Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby has only converted on 9-of-13 field goals thus far in the season, placing him in last place in the league with a success rate of 69.2%. In Week 5, he missed two field goals in a three-point loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Crosby, who’s had an up-and-down career with Green Bay over the last six seasons, is seemingly in a bit of a slump. So, is time to worry about the Packers’ kicker?
No. At least not in my mind. The 32-yarder he missed against the Jacksonville Jaguars was upsetting, but his other three misses have been from 50+ yards – 52, 51, and 58 yards. Fans of the game have become so used to seeing automatic field goals from kickers like the New York Giants’ Lawrence Tynes, the San Francisco 49ers’ David Akers, or the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Bryant, or Billy Cundiff … oh, wait, never mind on that last one. There’s even a rookie they call “Legatron” on the St. Louis Rams who can boot the ball 60 yards with ease. Expectations for kickers have become extremely high and it’s easy to forget that 50 yards is still 50-freaking-yards.
Another thing that may be going against Crosby is that the Packers don’t kick field goals as often as many other teams. Green Bay’s aggressive offense tends to go for seven rather than settling for three, which obviously reduces the attempts which decide Crosby’s percentage. Through eight games, the Packers have attempted 13 field goals, as opposed to the league-leading Giants, who have attempted 26.
I have confidence in Crosby. He’s battled back from rough stretches before. Back during the 2009 season, Crosby went through a stretch of missing a kick in five out of six games, the longest of which was only 42 yards. Fans nervously held their breath when he kicked; there was talking of bringing in another kicker, which couldn’t have helped his confidence, but Crosby weathered this rough patch and finished the season adequately before consistently improving his percentage over the next two seasons.
The main thing with Crosby, and kickers in general, is confidence. When Crosby was going through that rough 2009 season, you could see fear on his face every time he took the field and his loss for an explanation in interviews. This season, he seems to be confident in himself, while still being aware that his kicking needs to improve. He doesn’t seem flustered in interviews by his difficulties – he gives the impression of assurance that he will correct what is wrong.
Crosby isn’t Cundiff. He’s never had the strongest or most accurate leg in the league, but I think he’s dependable for the Packers’ purposes. Given the competition in the league, he does need to improve his 50+ accuracy, especially as the weather gets colder and touchdowns are harder to come by at Lambeau Field. I believe that Crosby can get back on track and continue to aid the offense throughout the season.