The Green Bay Packers (10-4) clinched the NFC North Sunday afternoon after a win over their rival the Chicago Bears (8-6) at Soldier Field. Although there was happiness throughout the locker room after the victory, the team has to be concerned going into the playoffs with their inconsistent placekicker Mason Crosby.
Crosby has converted a pathetic 58.6 percent of his field goal attempts this season and Sunday proved that head coach Mike McCarthy has zero confidence in his kicker. On two separate occasions, the Packers went for it on fourth down opposed to attempting a long field goal. The good news is Green Bay converted both times but the repercussions are that whatever confidence Crosby had left is now gone.
Packers’ fans in bars and homes around the world screamed out for Crosby’s termination with the team when he missed a 43-yard field goal attempt wide right in the second quarter. The ball never came close to the uprights and one has to wonder if Crosby was even looking where he was kicking. When the six-year pro hit the left upright on a 42-yard kick in the fourth quarter McCarthy could be seen on television screaming angrily.
So what has the head coach decided to do with Crosby?
“We’re not changing our kicker, so you can write that down right now,” McCarthy said. “He’s our guy. He needs to make those kicks. He knows that. We’re at that time of year.”
It is certainly admirable the way McCarthy has stood up for his kicker considering Crosby has the second worst percentage in the NFL only behind Billy Cundiff who was 7-for-12 on the season (58.3 percent) before the Washington Redskins released him on Oct. 9. His replacement, Kai Forbath, is a perfect 15-for-15 since joining the team.
Crosby has missed at least one field goal in each of Green Bay’s last six games, including two against Chicago. Over that span, he has converted only eight of his 16 attempts with the average length of the field goals coming in at 36 yards.
Obviously, the Packers should consider bringing in a new kicker because no one wants a playoff game to come down to Crosby’s foot, especially since he is clearly in a fragile state. On the other hand, it is not as if the 28-year-old is a bad career kicker as he made 85.7 percent of his attempts last season. Not to mention, bringing in a new kicker in Week 16 is risky and could certainly backfire. At least with Crosby, the Packers know they have a chance to win the game with him opposed to the unknown that comes with a new kicker.
“I can’t sit and sulk, think about missed kicks, because I have to make kicks and we’re going to get to the playoffs and there’s going to be some big ones down the line here,” Crosby said.
The Packers do have a playoff berth and make no mistake about it, there will definitely be big kicks in the foreseeable future that Crosby will have to make in order to not only continue his career in Green Bay but also to help the team accomplish their ultimate goal. He must somehow regain his confidence over the next two weeks in order to be mentally prepared for the postseason.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.