Packers kicker Mason Crosby says he's on track to play against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1
GREEN BAY – Barring any setbacks, Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby expects to be ready for the team’s season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 11.
Crosby said he began kicking this week, approximately six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to tighten ligaments in his right knee, and everything went well.
“I kicked today three or five times with footballs,” Crosby said after practice Tuesday. “This is where I wanted to be. I’m hitting all the targets that we set. Hopefully, the swelling will stay down, and I’ll keep stacking things and moving forward.”
Crosby was seen kicking soccer balls on the sideline at practice, but most of his work has been inside the Don Hutson Center, where he has been strengthening his leg and working on getting his kicking motion to full strength.
He said he didn’t see any reason he wouldn’t be able to kick against the Vikings provided everything continues to go as it has. Crosby remains on the physically unable to perform list and the Packers will have to activate him by Tuesday’s final cutdown for him to be eligible to play in the opener.
It’s possible Crosby will take part in practices next week, but if he doesn’t, he will have a full week of practices to ready himself going into the Vikings game.
Asked if he had any concern Crosby wouldn’t be ready, coach Matt LaFleur said until Crosby is out there kicking against the Vikings, he’ll have some concern. But he said things were looking good.
“He's made good progress,” LaFleur said. “I think he's feels confident. We'll just take it one day at a time and see where he's at.”
The Packers may be in a good position if things aren’t 100% with Crosby because former USFL kicker Ramiz Ahmed has been extremely accurate. He has missed only one field goal in practice since joining the team Aug. 14 and connected on kicks of 25 and 45 yards against the Saints.
Special teams coach Rich Bisaccia has tested him from many different distances and he has come through almost every time. On Tuesday, for instance, he hit from 39, 41, 44, 46, 49 and 51 yards.
He will get another chance to kick in a game against Kansas City on Thursday night and will be kicking as much for those teams who are unsure about their kickers heading into final cutdowns as he will the Packers. If the Packers cut him and he clears waivers, it’s possible he could be signed to the practice squad and be around if needed.
Ahmed said he’s benefited from having a holder as experienced as punter Pat O’Donnell and has appreciated how the operation has gone with him, O’Donnell and rookie long snapper Jack Coco. It helped him to have Crosby around when he kicked inside Lambeau Field because the winds are unpredictable and there were some tips the veteran was able to offer.
“I don’t want to give away any secrets, but when you’re going in one way, it feels like the wind is blowing left to right,” he said. “So, at halftime I was playing the ball left to center and it would blow left, even though it felt the wind was pushing it that way (to the right).
“But it’s good, it’s good training.”
Ahmed attended the University of Nevada and signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2020. He was released after training camp and spent the next two years training with former San Diego Chargers kicker John Carney.
He caught on with the Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL and hit 14 of 22 field goals, including a 61-yarder.