The Green Bay Packers made the controversial decision to move on from franchise leading scorer Mason Crosby to sixth round pick Anders Carlson. Fans have questioned the decision ever since Carlson’s selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, and questions have mounted since training camp.
The rookie kicker has struggled mightily since camp began. These struggles were highlighted by a one of six performance last week that had many calling for the team to reunite with Crosby.
However, comments made by Brian Gutekunst during his press conference yesterday leave a reunion with Crosby highly doubtful, at least for now.
A Green Bay Packers Reunion with Mason Crosby in Doubt After Brian Gutekunst Preaches Patience with Anders Carlson
There is no doubt in Carlon’s leg strength. Packers media members reported that he hit a 61-yard field goal during warmups at practice earlier this week. The questions, though, surround his ability to be accurate in high-pressure situations.
Gutekunst addressed those questions on Friday when he said:
“No concerns right now. It is the National Football League, you have to perform at every position. At the same time, we went into this year knowing rookie kickers will have some struggles, with the thought process that there will be some patience.”
Now while this sentiment may not be popular, it is important for fans to recall that Crosby was not always the high-standard of accuracy that he is remembered to be.
In Crosby’s first four years as the Packers’ kicker, he made 78.1% of his field goals. In 2012, he made just 63.6%. In 2017, he made 78.9% and in 2021 just 73.1%,
Of course, he had really good (not great) seasons sandwiched in between these struggles. If the Packers had not shown patience with him, he would not have had the long tenure that he did in Green Bay.
Now, there will be those that will say, “Well, he was a way better kicker right away than Dave Raynor.” However, that is not true. In Rayner’s lone season with the Packers, he made made 74.3% of his field goals. Crosby made 79.5% in his rookie season. A better year than Rayner’s? Yes, but not by much.
The Green Bay Packers Have Handed Anders Carlson the Job, For Now
In total, Carlson has made 16 of 27 field goals in camp, good for a woeful 59.2%. That being said, he is the only kicker in camp. In short, the job is his to lose.
Now, the Packers have a vital week (for Carlson) coming up. With Family Night tonight and joint practices followed by their first preseason game, Carlson can make or break his case as the team’s kicker by how he performs this week.
This does not mean, though, that he will be cut immediately if he continues to struggle. It means that Green Bay will bring in another kicker to create some competition. And that kicker likely will not be Mason Crosby. While the Packers have not closed the door completely on bringing him back, his presence in camp would only mean one thing: Carlson is done.
And Gutekunst has made it clear that they will be patient. It sounds like a reunion with Crosby is more of a last resort than anything else at this point for Green Bay.
Hopefully Carlson performs well and does not force them to make that decision.