Ode to Mason Crosby, NFC's special teams player of the week
Colleen Brenton, Packers contributor
Kicker Mason Crosby.Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sunday afternoon, I was happily sitting in Lambeau with my good friend (and co-contributor to this site) Kelly Hodgson watching Mason Crosby have a literal field day with five successful field goal attempts in a critical win over the Lions.
As I watched, it struck me that Crosby personifies what a typical Green Bay Packer player should be, whether in the Lombardi Era or in the current regime of Mike McCarthy.
He plays hard and he conducts himself with class.
He has great potential, a strong leg, he's a fine tackler when it's required and - most of all, he's proven in the last several months he has a strong character.
It's no secret to anyone that Crosby struggled last year.
His completion rate of 63% was an all time low for him, coming off his best season ever.
I rooted all year for Crosby to improve, but he seemed to get more and more 'in his head' which kickers are especially prone to do.
There were frequent and fairly heated calls from fans to bring in competition, to cut Crosby, to do something, anything, to fix the situation.
Unlike the debate over backup quarterbacks (and yes, I do still think they are important), the problem here was a clear and present danger.
Kicking can win or lose games for a team. Ask Billy Cundiff and the Baltimore Ravens.
The Packers acted decisively during training camp. They brought in not one but two kickers to challenge Crosby.
He had responsibilities for kickoffs taken from him and handed to Tim Masthay. For someone already struggling with confidence issues, this might have been disastrous and morale destroying.
Instead, a very funny thing happened.
Mason Crosby stood up straight, dusted off his psyche, was classy and welcoming to his competition, and polite to his harshest critics.
He worked hard in training camp and in the preseason games, learning from his struggles and analyzing his technique carefully.
He won the starting job and, again with a great deal of class, accepted a restructuring of his contract that pins future pay to specific performance on the field.
So, what have we seen as a result of all of this?
So far this year Mason Crosby is perfect. 9-9.
He looks confident and happy on the sidelines. He is focused the whole game, often talking with Tim Masthay intently.
You can see, in my opinion, that confidence reflected in his performance on the field and by the treatment he receives from his teammates.
He took a very difficult situation that required hard work and a revamp of a large part of who he is and he handled it. With class. And with success.
He is the personification of the attitude and pride I want to see players for my favorite team display.
He is a Green Bay Packer and a great reflection on the organization.
And I couldn't be happier for him, or for Packers Nation.