This is the time of year where some veteran players can get a little nervous. As teams search to improve their rosters and bring in new players it invariably pushes out other players who were on the roster the year before. Over the next few days we are going to focus players who should be feeling a bit nervous this offseason, players who will need to produce this season in order to continue to be a part of the Packers long term plan. The first player is probably the one most Packer fans hope the team can move on from, kicker Mason Crosby.
Why his back is against the wall
It would be kind to say that Crosby was one of the worst kickers in the league last year. Although he started the year off strong by making his first five field goal attempts, Crosby caught a bad case of the yips and ended the year making a career low 63.6% of the field goals attempted. It was so tragic to watch him week in and week out that it almost became funny…that sick kind of humor that only the long suffering sports fan can appreciate. Worst of all is that Crosby has had only one year over an 80% field goal percentage in his seven year career. That’s simply not good enough.
Why he still could be part of the Packers’ plan
Crosby missed at least one field goal per week from week 5 against the Colts till week 15 against the Bears (the only exception being when he did not attempt any field goals in week 6 against the Texans). During this stretch he missed all his attempts twice (week 5 and week 15). He missed multiple field goals on three occasions (week 5, week 11 against the Lions, and week 15). Despite this dreadful stretch the Packers stuck by Crosby and have continued to show faith in him when just about any other team would of cut bait. It’s not hard to fathom that the team will stand by another dry patch provided Crosby straightens out in the near future.
Chances of making the 53 man roster in 2013
Pretty good unless the Packers do something drastic in the draft. It is interesting to note that the Packers have brought in competition for Crosby this year. This is the first year where the team has made Crosby beat out another kicker in camp (and who doesn’t love a good kicking competition in training camp?). Despite this fact there is some doubt as to how much legitimate competition Giorgio Tavecchio will be able to give Crosby. Tavecchio failed to unseat David Akers last year who may have been the only other kicker to give Crosby a run for his money for the title of worst kicker in the league last year.
What he has to do to be part of the Packers’ long term plan
In short, Crosby has to make field goals. If he kicks it through the uprights then all is good, if he struggles again then his time with the Packers may be coming to a close. Crosby not only needs to work on his accuracy in general, but also for his longer kicks. Crosby was 2-9 when kicking from over 50 yards. Crosby was one of only four kickers to have at least nine attempts from that range and was dead last out of those four. If Crosby can get his accuracy down, especially at longer ranges, then he should secure his future with the Packers.