We’ve all closed our eyes this entire season every time Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy looks down the bench and gives the nod to place kicker Mason Crosby. When Crosby touches the playing surface, it seems everything goes awry.
It hasn’t seemed to matter whether he’s been playing indoors in September or outdoors in December – he has been nothing short of awful. Every time he puts his foot to the ball it seems he’s pitching a knuckleball that floats, flutters, drifts and never finds the strike zone.
It’s disheartening. Personally, I’ve always really like Mason Crosby. He’s a straight shooter, a community-minded guy who has been a valuable and important member of the Green Bay Packers Football Club. But something has gone very wrong this season. It started, for me, when the Packers held that field goal kicking contest during Family Night Back in August. On that night, Crosby was put on display and attempted several 50-yard and beyond field goals that showed the same kind of misdirection we’ve been seeing from him all year. I think he connected on a couple out of at least a half dozen – it didn’t look good.
When the season started, the flags began to rise to full staff when he badly missed a couple of important kicks indoors at Indianapolis – the second being a potential game-typing field goal that didn’t even come close. That’s when his confidence took a nosedive.
Since then, he has been very, very inconsistent. In Chicago Sunday he again missed two very makeable kicks which would have easily put the game way out of reach for the Bears. Instead, the Bears were in the game right down to near the end of the game.
So, what’s happened? I wish I knew … and I’m sure Mike McCarthy and special teams coach Shawn Slocum wished they knew. In public, McCarthy continues to stand by Crosby. He says he’s the kicker for the remainder of the season. I question how a coach can have as much patience in this situation. If McCarthy continues to call on Crosby, there is going to come a time – probably in the playoffs – when Crosby misses a game-winning kick. Should that occur, McCarthy will be pilloried and Crosby will be gone.
Do the Packers stiffen up and pull the plug on Crosby before that happens? We’ll see … if they don’t, it could end up being a very long off-season for both the team and its fans.
But if Crosby is the man for the remainder of the season, here’s something you might remember … it was a time when Crosby’s accuracy was spot-on.
Watch and enjoy.