Packer Update


Crosby's mediocre numbers don't tell the whole story

Since joining Green Bay in 2007, Mason Crosby has made 78% of his field goals. The league average during that time is just over 82%. Does that make the former Colorado star a below-average placekicker? Hardly. While the 26-year-old certainly isn’t Rob Bironas (Titans), Robbie Gould (Bears) or Adam Vinatieri (Patriots), he’ll make any top 12 list that rightfully factors in weather conditions, average distance of attempt and postseason performance when assessing kickers. The very fact that the Packers want to re-sign Crosby suggests general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy know all too well that there are lies, damned lies and statistics.

Crosby has kicked in 64 regular season games with Green Bay, and only 13 have been played in domes. That means 80% of his games have been played outdoors. No other kicker has performed as often in the elements during that same time period. And as we all know, playing in the elements in Wisconsin is hardly the same thing as playing in the elements almost anyplace else. So how big of a difference does the climate make? Ryan Longwell, considered by some to be the greatest kicker in franchise history, went from converting 81% of his kicks with the Packers to converting 88% of his kicks with the Vikings. Not coincidentally, Longwell has kicked outdoors only 22 times since switching teams.

Another thing that must be taken into consideration when analyzing kickers is the length of their attempts. Since ’07, Crosby has been called on 21 times from beyond 50 yards. That means a whopping 15% of his field goals have been attempted from long distance. Conversely, Bironas has attempted only 15 such kicks, Gould 9 and Vinatieri 3. This isn’t to suggest that Crosby is as good as those three Pro Bowlers, but the degree of difficulty has to be a taken into consideration when determining just how inferior to them he really is.

Probably the biggest knock on Crosby is his performance in pressure situations. And while it’s true that he hasn’t kicked a game-winner since the opener in Philadelphia in ’07 and that he’s missed a few over the years, he’s also come up big in the two biggest games the Packers have played in the past four seasons. He made two huge field goals in the 2007 NFC Championship against the Giants – including one in the fourth quarter of what will be remembered as one of the worst weather games in league history. And his field goal with two minutes left in Super Bowl XLV increased Green Bay’s lead from 3 to 6 points and changed the way Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers attacked their last possession.

When you also factor in his strong kickoffs (when he’s actually allowed to kick deep), his ability to tackle on returns and his solid personality, it’s easy to see why the Packers like Crosby so much. And while he may never be among the league leaders in field goal percentage, he’ll probably never have one of those meltdown seasons that seem to affect the majority of kickers at least one time in their careers. That may not be good enough for some fans, but it seems to be good enough for Thompson and McCarthy. And for two men who won’t settle for mediocrity, that should tell you all you need to know about Crosby.


  1. Tangysizzl says:

    With the new rule changes for kickoffs I think his value only increases for GB. He should easily be able to blast it through the endzone basically whenever he wants and with our kickoff coverage lacking for the most part, that could be huge for the defense. Teams will struggle to move the ball 80 yards everytime against GBs #2 scoring defense.

    On the flip side the offense is used to having to march long distances to score so not much is going to change for them. Tim Masthay has been playing really well since the 2nd half of the season and with Cobb as the punt returner, special teams should become less of a weakness for this team.

    Keep the articles coming man, us football junkies appreciate them especially during this stupid freakin lockout.

  2. Satori says:

    He has also done very well with onsides kicks, including the one @ Arizona in the playoffs ( pressure situation) and on the road vs New England to open last year’s contest. McCarthy trusts him. Crosby has also had to adjust to multiple snappers and holders throughout his GB career as well as overcome the “coaching” from Slocum
    He’s not the best kicker, but he has plenty of leg and skills to man this position going forward and by his recent comments, he would like to stay in GB

  3. Chris says:

    Won’t buy this apology until Crosby converts a few kicks where winning and losing hangs in the balance as time is expiring. His 78% can be explained away by kicking in GB, but Longwell managed 81% with half his games a Lambeau, so Mason doesn’t measure up to Ryan. Crosby might not be a stiff who needs to be replaced immediately, but he’s nothing special and GB would be wise to upgrade if/when the opportunity presents itself.

  4. Archie says:

    Everything you said about Crosby is true but I agree with Chris. What he does at crunch time is the single most important measure of a K and on that he has been close to abysmal. Who cares if he makes 4 FGs when we win 50-30? It’s the tight games where he needs to earn his keep. Whenever he comes in the game in such situations I always expect him to miss. That’s not good. I’d take 70% overall if he was close to 100% in all realistic opportunities in close games, including when the game is on the line.

    re: TT doesn’t like mediocrity. Really? How else do you explain the big re-up for AJ Hawk? Poppinga? He has his favorites and it isn’t always based on their play on the field.

    GBP fan since late 50s.

  5. dHoward says:

    Including the playoffs – he made 23 our 27 kicks under 50 yards or 85%. One of his misses (39 yards) was blocked by Peppers and it was not Crosby’s fault. Sitton got blown up on the play. He makes that one and he is 24 out 27 or 89% from under 50 yards. Pretty good stats from a guy who kicks in Lambeau and Soldier field nine games a years.

    So….why no deal? Maybe Crosby doesn’t want to stay. If MM and TT love the guy so much then why not franchise tag him? It doesn’t cost that much to franchise a kicker does it?

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