While Mason Crosby hikes up his shorts, free agent kicker Georgio Tavecchio makes a point prior to training camp practice earlier this week. Jim Oxley photograph

Packers Crosby, Tavecchio kicking for their (NFL) lives

 

There are two Green Bay Packers players getting a kick out of training camp – yeah, excuse the bad pun.

But for placekickers Mason Crosby and Georgio Tavecchio, the kicks they’re getting will decide their fate.

In the kicking competition between the two, they are neck and neck so far in makes and misses. Crosby leads by one.

In fact, Crosby went 5-5 on Thursday to improve to 9-11 in camp. Tavecchio hit 5 of 6 today to improve to 10 of 12. That’s pretty close.

While Tavecchio is a longshot and Crosby has got to be the favorite to win what he must feel is his job, the Packers have made it pretty clear that it’s his job to win it back. Bringing Tavecchio into camp to compete sent a strong message that Packers brass were not happy with Crosby’s performance last season when he made only 63.6 percent (21-33) of his kicks. Crosby, who has been known for his ability to make kicks in inclement weather and from long distances, seemed out of his element last year. He made just two of nine attempts from beyond 50 yards.

Mason Crosby gives some advice – or is telling a good story – as Georgio Tavecchio listens.
Jim Oxley photograph

While Crosby converted the final six kicks of last season and seven of his last 11, we all remember the missed kicks during the first half of the season when he missed badly on several attempts and lost his confidence. Even head coach Mike McCarthy lost confidence in his kicker – or though it seemed. On a couple of occasions midway through the season, he elected to allow the offense to attempt fourth down conversions, even though the team was within kicking distance.

At that point in the season, Packers fans were calling for Crosby’s head, but McCarthy was committed. He showed that he had confidence in his kicker and stuck with him (at least in public). That was a good thing.

But the decision to bring in Tavecchio wasn’t taken lightly. The young University of California kicker spent some time a year ago kicking for the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers must have liked what they saw from the rookie. His performance in training camp thus far proves that he has some talent and is going to push right up until the end.

The winner of the job will be the guy who performs best in preseason games.

In the meantime, they will continue to get their kicks

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Tags: Georgio Tavecchio Green Bay Packers Mason Crosby

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