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Packers pre-draft position report: Specialists

Apr. 18, 2013
Packers position series: K Mason Crosby needs bang...
Packers position series: K Mason Crosby needs bang...: April 18: Press-Gazette sports editor Mike Vandermause and reporter Rob Demovsky break down Mason Crosby's 2012 struggles and the possible kicking competition with recently signed Giorgio Tavecchio
Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby. / File/Press-Gazette media

Once again this year, Packers beat writer Rob Demovsky will provide a pre-draft breakdown of the Packersí roster at each position heading into the April 25-27 NFL draft.

Hereís the position schedule:

April 10: Defensive line
April 11: Linebackers
April 12: Defensive backs
April 13: Offensive line
April 14: Running backs
April 15: Receivers
April 16: Tight ends
April 17: Quarterbacks
Today: Special teams

Special teams

What they have: Mason Crosby (K), Giorgio Tavecchio (K), Tim Masthay (P), Brett Goode (LS).

Position analysis: The Packers stuck with Crosby through the worst slump of his six-year NFL career last season, when he went through a stretch in which he missed 12 of 24 field goals on the way to finishing with the lowest conversion rate in the league, 63.6 percent (21 of 33). Theyíve finally added some competition in Tavecchio, a first-year player from Cal who spent last summer in training camp with the 49ers. Itís the first competition Crosby will face since he beat out Dave Rayner in the 2007 preseason. Said coach Mike McCarthy recently: ďI think competitionís good, definitely. I donít think you can look past any performance throughout your team and think that competitionís (not) going to help, regardless of how they performed the year before. I mean, I think thatís definitely something that weíll look at. And the other part of it, Masonís in town and we feel good about the plan and all the things that weíve talked about. Heís an experienced kicker and those guys make subtle adjustments. Sometimes itís too much and if thereís a common theme of a lot of our evaluation with our football team, it falls in the category of too much.Ē Thereís no competition needed for Masthay, who bettered his own team record for net punting average (38.9 yards) last season and also had 30 punts downed inside the 20 (tying a team record) with just five touchbacks in 70 attempts. Opponents averaged just 7.5 yards per return against him. Goode is as dependable as they come. He didnít have an issue on a long snap last season.

The future: The Packers should be able to tell relatively soon if Tavecchio can push Crosby. If theyíre still worried about Crosby and if they think they can do better than Tavecchio, then perhaps they might consider drafting a kicker Ė the top one is Florida Stateís Dustin Hopkins Ė or signing one after the draft.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports