GREEN BAY – Until he attempts another extra point or field goal, Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby won’t know for sure whether the laces will be in the right place or the timing will be perfect.
It’s just something he has to trust will be right.
“I can’t snap it, I can’t hold it, so I always look at myself first and evaluate what I can do better,” Crosby said this week after missing two extra points in Dallas on Sunday. “We just had a couple of rhythm issues in the game with the timing and some of the laces and stuff.
“Unfortunately, it popped up there and I wasn’t able to knock them through there. For me, my responsibility is to make the kick. I never try to put it on anyone else.”
Rookie long snapper Taybor Pepper admitted that his snaps were not good enough and caused timing issues with both of the misses against the Cowboys. Crosby hit the right upright on the first attempt and badly missed to the left on his second attempt.
He came into the game having missed just seven extra points in 500 regular-season attempts.
“The issue was (on) the first snap I had (it where) the laces were back, so I was trying to adjust it on the second one to get it right,” Pepper said. “The ball had a good trajectory and then died all of a sudden.
“It was just kind of weird to watch, but it’s just locking in and snapping hard.”
Pepper said that he compounded the first mistake with an adjustment that caused the second mistake. He said this week in practice he focused on doing the same thing over and over again in order to get himself re-trained at making every snap perfect.
“You just have to be uber aware of everything your body is doing,” he said. “Same thing with kicking. If you’re off by a centimeter with the ball, on a kick, that’s 5 feet either way. On a snap, if your finger is a centimeter the wrong way then it’s 6 inches in the wrong spot or the spiral’s off.”
The only positive to come out of it was that Pepper, holder Justin Vogel and Crosby were able to connect on two more extra point attempts and a 22-yard field goal. After a week of practice the three know losing two points the way they did against Dallas could cost them the game if it happens again in Minnesota.
“Mistakes should not happen on special teams because we have so few opportunities during a game,” Pepper said. “It’s just a matter of locking in every rep. There’s no reason to come back to practice and get 100 reps. Just do everything like you normally do it.”
New receiver: With safety Morgan Burnett looking like he will be a no-go against the Vikings, someone else will receive the radio calls from the sideline in their helmet.
Both Blake Martinez and Clay Matthews have done it, but it appears safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will be the one in communication with the sideline. A receiver will be put in his helmet and it will be his responsibility to relay the call to the rest of the defense.
“It’s tough,” Matthews said. “I had to do it for a few years. It’s kind of hard having to spit that out to the guys a couple of times running the back end, show one thing, perform another thing.
“It’s no different than what we’ve been doing, but it will just require Ha Ha to be a little more vocal in getting that out and going to managing his area and everything. It’s a tough job.”
Itching to play: Each of the past four weeks, ever since David Bakhtiari tried to get through pregame warmups in Atlanta, Packers offensive line coach James Campen has been hopeful his left tackle could play.
Each of the past four weeks, Bakhtiari hasn’t. A hamstring injury has kept him inactive since the Packers' opener against the Seattle Seahawks. It’s the longest absence because of injury in Bakhtiari’s career.
No, Campen said, his left tackle isn’t thrilled missing all these snaps.
“He’s semi-miserable to be with right now,” Campen said, “but we love him. Dave is very competitive. Not only internally for his own personal pride, but David does not like to put any extra stress on his teammates. I think that came from his upbringing.
“If you meet his father ever, he’s, ‘Don’t put stuff on other people.’ So he’s frustrated, but he’s looking better.”
The question is what kind of condition Bakhtiari will be in when he returns. If it’s this week, he’ll be tasked with blocking Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen.
“At the end of the day, game time is game time. When you miss that,” Bakhtiari said, not finishing the sentence. “You can simulate as close as you can in practice. Like they say in the preseason, you can simulate it as much as you can but, at the end of the day, those reps in the game environment are valuable.”