Originally written January 31, 2013 on Packer Update:
Veteran kicker Mason Crosby missed a career-high 12 field goals this season I was among Mason Crosby’s biggest defenders during his first four solid but unspectacular seasons, but after watching him Tom Birney the ball all over the place in 2012, I’ve had enough. It’s time for a change. I thought Crosby finally jumped from average to elite in 2011. The former Colorado star hit 24 of 28 kicks – by far the highest percentage (85.7) of his career. And then this season happened. Crosby missed a whopping 12 field goals. To best put into words just how awful that is, the other three kickers in the NFC North (Robbie Gould, Jason Hanson and rookie Blair Walsh) missed a combined 11 field goals. I could also mention Crosby’s salary for 2013 ($3.15 million against the cap). Right now, he’s the 13th highest-paid player on the team. But this isn’t about money; it’s about production. After 6 seasons in the league, the 28-year-old’s career numbers just aren’t good enough. He’s hitting only 76.8% of his field goals. That number would’ve been acceptable 20 years ago, but today it’s about six percentage points below the NFL average. So I ask you, why would a team not only keep such a player, but pay him big money? Could Crosby find greatness with another team? It wouldn’t surprise me. Nine of the NFL’s 10 most accurate kickers of all time were cut by at least one team prior to finding their niche (Nate Kaeding is the exception). Heck, Mike Vanderjagt was dumped by three CFL teams. But so what? He’s had six seasons to find greatness in Green Bay, and he hasn’t come close. Kind of like many of his kicks this season. Coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson really like Crosby, so I expect him to still be the team’s kicker in 2013. He might face some competition for the first time in a while, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem. The guy kicks like Adam Viniateri in August. The problems usually arise a few months later. In the late 14th century, William Langland said that patience is a virtue. I completely agree, but then again, old Mr. Langland never watched a kicker misfire 12 times in one season.
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