Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby seems unfazed by the NFL’s efforts to make his job more difficult.
The NFL will experiment this preseason by moving the line of scrimmage back on extra points, effectively forcing kickers to convert a 38-yard PAT instead of the normal 20-yard kick.
“For me, I don’t really have a strong opinion about it, it’s for them to decide, I don’t think it really matters,” Crosby said Tuesday morning at Lambeau Field prior to the start of the ninth annual Packers Tailgate Tour.
“I think the guys that might not like it are the linemen having to go back and forth. We got some guys that are a little outspoken. Maybe (guards) Josh Sitton and T.J. (Lang) and those guys might say something if it gets a little rough going back and forth from (when) you score inside the 10, you’ve got to go back to the 20 or the 30.”
The last time Crosby missed an extra point was in 2011 when one was blocked against the Oakland Raiders. Crosby has made 348 of 350 PAT attempts in his seven-year pro career. It’s that kind of dead-on accuracy that concerns NFL owners, who believe the extra point has become too automatic.
“If we keep making the extra points, who knows what they’ll decide on?” Crosby said. “For us, we’ll just start practicing that kick (from 38 yards). It’s just kind of a change in distance, kind of a change in look. We’ll just practice it like we do any other extra point and go out and execute if that rule gets changed.”
NFL owners considered moving the line of scrimmage to the 25-yard line on PATs, which would have forced a 43-yard extra-point kick. Packers President Mark Murphy, a member of the NFL competition committee, said owners also discussed narrowing the goalpost uprights.
But at the NFL meeting last month, owners settled on an experiment during the first two weeks of this preseason that will employ 38-yard PATs.
“I think how most of us see it, it’s just another part of the game, if that’s the rule that happens,” Crosby said. “I know obviously we’re going to do it in preseason. I’ll hit some balls from there. … That will be a little strange if it does come through to have field goals closer than what extra points are sometimes.”
Only five extra points were missed during the 2013 regular season, with kickers converting 99.6 percent. According to Murphy, the conversion rate on 38-yard field goals is roughly 90 percent, and on 43-yard field goals it’s around 87 percent.
Crosby said he never takes an extra point for granted: “I know up here, especially in the winter, that footing gets a little weird. You definitely pay attention to it.”