Kicking around the Packers' kicking game
Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio. Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
GREEN BAY - For the first time in six years, there is something different at the Packers training camp.
Coming off by far the worst season in his career, one which harkened back the “glory days” of Max Zendejas, incumbent Mason Crosby is going to face stiff competition to keep his job.
The 2012 season is one Crosby would like to forget: a 63.6 percent success rate, as well as having attempts bypassed in favor of keeping the offense on the field.
The irony that this type of season followed up Crosby’s best season, one which saw him kick at an 85.7 percent clip - the best in his career - is even more of a head scratcher.
If nothing else, the 2012 season caused the brain trust of the Packers to finally decide that handing the kicking duties to Crosby for another season was not going to happen in 2013.
Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy knew that they were waiting for another potential disaster by tossing Crosby the kicking tee for another season. If this were to happen, there is no telling what disaster may lie ahead.
When Giorgio Tavecchio was signed, many in Packers Nation rejoiced in unison. The former 49ers kicker was signed in March, not really sure if he was going to be someone to keep Crosby on his toes, or legitimate competition.
But Tavecchio has stuck around through OTAs and through minicamp - long enough to show that this signing was more than just an effort to get inside Crosby’s head. Long enough to tell Crosby he was going to have to earn his job this training camp, something he has not had to do since 2007.
Will Tavecchio prove to be stiff enough competition to take the kicking duties away from Crosby? That remains to be seen.
But one thing is certain: Mason Crosby needs to perform at a high level from the second training camp gets underway. If he doesn’t, the only thing he will be kicking is himself, for losing his job.