Crosby Warming Up for Playoffs

It's too soon to say whether the Packers' patience will be rewarded but there at least are some positive signs entering the postseason.

Spanning the 2010 and 2011 seasons, kicker Mason Crosby made a team-record 23 consecutive field goals.

By that standard, Crosby hasn't done anything special, but with four consecutive makes to end the season, the Green Bay Packers hope they're pointed in the right direction headed into the playoffs.

"I'm very pleased with the way Mason has responded to the tough road he's gone down, and it's important for him to have another good week of preparation and get out and kick in the stadium again this week," coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday. "Today we had a chance to practice in weather that's very similar to what it's going to be Saturday night. I'm pleased with what he's done the last two weeks."

Last week, Crosby connected from 51 yards before halftime and added a 40-yarder. The 51-yarder snapped a streak of seven failures in a row from 50-plus yards.

"I really feel good about the way Mason has responded to everything that's gone on this season," special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said. "I think he's put in some very good work, detailed work and he's got his rhythm and timing back. It looks like he's striking the ball the way it's supposed to be struck."

Of the 37 kickers who attempted at least one field goal this season, Crosby finished 35th by making 21-of-34 (61.8 percent). Billy Cundiff, who finished 36th by hitting 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) before being released by Washington, was signed on Wednesday by San Francisco, where he'll compete this week against veteran David Akers, who finished 34th by making 29-of-42 (69.1 percent). Nate Kaeding, who was the most accurate kicker in NFL history but out of the league for most of the season, finished 37th and last by making 1-of-3 (33.3 percent) with Miami.

Slocum said there was no need to "light a fire" under Crosby and that the kicker's professionalism was why the team didn't bring in a challenger or new kicker.

"For me, I never lost confidence in this whole situation," Crosby said. "I went out every week, for the misses I had, I made some big kicks in some games that I needed to make at the end of games, so I drew those positives. I continued to draw from positives. I think the confidence this organization and Coach showed in me, that definitely helps. I go around and I look in this locker room every day and I look at my teammates, guys I've played with for a long time now, and that's what motivates me to go out and be successful and have confidence and do my thing. I never dwelt on, ‘Are they going to bring guys in? What's going to happen here?' That whole situation, you can't really think that way. That's what got me through this, and that's what helped me these last two games have success and have that momentum carrying into the playoffs here."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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