Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby has practice to forget

By Rob Reischel, The Sports Xchange  |  Aug. 7, 2017 at 8:37 PM
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DE PERE, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby was nearly shown the door in 2012 when he made just 21-of-33 field-goal attempts (63.6 percent).

But Crosby has bounced back with aplomb in recent seasons and made 85.9 percent of his kicks (110-of-128) between 2013-2016.

During Green Bay's Family Night practice, though, last Saturday, Crosby experienced a brutal case of deja vu.

Crosby made just 5-of-11 field-goal attempts and missed six of his last seven kicks.

"Well I mean field-goal operation you have a number of components involved in it," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "It wasn't quite what it needed to be. I think that was reflected in the results of, you know, the quality. This is why we're in training camp."

Green Bay is operating with a new long snapper, Derek Hart, and a new holder, Justin Vogel. So far, that trio hasn't been in sync.

Crosby likes it when the laces arrive facing forward. That way the holder doesn't need to spin the ball to get the laces facing away from Crosby.

Brett Goode, Green Bay's long snapper from 2008-2016, snapped the ball exactly how Crosby wanted. So far Hart has struggled with that part of the job.

Goode remains unsigned and is likely viewed as an insurance policy for Packers management.

"It wasn't just one thing," McCarthy said of the field-goal operation. "Like I said, there's a number of components involved in the operation, protection. There's things in the protection that we were able to get on film and teach off of. The most important thing is it's excellent video and that's what you're looking for."

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Packers running back Ty Montgomery remains the heavy favorite to be the starter in Week 1. But rookie fourth-round draft choice Jamaal Williams got some work with the No. 1 offense last week.

One reason is because Williams was outstanding in blitz protection. Of course, keeping quarterback Aaron Rodgers upright is of the utmost importance in Green Bay.

"You go back and watch the tape, he did a really good job from a protection standpoint," Bennett said of Williams. "And so now, it goes back to ... being consistent and doing it every single time.

"When he's in that huddle, protecting that quarterback every single time. Knowing his assignment and being extremely efficient at how he's blocking whenever we get in that situation, that 1-on-1. I would probably say that more than anything else stands out with him."

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Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said last week he'd like to play until he's at least 40, and to do it in Green Bay. Of course, Rodgers had a front-row seat when Packers icon Brett Favre was traded to the New York Jets during training camp in 2008.

"Being a sports fan and watching some of my favorite all-time players either not finish in the place they started or the place where you fell in love watching them play," Rodgers said. "And seeing how different the memory is of those players as a fan, and seeing some of my favorite players finishing up now or have finished up in the last two or three years - the Derek Jeters, the Kobe Bryants, the Tim Duncans - doing it their entire career in one place, that makes things pretty special.

"I'm a realist as well. I have to play well, the team has to want to bring me back, but I've said I'd like to finish things here where we started."

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Fourth year wideout Davante Adams has turned heads during an impressive camp.

Adams was left for dead after a miserable 2015 season in which he battled through an ankle injury that later needed surgery. But Adams bounced back last year and finished second on the Packers in receptions (75) and receiving yards (997), and tied for second in the NFL with 12 touchdown catches.

This summer, Adams has been even better.

"He's so sudden and so quick, it's ridiculous," Packers cornerback Davon House said of Adams. "With players like that, it's hard to stop them. I'm still trying to find a way.

"I'm asking him all the time, 'What did I do wrong? What can I do better? What gives you problems?' When I play against people like (San Diego's) Keenan Allen and guys like that, I'm going to refer to the notes I took with Davante. 'This is what I need to do.'"

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