for anyone who wants to follow.

Hargrove has always played as a 4-3DE, and is listed as 6’3″ and 272 pounds. While that would be way too light for a 3-4DE, Hargrove was close to 300 pounds when he played for the Saints. He would surely have to gain weight again if the Packers want him to play at 3-4DE, but what if they have plans to move him to OLB? After all, they have considered the possibility of moving Mike Neal there, and have also been pursuing Giants DE Dave Tollefson, who is only 260 lbs.

Could all this DE free agency pursuit just be a ruse to find themselves a “big” conversion OLB? Stay tuned…

Anthony Hargrove’s full twitter timeline can be found here:




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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.




The NFL Lockout is Finally Over: What Roger Goodell was Really Thinking

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has to be feeling good about his sport as the NFL lockout ends.

Roger Goodell was asked today if there were any damages from the NFL lockout that need to be repaired. He said:

“Well, I would say from the Commissioner’s perspective, we know what we did to frustrate our fans over the last several months. They want football and our job is to give them football. We think that through a 10-year agreement here, we’ve secured the future of the game to ensure that pledge to bring great football to our fans. I think we have some work to do though to make sure they understand that we are sorry for the frustration we put them through over the last six months, but our commitment is to bring them better football going forward. I think we ought to make sure that we understand that our bond with our fans is probably the primary issue that all of us have to keep focused on, whether you’re a player, or you’re an owner or you’re the Commissioner.”

While Goodell was giving this beautifully crafted and politically correct answer, here’s what he was really thinking:

“Hell no there aren’t any damages! Are you freakin’ kidding me?! We’re the NFL, not the NBA, MLB or NHL. Twitter literally melted into a pile of social networking goo once the lockout ended? ESPN basically threw a party live on the air. The NFL Network is covering this news conference like someone just brokered a peace deal in the Middle East. Fans are more excited for the upcoming football season than for any other season in our league’s history.

And do you know why? Because this lockout forced everyone to skip the boring parts of the offseason. How great is it that we didn’t have to endure a summer of free-agent speculation or BS stories from minicamps about how this player or that player looks really good running around in shorts and a tank top? Wasn’t it nice not having to read about how Albert Haynesworth or some other criminal in shoulder pads appears “focused” this year and wants to “put the past behind him?” We even managed to keep Brett Favre quiet until I gave him the go-ahead to start his unretirement rumors on Saturday night.



Packers Sign Shaky Smithson and Tori Gurley

Shaky Smithson's best shot of making the Packers is as a returner, but he has an outside shot of getting a look as a slot receiver.

The Green Bay Packers signed Shakey Smithson and Tori Gurley as undrafted free agency began Monday night.

Besides having a cool first name, Smithson led the nation in punt return yardage (572) and average (19.1) at Utah State. Smithson also is a kick return specialist.

Gurley had 42 catches for 416 yards last season at South Carolina. The 6-foot-4, 216-pound Gurley has a better chance of making the team if James Jones departs via free agency.

Follow both Smithson and Gurley on Twitter.


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.