Notebook: Crosby Remains Kicker

One day after a 37-36 loss at Pittsburgh, the coach says he has no interest in working out a kicker. Plus, the Packers' takeaway streak ends at Pittsburgh and much more from a busy Monday at 1265 Lombardi Ave.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy made no if's, and's or but's about it: Mason Crosby remains the kicker. Period.

With his miss from 34 yards on Sunday at Pittsburgh, Crosby has misfired in four consecutive games on kicks ranging from 34 to 43 yards. His 73 percent accuracy ranks 26th among the NFL's 32 teams. Twenty-two teams have made at least 80 percent of their field goals.

"Mason Crosby's our kicker," McCarthy said on Monday, one day after the Packers lost 37-36 at Pittsburgh. "He will be our kicker moving forward. I have zero interest in bringing in a kicker. I have all the confidence that Mason will fix the issue that he's having with missing the one kick a game. I know it doesn't do any good talking about it in here or publicly, but he's kicked the ball very well. The two opportunities to make key field goals, he did not. I think they're technical things that he's fully capable of correcting, and that will be our focus."

"He's a very talented kicker, he's our kicker, he will be our kicker and he will kick it through the uprights," McCarthy added.

McCarthy added that punter Jeremy Kapinos will remain the holder, even though he dropped the ball on the Packers' first extra point, which Crosby managed to make.

"He came running on the field, heart pounding like crazy," special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said after the Packers' quick-strike opening touchdown. "He's the new holder, he dropped it, he got the spot right on, Mason made the kick. After that point, he was fine with the holds. They were right on the mark."

The hope is the additional time that Kapinos and Crosby spend together on the practice field will help Crosby break out of a slump that threatens the Packers' playoff prospects. Slocum called it a "natural" to have the punter doing the holding for the kicker, a fact confirmed by every one of the Packers' opponents this season using their punter as a holder.

"The punter and kicker, they spend all their time together and there's more opportunities for them to work on it, based on Matt Flynn's other responsibilities at practice," McCarthy said.

Flynn and former receiver Ruvell Martin handled the holding duties in the preseason, but Crosby, Kapinos and Slocum would occasionally work on the side. Kapinos did some holding during his stint with the New York Jets in 2007.

"What we were trying to do was refine his stance and the way he was positioned to be most comfortable and make the transition from the catch to the spot more naturally," Slocum said.

So, if Kapinos is going to be fine as the holder, then it's up to Crosby to fix his technique. The four-game streak of misses have had all four going wide right.

"I think it's more of a technique issue in terms of going into his plant and finishing with his right side following through cleanly into the ball," Slocum said.

Streak stopped

The Packers entered the game having forced at least one turnover in 16 consecutive games. That was snapped amid Pittsburgh's 537-yard, 37-point onslaught.

"I think that was the biggest difference in that game," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said.

The Packers had forced 15 turnovers during their five-game winning streak and still rank third in the league with 33 takeaways. It's not like the Packers didn't have chances. On the last drive alone, Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson had chances for interceptions and Jarrett Bush had one taken away on a penalty. Plus, Clay Matthews' sack, strip and recovery was overruled by a replay challenge in the first half that McCarthy said left him "surprised" when watching it on film on Monday.

"That's been a constant for our defense is taking the ball away," Capers said. "Quite frankly, we had our hands on about four balls that we had very legitimate chances to come up with and we didn't make the plays."

Christmas week

Typically, the Packers practice on Wednesday through Friday with a walk-through session on Saturday for a Sunday game. But with Christmas on Friday, McCarthy has adjusted the schedule.

"We usually don't start Seattle, the opponent team, until Wednesday," McCarthy said. "There is a lot of individual time that players can either come in Monday or Tuesday on their own. We're going to start that process today, and then with that we're going to encourage them to have some one-on-one time tomorrow in here, and once again moving on to Seattle. Our Wednesday will be very similar. We've added some extra meeting time on Wednesday. Thursday will be a full day, Christmas Eve, add a little extra time there, and then the players and staff will be off on Friday. So we've extended our work on Saturday. We're doing the same amount of work; we're just kind of moving it around."

Four-point stance

— James Jones scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:06 to go with a great post-corner route against cornerback Joe Burnett. Unfortunately, he left too much time for the Steelers to drive to the win. Philbin said the Packers worked on going down rather than scoring in similar situations during training camp. Under the Packers' scenario, that would be with less than 2 minutes remaining and the opponent having no timeouts. The Steelers had one timeout.

— The Packers barely ran the ball, but when they did in the fourth quarter, Ryan Grant broke loose on a draw for a 24-yard touchdown. "Sometimes, Mother Nature's good to you and sometimes you get some advantageous things," Philbin said. "I don't know we drew up the play with the hopes that it was either (inside linebackers James) Farrior or (Lawrence) Timmons matched Donald Driver on a crossing route. I'd love to say we were that smart and we knew that, but that wouldn't be the case. ... When Lady Luck hits you like that, you just kind of smile and say, ‘Thanks' and move on."

— On the Steelers' surprise onside kick, Slocum credited Bush for recognizing it quickly and forcing two Steelers to block him.

— McCarthy confirmed that Johnny Jolly was in Houston to post $10,000 bond for last week's indictment for possession of codeine. He'll make an initial court appearance on Tuesday.

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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. This story will be updated later.

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