Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mason Crosby - which season was a fluke?

Packer fans are pretty unanimously ready to see the back of Mason Crosby and for good reason.

But all I can think about every time the "Fire Mason Crosby" remarks come around is that last year Crosby was hailed as a savior. Since Ryan Longwell left, the Packers hadn't had a strong leg to rely on and here came Crosby and Packer fans were happy.

Now this season he can't seem to hit the broad side of a barn and it leaves me wonder, which season is more indicative of his ability and how long do we wait to find out?

In 2008, he led the league in scoring with 141 points. Doing so made him the first rookie to hold the scoring title since 1985. He was 31-of-39 on field goals and didn't miss an extra point. All that added up to Crosby setting a franchise record for kickers - most points in a season.

In looking for some of Crosby's stats from previous seasons I came across this spectacularly compiled chart of well known Packers kickers from the past and how their stats and Crosby's compare. It was compiled by a poster named Muddy Mask over at the Sports Bubbler. It's the first post on this page.

Once again I'm having Image issues today, so click on it to have it open bigger and more readable in a new window. Sorry.

The three most salient points in defense of Crosby, I think, are that the team has changed the holder on Crosby multiple times, all but one of his misses have been from the right hash mark and there is not anyone better available.

Think about it - the Saints were so frustrated with John Carney that they decided to go with Garrett Hartley, a guy who sat multiple weeks of the season because he tested positive for a banned substance.

Hartley promptly took to the promotion by missing a 37-yard field goal that would have won the game for the Saints and instead sent the game into OT where they Saints lost their second game in a row.

Both Ted Thompson's and Mike McCarthy's butts have been on the hot seat this season. The playoff berth certainly cooled things off for them, but both know that their jobs aren't as secure as they'd like. If Crosby were replaceable and if there were better options out there, the Packers would be checking them out.

I'm not saying Crosby hasn't struggled at times and I certainly hope the Packers draft a kicker (since Ted Thompson clearly won't pick up a free agent) - if only to give Crosby the kick in the rear and competition he so clearly needs. Either he steps up to the challenge and we get Crosby circa 2008 back or the new guy kick's his butt and Crosby is never to be seen near a field again.

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