Mason Crosby: Redemption in progress
John Rehor, Packers contributor
Mason Crosby.Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
As training camp came to an end in early September, there was one question that surpassed all others in Packers Nation.
How was Mason Crosby still the Packers kicker?
It was a fair question to ask, considering the series of events over the previous 12 months.
His 2012 season was an outright disaster.
Kicking at a 64% completion rate had many screaming for his replacement midseason.
When head coach Mike McCarthy kept the offense on the field rather than attempt a field goal on several occasions during the season, it showed that even he had lost confidence in Crosby.
Crosby’s showing at the Family Night scrimmage, the unofficial kickoff to the preseason, did little to inspire confidence in Crosby again.
A miserable three-for-eight performance seemed to indicate the cobwebs in Crosby’s head were still there, even after he had an entire offseason to eliminate them.
McCarthy’s words toward the end of training camp were less than complimentary to Crosby as well:
"The kicking competition is not over. We feel like we have a handle on where Giorgio is, his capabilities...there is a scenario that we may bring him back."
Camp came to an end and Crosby was still handling the Packers’ kicking duties, forcing a collective deep breath by the Packers faithful.
So how has Crosby responded to all of the adversity he has faced in the last year?
He’s kicking the ball better than ever before.
Crosby is kicking at a near perfect 92.9% completion rate to start the season.
This is a full seven percentage points above his previous season high of 85.7% in 2011, a more than pleasant sight to see.
If he continues to kick at this rate, Crosby may end up challenging the single season team record of 91.67% Jan Stenerud set back in 1981.
Most importantly, Crosby is kicking with confidence.
Gone are the days where one would turn their head when he would enter the game to attempt a field goal.
His kicks are booming missiles, headed right toward their intended target.
Whatever cobwebs were in his head seem to be gone.
While the season is still young, and there is still a lot of football left to play, Mason Crosby’s 2013 season can only be described as redemption in progress so far.
Let’s hope the redemption continues for another three months or so.
John Rehor (@jrehor on Twitter) is a writer at PackersTalk.com and co-host of Cheesehead Radio.