I’m glad the Green Bay Packers have decided to stick with kicker Mason Crosby. I know Crosby is mired in the worst slump of his career, having missed seven of his last 13 (not including the miss against the Detroit Lions that didn’t count because Detroit called a last second timeout). I know he nearly cost them the game on Sunday. I know this is a problem that’s stretched out for six weeks now.
But I believe in Crosby. I believe that he can shake himself out of this funk like he did in 2009. The thing about kickers is that it’s all mental. Everyone knows that Crosby has the leg strength. He’s been a solid, dependable kicker for Green Bay and they shouldn’t cut him loose because of a bad stretch.
Coach Mike McCarthy is clearly not pleased with Crosby’s misses, making no excuses for the kicker, but reiterating that “Mason’s got to put the ball through the uprights.” But McCarthy was also clear that the team is sticking with their guy, saying, “We’ll continue with Mason. We will not blink as far as our commitment to him.”
At least for this week. Sunday’s victory bought Crosby some time, but his slump can’t continue much longer if he wants to stay on the roster.
When Crosby struggled with his confidence in 2009, he rallied out of it with support from the team. Fans and media wanted and expected Green Bay to bring in other kickers to compete for the job, but the Packers stuck with Crosby and he was able to turn things around. Speaking on Sunday about Crosby’s 2009 difficulties, McCarthy remarked, “The best part about that dip [in production] was that we supported him.”
Besides the fact that I feel bad for Crosby and think it would be really mean of the Packers to cut him, the reality is that there aren’t a lot of kickers available. If a kicker isn’t in the NFL, there’s generally reason. Whom would the Packers pick up in place of Crosby? Look at the Washington Redskins, who have had four kickers in seven months. In the off-season, Washington signed Neil Rackers to compete with incumbent Graham Gano, both of whom they eventually cut when they signed Billy Cundiff … whom they’ve also now cut.
The available kickers are available because they, like Crosby, have had trouble with consistency. To sign someone else at this point is pretty much exchanging six of one for a half-dozen of the other. The Packers are better off sticking with the young, strong-legged kicker they know rather than signing a free agent kicker who has had similar struggles as Crosby.
I understand that football is not a fairytale, but I think Crosby can pull through with the support of his teammates and fans. Crosby’s done a lot for the Green Bay organization and I think he can do a lot more if given the chance.