Back at practice, Packers' Crosby remains undeterred by competition

-- For their joint practices against the Houston Texans this week, the Green Bay Packers will have the franchise's all-time leading scorer at their disposal.

Kicker Mason Crosby was removed from the NFI list after battling a calf injury for much of the summer, preventing him to take part in any one of the team's eight training camp practices. That paved the way for Sam Ficken, who was claimed off of waivers by the Packers in April to serve as Crosby's competition.

But while Ficken has been taking the starting reps in practice, Crosby hasn't been sitting on his hands. After Sunday's practice -- a day that saw Crosby return to the field -- he revealed that his rep count has remained the same, even while nursing his calf injury.

"Through this process, I've been kicking. I've been doing everything, just not the team reps," Crosby said, via Packers.com. "I feel good about where I'm at and I'm ready to get back out there."

Crosby described his absence as 'precautionary" more than anything and reaffirmed that missing a few days of camp and returning at full health far outweighed the detrimental cost of returning too soon and finding out that the calf could become a long-term concern.

"My rep counts are fairly similar to what I'd normally be doing," Crosby said. "I wasn't limiting my kicking. It was bugging me when I was running. It was just precautionary, making sure it was behind us and being smart about it.

"As far as limiting my kicking and preparation, I felt like I was still able to do quite a lot."

Crosby connected on 81.1 percent of his 37 kicks in 2018. Four of his seven misses on the year came in a single game against the Detroit Lions. He also missed a game-winning field goal against the Minnesota Vikings and a game-tying kick at the end of regulation against the Arizona Cardinals. 

Ficken, who kicked for the Packers at the team's annual Family Night practice last week, struggled. He continued to push kicks wide-right of the crossbars and couldn't establish any consistency in his reps. He did, however, make five of his last six, including a 63-yarder to conclude the practice.

But despite the latter success, Ficken hasn't taken the reins of the kicking competition during Crosby's absence by any means. It's a competition that Crosby may be winning without even actually participating.

Ficken is Crosby's first competitor at the position since the Packers acquired Giorgio Tavecchio in 2013. Crosby and Tavecchio competed for the starting job that summer -- a job that Crosby obviously prevailed in -- before Tavecchio was released after the team's third preseason game.

Entering his 13th year in the league and tasked with the responsibility of once again having to fend off a potential suitor in order to keep his job, Crosby's attitude remains just as unshaken and undeterred as it did six years ago.

"My mindset's the same. Every time I come to camp, it's a process. I'm preparing for a season. To go out there and perform and practice and do my job, but that's the expectation every time I take the field. My mindset doesn't change regardless of the situation; I'm just going to continue to work hard and do my stuff and prepare for a season."

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (13)

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Lare's picture

August 05, 2019 at 11:08 am

Crosby lost them three wins last season. Regardless, Ficken isn't the answer.

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fthisJack's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:56 pm

not worried. i don't think the games this year will not depend on a last minute FG by Crosby. the Packers should score a lot more TD's and not kick as many FG.

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fthisJack's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:57 pm

sorry....double neg.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

August 05, 2019 at 03:17 pm

Crosby is at least 11 seasons younger than Viniteri so he has a long way to go.....

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packerdoug's picture

August 05, 2019 at 11:15 am

Mason can and hopefully will bounce back,
he has before.

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PatrickGB's picture

August 05, 2019 at 11:27 am

It’s getting close to the time when this team may have to start looking at other PKs. I appreciate his time in GB but the team may have to start considering others in the future. But my guess is that this year his job is safe.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:45 pm

As someone who's treatise was in Performance Psychology, I saw what Mason went through in 2012, when I was in the middle of researching for my dissertation.

Mason had the yips. Bad. I thought his goose was cooked. But, to his and the Packers credit, he got the time to fix himself and did so. He has emerged as a very good kicker who's had an excellent career.

Mason is a pro's pro and his comment above is indicative of the lessons in performance psychology that he's learned: "My mindset's the same. Every time I come to camp, it's a process. I'm preparing for a season. To go out there and perform and practice and do my job, but that's the expectation every time I take the field. My mindset doesn't change regardless of the situation; I'm just going to continue to work hard and do my stuff and prepare for a season."

Process over result. Do the training. Concentrate on the details, then let it go and trust your fudamentals to "kick" in when the pressure is on. And when that pressure is on, don't concentrate on the moment. Concentrate only on the intended outcome of your process.

Happy for Mason. He's been a good Packer and a good football player. I expect to see him kicking for the Green and Gold for at least one more year. :)

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ILPackerBacker's picture

August 05, 2019 at 01:33 pm

As someone who knows bad special team play I can say Murphy should have been canned for his refusal to do something about the special teams.

There is a great argument that Crosby gets credit for 3 losses.

There is a great argument that Tramon and his fumbles and just atrocious fielding was 2 more.

Mike M was always weak on his fiends and responsibility for anyone. that passed responsibility upwards to the spot where everyone ducked.

Nobody was responsible

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Jonathan Spader's picture

August 05, 2019 at 03:11 pm

Watch the ST play of the Hall of Fame game with the Broncos vs Atlanta. It's bad....

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flackcatcher's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:11 pm

Swear I saw Ron Zook lurking behind both special teams coaches on the sideline. Should have nuked him from orbit when we had the chance.....

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 02:57 pm

I’m not sold on Ficken being a wash out. Let the competition begin.

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Lphill's picture

August 05, 2019 at 03:51 pm

Is it really that hard to find a decent kicker?

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flackcatcher's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:39 pm

Yes. Two factors come into play. Money, it's always the money. Cheaper to cut a high preforming kicker and save cap space, and hope your replacement is decent. Pressure. Finding a kicker whose ability to put the ball thru the uprights in high stress situations is believe it or not, very hard. Bearmeat comment precisely goes thru the process it takes to get that point. It is far more complex decision matrix than what was originally thought. Most kickers are as good as Crosby, but to put simply crack under the pressure. Crosby is an elite kicker because he does not let the pressure get to him. Just think where the Bears would be if they had Crosby today. (Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! Bonk!!! Never gets old. heh heh heh......-:)

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