Notebook: Crosby Won't Be Kicked

With slim pickings on the street, struggling Packers kicker Mason Crosby appears to be in no danger of losing his job. Plus, Brandon Chillar gets a new contract but Nick Collins is on hold; and much more from Monday.

Coach Mike McCarthy and special-teams coordinator Shawn Slocum gave embattled kicker Mason Crosby a vote of confidence on Monday, and McCarthy gave no indication a change is being considered.

"I'll just say this: I have all the confidence in the world in Mason Crosby," McCarthy said when asked if the team would be bringing in any free-agent kickers this week. "As far as what players, what position, we bring players in here all the time on Tuesday, and I've never commented on it in the past, and I won't today. But I have all the confidence in the world in Mason Crosby."

The Packers are tied for 25th in the league with a 75 percent success rate on field goals. Crosby is 24-of-32 this season, including just 5-of-12 on field goals from 40 yards and beyond.

"The field goal that we missed yesterday was one that we should have made," Slocum told reporters on Monday. "I'll say this, Mason has hit 85 percent of his field goals underneath 50 yards. He's fifth in the league in scoring for kickers and we've attempted more field goals than any other kicker in the league. So there's some positives also."

Then again, the Packers might not have much choice other than hope Crosby begins kicking to his potential. NFL insider Adam Caplan produces a "best available free agents" list every week. The possibilities:

— Mike Nugent, the highly touted prospect from Ohio State who was released by the Buccaneers after making just 2-of-6 attempts — including 0-for-3 from 40 to 49 yards. Nugent hit 24-of-27 in 2006 for the Jets, who drafted him in the second round in 2005. He injured a quad in the regular-season opener last year for New York and lost his job to Jay Feely. He signed with the Bucs as a free agent in the offseason. Nugent's agent, Ken Harris, said the Packers have not contacted him about his client. Nugent recently worked out for Washington but failed to get that job.

Jason Elam, who was released by the Falcons after making only 12-of-19 field goals — including a dreadful 4-of-8 from 30 to 39 yards. Crosby is 7-of-8 from that distance. The 39-year-old Elam did make 29-of-31 for the Falcons last season.

— Steven Hauschka, who was released by the Ravens after making only 9-of-13 field goals.

— Taylor Mehlhaff, the former University of Wisconsin kicker who made 3-of-4 field goals and missed an extra point for the Saints after being a sixth-round pick last season.

Collins still on hold

Despite Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins having what McCarthy called an "excellent year," there apparently have been no conversations toward a new contract.

Collins, who's in his fifth season, would be an unrestricted free agent if a new collective bargaining agreement is struck by March 1. If not, he'll be restricted, meaning the Packers can sign him to another affordable contract in the offseason. Apparently, the Packers are banking on there being no new CBA.

"Really, the business part of it is not for me really to sit up here and talk about," McCarthy said. "But I find Nick Collins, and for the most part all of our players are very professional. Everybody understands the way the business goes. You want to see the positives work out for everybody. Nick Collins is having a great year, and I'll leave it at that. I think Nick has been a core guy in our locker room, and he's playing at an extremely high level."

Collins, who tied teammate Charles Woodson for the NFC lead with seven interceptions last season, has six this year.

A scare for Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that he thought he avoided a major injury during Sunday's game. McCarthy said he hadn't heard about it but thought it might have taken place when Tommie Harris hit Rodgers low on a successful two-point conversion.

Needless to say, losing Rodgers would be a horrible blow for the team.

"Oh, I would clearly say that Aaron Rodgers has fallen into the classification of a franchise quarterback," McCarthy said. "He has played at that level. I know it's only been a year and a half or a year and three-quarters. I think he's definitely at that level of play, so I just think that in itself tells you how we feel about him and his value to our football team."

To see King's story, click here.

Four-point stance

— Nose tackle Ryan Pickett, who was held out of Sunday's game, will have his hamstring tested on Wednesday or Thursday to see if he can practice later in the week. Johnny Jolly (knee sprain) will miss practice time, and Brandon Underwood (hip) and B.J. Raji (ankle) will be limited.

— Game balls went to Atari Bigby and A.J. Hawk on defense, Ryan Grant on offense, Collins on special teams and Brandon Chillar for the big hit.

Mark Tauscher played the entire game after taking most of the snaps six days earlier against Baltimore. "I'm curious to see how he comes in here Wednesday, because I'm sure he's sore today," McCarthy said. "Anytime you come off that major injury, the first time you go to a full game, that's something that we're watching very closely."

— The Packers have waived wide receiver Biren Ealy, NFL insider Adam Caplan says.

Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.

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

Packer Report Top Stories