The Green Bay Packers’ decision to not re-sign Mason Crosby and draft Anders Carlson in the 2023 NFL Draft has been met with mixed reactions from their fanbase. While many fans were unhappy with Crosby’s inability to be able to kick far enough last season, Carlson’s inconsistency in training camp has led them to want Crosby back.
It does not appear like a reunion is in the cards, however. Both general manager Brian Gutekunst and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia addressed the media on Friday, and each had the same sentiment when it came to how they are approaching their new kicker.
Anders Carlson Is the Kicker for the Green Bay Packers
Both Gutekunst and Bisaccia approach the game of football from the perspective of individuals who have been doing what they do at the highest level for decades. If a player is struggling, they have the experience to know whether it is due to a fixable mechanics issue or because that player does not have what it takes.
In short, both believe in Anders Carlson. While his struggles have been frustrating, they believe that he can and will fix the issues that are plaguing him. Gutekunst said:
“I think one thing in my time here, not only here in Green Bay, but throughout the league, is there’s not a lot of patience when there maybe needs to be. Certainly, Mason had some times, multiple times, while he was here where he was in some really bad spots. I always thought Ted [Thompson] gave him a pretty long leash and he always came out of it.”
The thing about Packers fans and Crosby is that there is a great deal of selective memory happening right now. There is no doubt that Crosby had many, many years of being a reliable kicker. One does not become the all-time leading scorer in the history of a 100+ year old franchise by being a bad player.
That being said, Crosby did have more than his fair share of years in which he struggled mightily. He did not make 80% of his kicks until his fifth year in the NFL, and followed that up with a year in which he made just 63.6% of his kicks.
Had then-general manager Ted Thompson been quick to react, Green Bay would have cut ties with Crosby long, long ago. However, he knew that, sometimes, a player needs time to work through their struggles.
Coach Bisaccia knows that, too. When he was asked about Carlson and his struggles, he said:
“First off, Brian [Gutekunst] and I are on the same page. You know, when we made this decision, I think that age and wisdom, to some degree, allows you to have a little more patience, especially with this position. It’s a special position.
“He’s exhibited a lot of the things that we knew he was, in a positive way, and there will always been things to clean up.”
In all fairness, Green Bay has been up front with the media and its fans regarding what their expectations are for the season. While they intend to compete for and win the NFC North, there will be learning moments with such a young roster. Patience is going to be practiced.