Kicker Crosby back on sure footing with Packers

By GENARO C. ARMAS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-01 17:20

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - From being on unsure footing to returning to the top of his game, Mason Crosby has had quite the ride this season with the Packers.

Field-goal tries are no longer a fingernail-biting, roller-coaster ride in Green Bay. That was so 2012.

Crosby was selected the NFL special teams player of the month this week after leading the league with 50 points and 13 field goals in October, when the Packers went 4-0. He's s a reliable option again heading into the divisional showdown Monday night against the Chicago Bears.

''I think it says something about his resolve, his work ethic - about his ability to overcome adversity,'' special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said Friday when asked about the accolades for the seventh-year kicker.

Times were tough after Crosby made just 21 of 33 field-goal attempts last season for a league-worst 63.6 percent success rate. Coach Mike McCarthy brought in Giorgio Tavecchio and rookie Zach Ramirez during training camp - bringing in Ramirez in the last week of camp - but Crosby outlasted them both.

Now, he's 17 of 19 for an 89.5 percent success rate. Crosby was 13 of 15 in October, with his two misses coming from 44 and 52 yards.

McCarthy said this week that once Crosby won the job out of camp, he had no concerns. There's a history with Crosby, McCarthy said.

''He went through a tough spot. I believed in the man, I believed in his ability,'' McCarthy said. ''It was more of a mental tough spot that he was going through. I think what we put him through from a competitive standpoint in training camp I think it's good for all of us. And he responded.''

What's more, Crosby has been saving drives with the offense sputtering at times in or near the red zone. Crosby is 10 of 10 from inside the 40.

There doesn't seem to be any big differences in terms of preparation or mechanics. The focus midweek is on getting ''quality reps,'' he said, and trying not to over-kick. Too many practice kicks might lead to fatigue.

''I'm making sure my mindset is, in practice, that I need to make these kicks, focused in on almost trying to put myself in (game) situations. I think that's really been helpful,'' Crosby said.

Winning the kicking race in the preseason may have given him an edge, too. He said ''that competition in camp and different things have really taken me to a different level, and I feel solid.''

And he's just enjoying the job. Success breeds confidence. Slocum said Crosby ''is in a good place with his rhythm and mechanics.''

''I think success is more fun, and just leave it at that,'' Slocum said.

More concerning of late on special teams has been kickoff return coverage. Cordarrelle Patterson had a 109-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last week for the Vikings during Green Bay's 44-31 win. The Browns returned four kicks for 189 yards two weeks ago, while the Browns had four returns for 102 yards on Oct. 13.

Injuries may be partly to blame for the spotty coverage. There's a trickle-down effect to special teams, when players formerly second- or third-teamers are thrust into more prominent roles on offense or defense. They might be replaced on coverage teams with new signees or additions off the practice squad.

Slowly, the Packers are starting to get players healthy. This week, inside linebacker Brad Jones has been a full participant after missing a few weeks with a hamstring injury. McCarthy is also optimistic about the chances of tight end Ryan Taylor playing Sunday after missing a few weeks with a knee injury.

Just in time with Bears returner Devin Hester, who excels at scoring touchdowns, up next.

Also Friday, receiver James Jones (knee) practiced in pads on a limited basis. Jones, who has missed the last two games, will be re-evaluated Saturday.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org


Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Steve JohnsonOct 12 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared CB Craig Mager, DL Darius Philon, RB Donald Brown, OT King Dunlap, OG Orlando Franklin, WR Stevie Johnson, LB Tourek Williams inactive for Week 5.

B. RoethlisbergerOct 12 07:12p

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared LB Anthony Chickillo, QB Ben Roethlisberger, OG Chris Hubbard, CB Cortez Allen, DL Daniel McCullers, TE Jesse James, LB Ryan Shazier inactive for Week 5.

Jamaal CharlesOct 12 05:42p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles' (knee) MRI confirmed a torn anterior cruciate ligament, according to a source. Charles will likely miss the rest of the season.

Blake BortlesOct 12 03:22p

Updating previous reports, Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' (shoulder) sprained his throwing shoulder Sunday, Oct. 11, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is uncertain if Bortles will be able [ More ]

Josh McCownOct 12 03:12p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown (ankle) suffered an ankle sprain in a Week 5 win against the Baltimore Ravens. He is hopeful he'll be able [ More ]

Marques ColstonOct 12 03:02p

New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston (shoulder) has at least a separated shoulder and could have some structural damage in the shoulder, according to a source. Colston suffered the [ More ]

Antone SmithOct 12 03:02p

Free-agent RB Antone Smith (Falcons) signed with the Chicago Bears Monday, Oct. 12. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Jacquizz RodgersOct 12 02:52p

Chicago Bears RB Jacquizz Rodgers (arm) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct.12, because of a fractured arm.

Dwight FreeneyOct 12 02:32p

Free-agent LB Dwight Freeney (Chargers) signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals Monday, Oct. 12, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Odell Beckham Jr.Oct 12 02:22p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is dealing with a hamstring injury, but the team hopes he will be able to practice on at least a limited [ More ]

Marshawn LynchOct 12 02:02p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hamstring) should be able to play in Week 6 against the Carolina Panthers if he doesn't suffer any setbacks this week, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Blake BortlesOct 12 02:02p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (shoulder) likely will not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 14, but that should not indicate his status for the Week 6 game against the [ More ]

Blake BortlesOct 12 01:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (shoulder) suffered a Grade 1 shoulder sprain during the team's Week 5 game and his status will be updated later in the week, according to head coach Gus Bradley.

Charcandrick WestOct 12 12:52p

Kansas City Chiefs RBs Charcandrick West and Knile Davis both expect to split carries with RB Jamaal Charles (knee) expected to miss the rest of the season, and head [ More ]

Andrew LuckOct 12 12:52p

Indianapolis Colts QBs Andrew Luck (shoulder) and Matt Hasselbeck (illness) both practiced in full Monday, Oct. 12, according to head coach Chuck Pagano. Luck missed the last two weeks [ More ]

Matthew StaffordOct 12 11:22a

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford will remain the starting quarterback, despite being benched in Week 5 Sunday, Oct. 11.

Josh JohnsonOct 12 11:12a

Indianapolis Colts QB Josh Johnson was released Monday, Oct. 12.

Dez BryantOct 12 10:22a

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (foot) had bone marrow stem cells removed from his hip and injected into his ankle last week to help improve the healing process. The [ More ]

Matt CasselOct 12 02:02a

Dallas Cowboys QB Matt Cassel could get a chance in Week 7 after the team's bye, as head coach Jason Garrett said Sunday, Oct. 11, he will evaluate a [ More ]

Brandon WeedenOct 12 02:02a

Dallas Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden could be out as the team's starting quarterback, as head coach Jason Garrett said Sunday, Oct. 11, that he will evaluate a quarterback change during the team's bye week.

Matt JonesOct 12 02:02a

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones (toe) suffered a sprained big toe in the Week 5 overtime loss against the Atlanta Falcons.

Josh McCownOct 12 01:52a

Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown (ankle) suffered an ankle injury in the Week 5 win against the Baltimore Ravens. He was limping in the locker room after the game [ More ]

Shane VereenOct 12 01:22a

New York Giants RB Shane Vereen carried five times for 24 yards in the Week 5 game against the San Francisco 49ers and he added eight receptions for 86 yards with a touchdown.

Eli ManningOct 12 01:22a

New York Giants QB Eli Manning completed 41 of a career-high 54 pass attempts for 441 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the Week 5 game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Odell Beckham Jr.Oct 12 01:22a

Updating a previous report, New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) returned for the team's final drive in the fourth quarter in Week 5 against the San Francisco [ More ]

Anquan BoldinOct 12 01:12a

San Francisco 49ers WR Anquan Boldin reeled in eight receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown in the Week 5 game against the New York Giants. He was targeted a game-high 12 times.

Carlos HydeOct 12 01:12a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (leg) carried 21 times for 93 yards and a touchdown in the Week 5 game against the New York Giants.

Colin KaepernickOct 12 01:12a

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick completed 23 of his 35 pass attempts for 262 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Week 5 game against the New [ More ]

Andre WilliamsOct 12 01:12a

New York Giants RB Andre Williams carried three times for zero yards in the Week 5 game against the San Francisco 49ers and he had no receptions or targets.

Dion LewisOct 11 11:52p

New England Patriots RB Dion Lewis was on the field for 43 snaps against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5, finishing with six carries for 34 yards and eight [ More ]

Darren McFaddenOct 11 11:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Darren McFadden had a team-high nine catches for 62 yards and five carries for 16 yards in a 30-6 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 5.

Jamison CrowderOct 11 11:32p

Washington Redskins WR Jamison Crowder posted eight receptions for 87 yards in the Week 5 game against the Atlanta Falcons, cashing in all eight of his targets.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group