Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum seems confident kicker Mason Crosby will bounce back from a sub-par season in 2012.
“He had some technical issues that he worked through," Slocum said. "I thought he started to improve at the end of the season. He’s had a good offseason to this point. We want to get to the production we had at the end of 2010 through 2011. That’s what’s important for us to get to.”
The Packers brought in competition for Crosby in the form of Giorgio Tavecchio in the offseason.
"It was an organizational decision," Slocum said. "We looked at it, we weren’t as productive as we needed to be last year, Mason’s a very good kicker, and we decided to bring in competition with Giorgio Tavecchio – (he) did a solid job at training camp for the 49ers a year ago and has done well since he’s been here.”
When asked whether the presence of Tavecchio will motivate Crosby, Slocum said: “Honestly, when you’ve got other players at your position you’re motivated because there’s someone else there. I think what’s most important for a kicker or a punter, their real competition is the league and particularly the kicker has to score points. That’s such a vital part, the games are so close. We’ve got to make the field goals, that’s the formula for winning. Special teams is made field goals, it's one of the factors. His competition, his motivation comes from competing in this league."
Here are some other highlights from my conversation with Slocum last week:
On the chances of Randall Cobb playing special teams this season: “We’ll take this thing through training camp. Randall will work there as well as Jeremy (Ross), and then we’ve got a couple of young guys in Nixon the corner, and Franklin the running back and even Pease has done a good job catching. We’ve got a number of guys there. Looking at Randall and Jeremy probably being up front right now, and we’ll give ‘em all equal opportunity and see what best fits the way we lay out the whole football team.”
On how he graded Ross last season on returns: “I thought it was very positive in light of him coming in late in the season, being on the practice squad, being elevated and asked to do a number of things. Had some good production. I think with a full offseason and really understanding everything we’re doing in our program, that he’ll be a better football player across the board. I look forward to seeing his development. … He’ll have an opportunity to display his dependability as we move through training camp.”
On the incoming rookies and their potential contribution to special teams: “I really like this roster. I think our personnel guys did a great job adding the players we added, looking out there, working with these guys now. We’ve got a bunch of guys with the body types that can run and have range that make them good special teams players. There’s a lot of energy in this group and (we) look forward to molding them together and forming a new group.”