Mason Crosby’s kicking woes have been a hot topic recently and I have been as concerned as anyone. The FG is supposed to be the LEAST exciting, most predictable part of the game… kicker runs on, kicker kicks ball through uprights, kicker runs off. It seems almost automatic that a kicker makes every kick less than 50 yds! But let’s be real:
The Packers haven’t needed Crosby to “make” many kicks in the past 3 years. In fact his missed kicks never changed the outcome of any game until this season, and barely so.
Crosby’s mistakes this year are not new, but his lack of confidence is new. He has a great leg for distance. When it doesn’t matter he can nail it, but right now he has the ‘yips’. You can’t cure the yips by going for it on 4th and 4 from the 35 and you can’t cure it by faking field goals. Crosby needs to kick it out… in a game, when it matters.
In Crosby’s defense he has never been particularly accurate from 40+ yards, so his failure to convert this year is merely a symptom of the Packers offense stalling a bit further from the goalpost than they have in past 2 years. Crosby has a career kicking percentage of 60.5% for kicks over 40 yards (46/76). This year he is just 50%, but he already has 10 attempts from over 40 yards this year compared to just 8 attempts all of last season and 14 in all of 2010.
What it all boils down to is that the Packers need to do a better job moving the ball from the 40 to the 30 and beyond. Granted, Crosby needs to do better, but relying on a kicker to be the difference by making 40+ yard field goals at Lambeau in December and January is a recipe for failure.
When the offense is “whole” again with Jennings back, Jordy 100%, Starks and Benson as a 1-2 punch, and all of the receivers avoid dropping catchable passes, I think this problem will be an afterthought. In the meantime, I hope MM will let Crosby kick away to get through his ‘yips’.