Mason Crosby accepts blame for Packers' field-goal woes: 'We'll get it right'
GREEN BAY – Mason Crosby has had two holders and two snappers since training camp opened, a byproduct of several problems in the Green Bay Packers' field-goal operation in front of him, but the veteran kicker isn’t making any excuses for one of his worst seasons.
Even if Crosby isn’t to blame for each of his eight missed kicks this season (seven field goals and one extra point), he knows each left his foot. That, to Crosby, is enough to keep the 15th-year kicker from being anything but introspective.
“As long as I’m able to kick a ball and do this thing,” Crosby said, “I’m going to always take ultimate responsibility for what happens out there on the field. We’re always going to fine tune it, and work on it, and make sure we get whatever we need to fix right.”
So many of the issues on field goals this season have been outside Crosby’s control.
The Packers changed punters before the regular season, releasing JK Scott and trading a late-round draft pick for Corey Bojorquez. While the move has worked fabulously in the punt game, where Bojorquez’s 44.3-yard average net leads the NFL, it also removed the holder Crosby worked with for three seasons.
With the connection between Bojorquez and long snapper Hunter Bradley shaky earlier this season, the Packers released Bradley after eight games. Crosby missed his first three kicks with new snapper Steven Wirtel, none of them longer than 40 yards. His two misses in Kansas City were the difference in a 13-7 loss.
Then Crosby missed a 27-yard field goal Sunday against Seattle when the operation appeared to be clean. Coach Matt LaFleur said Crosby leaned forward before the snap, throwing off his timing.
Crosby is 14-of-21 on field goals this season, the most he’s missed since a disastrous 21-of-33 in 2012. He’s 24-of-25 on extra points, his lone miss coming against Cincinnati. Crosby ended that game making a winning field goal late in overtime, but he missed three straight potential winners before that.
“When I look back at some of the film and some of the things,” Crosby said, “it’s frustrating. If it wasn’t my job, and I wasn’t in the middle of it, I’d almost kind of be like, ‘Man, just everything that could go wrong in a few of these situations kind of did.’”
There was a time early this season when Packers field goals were not adventurous. Crosby made a 51-yard game winner with no time left on the clock Week 3 at San Francisco. After making his first three field goals in Cincinnati two weeks later, Crosby had connected on 27 straight field goals, a franchise record.
Since then, Packers field goals have gone haywire. Crosby is just 3-for-7 in his past four games. On a team that appears to have the pieces on offense and defense to make a Super Bowl run, the field-goal unit stands as the biggest pitfall to a potential title.
In January, Crosby knows, seasons can hinge on his right foot.
“We will be good,” Crosby said, “and we’ll get it right. Because this team deserves that. We have something special here, and we’ve got to make sure we execute at a high level.”
Rodgers returns to practice
Aaron Rodgers threw passes on the Packers' practice field Friday for the first time in almost three weeks, returning from an absence induced by COVID-19 and a toe injury.
Rodgers missed the first two days of practice this week, allowing his toe to heal. He made clear Wednesday no amount of practice missed this week would keep him from playing Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
“I’m definitely playing Sunday,” Rodgers said.
It’s the first time since Nov. 1 that Rodgers has participated in a practice. That was the Monday following the Packers trip to the Arizona Cardinals, two days before Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19. LaFleur designed that practice as more of a walkthrough pace, giving his players a chance to ramp up their physical activity after a long weekend break.
Rodgers hadn’t undergone a regular practice since Oct. 22, the Friday before a home game against Washington. The Packers did not have regular practices in their short-week schedule before their Thursday night game at Arizona.
Coach Matt LaFleur confirmed Friday his three-time MVP quarterback will play against the Vikings.
“He looked good throwing the football,” LaFleur said. “So I’m confident he’ll be in a good place on Sunday.”
Left tackle David Bakhtiari missed his fourth straight practice. Bakhtiari has not practiced since Nov. 11, missing all three sessions this week. LaFleur has said Bakhtiari did not have a setback with his recovery, but he was ruled out Friday after being listed as doubtful the previous week.
Running back Aaron Jones (torn MCL), receiver Allen Lazard (shoulder) and receiver Malik Taylor (abdomen) did not practice. Jones and Taylor were ruled out, while Lazard is doubtful.
Outside linebacker Rashan Gary was listed as questionable after being limited in practice for a third straight day. Gary was able to practice with a large brace covering his hyperextended elbow. Defensive lineman Kingsley Keke was also listed questionable as he recovers from a concussion.
Getsy ‘flattered’ by Akron rumors
For two seasons, Luke Getsy was a standout quarterback at Akron, leading the Zips to the 2005 Mid-American Conference championship.
So even though Getsy’s coaching trajectory seems firmly entrenched as the Packers quarterbacks coach, a job that could pave the way to bigger NFL opportunities in the future, his name has been rumored in regard to Akron’s head-coaching vacancy.
It wouldn’t be the first time Getsy left the Packers for college football. He was initially hired as offensive quality control coach in 2014, then promoted to receivers coach for two seasons in 2016. Getsy accepted a position as Mississippi State’s offensive coordinator and receivers coach in 2018, but returned to the Packers after one season as the team’s quarterbacks coach.
After Rodgers won his third MVP last year, Getsy was promoted to the offense’s passing game coordinator.
Getsy’s star appears to be rising in the NFL. When asked about the Akron job, Getsy emphasized how much he would like a future coaching in pro football.
“I obviously have dreams and aspirations,” Getsy said, “to be a coordinator in this league, or be a head coach eventually. As far as how that stuff plans out or where you go, I guess I just found out early in this business that if you spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly where you want to be, you’re going to miss an opportunity or not be prepare for an opportunity. So I try to kick butt at what I’m doing right now. I try to let that speak for what it is.
“As far as opportunities like that, I’m always flattered. Especially at places like that, it’s my alma mater. So it hits different, right? But, no, I don’t know what’s next, but I do have aspirations to be a head coach and offensive coordinator in this league. We’ll just let whatever happens next, happen.”