Mason Crosby has never been the most accurate placekicker in the NFL. Six games away from completing his 6th NFL season, the former Colorado Buffalo has made 142 field goals in 183 attempts, a conversion rate of 77.6 percent. He's made better than 80% percent in a season only once, last year, when he made 20 of 24 (85.7%). That was fueled by a run of 23 straight through the uprights covering the end of 2010 into the 2011 season, ending when he doinked the upright on a 29 yard try in week 10 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Crosby certainly has piled up the points with a prolific Packer offense, scoring an NFL record 649 in his first five seasons. He's up to 706 on his career, 5th in franchise history and 54 behind number four Paul Hornung. He has the club record for the longest field goal of 58 yards. Yet Crosby has remarkably avoided game winning or losing kicks in his career. In his very first game, Crosby hit a 42 yarder with :02 to play to beat the Eagles at Lambeau 16-13. Last November, he knocked thorugh a 31 yarder as time expired to beat the Giants in New York 35-32. There have been a few attempts which missed that propelled overtimes in his career. After getting a new contract in the off-season, everything was seashells and balloons for Mason, pounding through his first five attempts. Then came the Indianapolis game. Inside the perfect Lucas Oil Stadium environment, Crosby missed wide right from 52, he hooked a 51 yarder left. Against St. Louis, indoors again, he went three for four, his only miss was wide right from 58. Against the Jaguars at home, when points were surprisingly hard to come by, he banked the right upright from 32 yards away. The next week, wide left from 44 against Arizona. At Ford Field last Sunday, Crosby had two cracks at it from midfield at the end of the half. The Lions called timeout just as Mason's first one missed to the right. On the second chance, invariably, the ball hooked wide left. And when he missed to the right again from 38 yards out in the fourth quarter, the alarm bells started sounding. To his credit, Crosby made the final kick, a 39 yarder that put the Packers up 24-20, but over the past month, he's endured by far the worst slump of his career, making only 6 out of his last 13 kicks. According to the coaches and Crosby himself, he had a great week of practice last week and his pre-game routine was exceptional Sunday but come game time....it's not happening. The Packers are sticking with him. Mike McCarthy made that clear in Detroit after the game and again on Sunday. Special Teams coordinator Shaun Slocum is playing a dual role of technical advisor and psychiatrist, but ultimately, it's up to Crosby to get his routine right and mind clear or this crisis could cripple the Packers hopes of a division title or playoff berth. On the link below, listen to the principals in the Crosby crisis.
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