Just for kicks, let’s talk Crosby and Tavecchio


Will Mason Crosby finally turn it around for good and win the Packers kicking battle? Friday night’s game could be a final turning point.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Just when it was safe to hand the Green Bay Packers place kicking job to veteran Mason Crosby and write off the challenge by the little Italian, Giorgio Tavecchio, all hell breaks loose.

What a wild ride the past 12 months have been for Packers fans – there have been plenty of ups and downs when it’s come to the kicking game and it only got better (or worse, depending on how you view it) yesterday when Crosby missed three straight field goal attempts.

So loud was special teams coach Shawn Slocum during the stretch of misses, that he was audibly annoyed and clearly perturbed when he yelled something to the effect of “make the kick.”

The left-footed kicker Giorgio Tavecchio makes a 38-yarder last weekend in St. Louis. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports photograph

We all thought that Crosby was beyond his propensity to shank and pull kicks all over the field when he was perfect in last weekend’s game at St. Louis. He looked good, he looked confident and ready to take the reins. Tavecchio missed from 49 yards in that same game, but did connect later in the preseason affair to go 1-2.

And up until this past weekend, Tavecchio was clearly in the lead for the job (at least in theory) because he had connected on five more attempts than Crosby had during practices. Neither of the two kickers had any chances to kick in the first preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, so last weekend’s game was important in setting the bar for the competition.

After all, making kicks in practice is quite different from game situations. Because of that, Crosby seemingly held the edge.

Until yesterday.

Now what?

Well, Friday night’s game will be the litmus test that should determine the outcome of this battle. Whichever kicker does well in this game situation will probably be the Packers kicker Sept. 8 when the team travels to San Francisco for the season opener.

Or …

Ted Thompson could look beyond those two for somebody different. Recent reports out of Green Bay have indicated that Thompson may have grown tired of the two guys he has in camp and could bring in somebody completely different.

After all, that’s what he did with the backup quarterback situation. Vince Young was brought in to add to the competition in that case. If Thompson were to bring in a different kicker, that would be the end for Tavecchio and Crosby.

While it’s a possibility, I just can’t see that happening. I can’t see Thompson going that route – that is unless he could sign someone who would clearly be better than what he currently has.

Mason Crosby and Georgio “Sergio” Tavecchio

Jim Oxley photograph

I don’t see that. As bad as Crosby was last year and as big of an uncertainty Tavecchio would be if he won the job isn’t enough at this late stage to bring in somebody completely new.

The kickers out there who might be available are as follows:

Neil Rackers
Olindo Mare
Dave Rayner
Justin Medlock
David Buehler
Rhys Lloyd
Garrett Lindholm

What do you think? Are any of these guys any better than Crosby or Tavecchio. One of them, Dave Rayner, was in camp way back when Crosby initially won the job.

No matter which kicker you are hoping wins the job, tomorrow night should be interesting.

Stay tuned …