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Packers kickers a real study in contrast

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Posted Nov. 29, 2012 @ 3:16 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Despite eight misses in his last 15 FG attempts entering Week 13, we hear there are no indications whatsoever that Packers PK Mason Crosby is in danger of losing his job.

Proof that head coach Mike McCarthy and special-teams coach Shawn Slocum remain firmly committed to Crosby, who received a well-deserved five-year, $14.75 million contract last season, was provided when they didn’t seem to hesitate in allowing Crosby to try a 55-yard FG attempt early in the Week 12 loss to the Giants with the game tied 7-7 at a time when it seemed the kicker’s confidence was indeed suffering.

Crosby missed the kick wide left, and the Giants, taking advantage of favorable field position, proceeded to march down the field for a TD and a 14-7 lead and never looked back. Crosby rebounded with a 28-yard field goal before halftime. But after finishing 11thin FG accuracy with a career-best 85.7 conversion rate last season, including 16 consecutive three-pointers in the first nine games, Crosby has been haunted by consistently errant attempts this season.

While his 1-for-6 conversion rate from 50 yards and beyond is greatly responsible for a 60 percent conversion rate that was the league’s lowest by a wide margin entering Week 13, Crosby also has faltered on what appeared to be quite makeable attempts, missing two between 30-39 yards.

McCarthy and Slocum have both maintained that Crosby has the mental toughness to bust out of his slump, and believe additional time in the film room spent studying only his successful kicks will enable him to regain his natural stroke without overthinking the process.

In the meantime, the Packers haven’t had to worry much at all about their other kicker, P Tim Masthay, who has picked up where he left off last season, when his 38.6-yard net average ended up being the best by a Packers punter in 48 years.

Entering Week 13, Masthay had a 40.0-yard net average and was tied for third in the NFL with 49ers P Andy Lee with 26 punts inside the 20-yard line. In addition, the hang time on Masthay’s punts has been consistently higher than it was last season.

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