Any Green Bay Packers fan knows that Mason Crosby has struggled mightily this season. Since coming on the scene for the Packers in 2007, he has been a pretty good kicker. He made nearly 80 percent of his kicks and even did pretty well from over 50 yards. He was a key part of the Packers last Super Bowl run as he tacked on points even when Rodgers and company couldn’t manage to find the end zone, he made the team better. In 2012, that hasn’t been the case. He has struggled to find confidence even though he still shows that he has a great leg. That was further evidenced in Sunday’s game vs. the Bears where he missed badly on 2 FGs and the Packers opted to go for it on fourth down rather than bring Crosby on for a chance, even from inside 50 yard. How long can that last in the NFL playoffs?
Mike McCarthy wants to just ignore the fact that Crosby has the ‘yips’ and he hopes they will go away, but time is short as the postseason approaches. The question is: Should the Packers stick with Crosby, who has been fairly solid in years past but currently can’t hit it reliably between the uprights from over 40 yds or dive into the unknown with someone (anyone) else? There are kickers out there just waiting for a shot and I’d like to see the Packers bring someone in for a workout, but whom should it be?
The Packers might find the answer in a kid who many teams have as their top-rated Free Agent kicker. His name is Michael Barnard. Barnard played his college ball at a private university, Fairleigh-Dickinson. He has been on the short list for numerous NFL teams over the past few years. He isn’t some fly-by-night, wannabe either; in fact, he might have made the Eagles squad this year if Alex Henery hadn’t had such an amazing rookie season in 2011.
The Philadelphia Eagles invited Barnard to their Rookie Mini Camp last spring. Barnard showed his poise and leg strength while making 30/32 kicks, including 4/4 from 50+, but the Eagles declined to mount a challenge to Henery and opted not to sign Barnard for a training camp competition. Henery had made 89% of his kicks for the Eagles as a rookie in 2011. The Eagles personnel department even shopped Barnard’s credentials around to other teams because they believed so much in his ability. He showed them that he has the leg and the moxie to be an NFL kicker.
Barnard’s strong leg and confidence have attracted attention around the NFL. The kid is GOOD! He works hard and has dedicated himself to making the grade in the NFL, working out 6 days a week kicking and conditioning while he waits for his shot in the NFL.
Arizona has recently brought him in for a workout and they, along with Philadelphia head a growing list of NFL teams that have targeted Barnard as their next potential kicker, so why shouldn’t the Packers?
If anyone out there can explain to me how the Packers are better off heading to the postseason with Crosby than with an up and coming (potential stud) kicker, I’m listening. It’s hard enough to win close games, but in the playoffs the Packers need a better kicker than the one they have.
Check out Barnard on one of his YouTube videos below by going to MoneyKicker34.