Had it been a sunny day in September, Mason Crosby might have made the 69-yard free kick that fell just short at the end of the first half of a cold Sunday in December at Lambeau Field.
"Oh, man, I wish I could have gotten that one," Crosby said on Monday as he and his teammates cleared their lockers for the offseason.
While the wind was at Crosby's back, any advantage was trumped by kicking a frozen ball in the heavy, cold air. The kick landed at the base of the goal post. It would have been the first successful free kick in the NFL since Chicago's Mac Percival beat the Packers with a 43-yarder on Nov. 3, 1968.
"I think a little less wind, a little warmer temperatures, that might have helped a little bit," Crosby said. "As it gets colder and the wind picks up — even if the wind's helping — it can knock the ball down. I wanted that one. As I hit it, I thought I had it. It was going, and when I watched it on film, it looked like it was going to go in but it just kind of died."
Crosby said the team prepared for a free kick early in the year, but he only practiced kicks from about 55 yards.
"I don't think I've ever attempted a field goal that long since I've been up here," said Crosby, who made a 60-yard field goal while a sophomore at Colorado and just missed a 65-yarder as a senior. "I was happy with how I kicked it. It was close."
Crosby made 27-of-34 field goals this season after going 31-of-39 as a rookie. His 79.4 percent success rate was on par with last year's 79.5. He missed potential game-winning kicks, however, against Minnesota and Chicago.
"I felt like I hit the ball well and made some kicks when I needed to but also didn't have some at the ends of two games," Crosby said. "If I look back, that's the thing, the two games. I'm never going to focus on the negatives. That's not going to be me in the spring. I'm going to look at the positives, and I think there are a lot of positives I can take from this year."
Meanwhile, special-teams coordinator Mike Stock on Monday said the 38-yarder that was blocked at the end of the Chicago game was not Crosby's fault. He blamed it on the "operation," meaning either the snap by Brett Goode or the hold by Matt Flynn.
Moss a candidate in St. Louis
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Packers linebackers coach/assistant head coach Winston Moss will interview for the St. Louis Rams' coaching vacancy by the end of this week.
Before that news became public, Moss was asked by reporters on Monday about his interest in becoming a head coach. The 43-year-old Moss, seen as one of the top young coaches in the NFL, called it a "natural progression" for his career.
Speaking of coaches
Coach Mike McCarthy announced no changes to his coaching staff on Monday.
At least two of his coaches are on the hot seat: Stock and defensive coordinator Bob Sanders.
Several high-profile candidates with defensive backgrounds are on the market after losing their jobs. On Monday, the Jets fired coach Eric Mangini, the Browns fired coach Romeo Crennel and the Lions fired coach Rod Marinelli. Other candidates could include Gregg Williams, who is expected to be out as Jacksonville's defensive coordinator, and Mike Nolan, who was fired at midseason as San Francisco's coach. Jim Haslett, who was the Rams' interim coach, likely will be available, too. Or, McCarthy could promote Moss if Moss doesn't land the St. Louis gig.
Three free agents
Cole was playing under the restricted free agent tender of $1.417 million. Montgomery was playing the final year of his four-year, $1.487 million rookie deal after being a sixth-round pick in 2005. Tauscher, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, was playing the final year of a six-year deal he signed in 2002. That deal was reworked in 2007 to bump Tauscher's salary. He made $6.271 million this season, fourth-highest on the team.
Vote for Rodgers
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one of three nominees for the FedEx Air Player of the Week Award. Rodgers completed 21-of-31 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday's victory over Detroit.
Fans can vote until 5 p.m. Wednesday (Central) at NFL.com/FedEx.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Notebook: Crosby shows off his leg
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