If Mason Crosby had seized any measure of control in his battle against Giorgio Tavecchio, that’s no longer the case.
In the Green Bay Packers’ final practice before Friday night’s game against Seattle, Crosby missed consecutive field goals of 42 (wide right), 42 (wide right) and 44 yards (wide left) before converting from 44. During the same drill, Tavecchio hit from 36.
“Well, it’s not a good day,” said coach Mike McCarthy, unhappy with Wednesday’s practice in general. “He didn’t have a good day, probably like a lot of our other guys didn’t have a very good day today. There’s plenty of that to go around if you want to write about that stuff.”
Earlier in practice, both kickers connected from 43 yards.
After Tavecchio surged ahead during the first week of training camp, Crosby evened the gap and likely had pulled ahead. On Saturday night at St. Louis, Crosby went 3-for-3 on field goals compared to 1-of-2 for Tavecchio, and Crosby went 9-for-10 at Monday’s practice while Tavecchio went 8-for-10.
At practices and the scrimmage, Tavecchio is 47-of-53 on field goals while Crosby is 43-of-56, though the games are the ultimate test. Tavecchio missed from 49 yards at St. Louis.
“I think they’ve both done a good job,” Thompson said at his weekly news conference on Tuesday. “And I think they’ve even improved over the course of the last. I think the competition has made it better. It looks like they’re representative kickers.”
Crosby’s horrendous midseason slump last season, his meltdown on Family Night, when he missed five of his eight attempts, and his regression on Wednesday have to be of major concern. Tavecchio’s inexperience and lack of a big-time leg has to be of equal concern. Off the market, however, are Rien Lindell (signed by Tampa Bay) and Dan Carpenter (signed by Arizona).
New injuries: LB Andy Mulumba (knee), DE Datone Jones (ankle).
Jones, the first-round pick, dropped out of practice after rolling the same ankle he injured in the preseason opener against Arizona. McCarthy didn’t have any further information but it’d be surprisingly if Jones suits up for the Seattle game.
Old injuries: CB James Nixon (ankle/knee), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Tramon Williams (knee), OL J.C. Tretter (ankle), OT Bryan Bulaga (knee), OT Derek Sherrod (leg), TE Matthew Mulligan (elbow), WR Jordy Nelson (knee), DE Jerel Worthy (knee).
Back from injuries: QB Aaron Rodgers (illness), WR Charles Johnson (knee), WR Randall Cobb (biceps), CB Loyce Means (ankle).
Cobb was extremely limited and was out of pads by halfway through practice. McCarthy said Cobb and Nelson are getting close to returning.
Johnson practiced for the first time since falling awkwardly in the second practice of camp. Coupled with missing most of the offseason work, the seventh-round pick is far behind.
“I think there’s got to be (some urgency),” Rodgers said. “He’s missed a lot of time in the spring and now in camp. It’s about opportunities in the preseason giving yourself the most opportunities. He’s been bit by the injury bug. He needs to put himself in the position to make some plays and make the plays that are there.”
-- McCarthy hasn’t determined playing time for Friday’s game against Seattle but it doesn’t appear likely the starter will play into the second half. “Really, how much the starters will play will come down to our conversation tomorrow as a staff,” he said. “We have a couple things we need to talk about. I don’t have it set today. I talked to Ted (Thompson) about some things, so, once again, we’re trying to get as much information as we can. We want to play very well, we want to win the game, but we’ve got guys who have been injured the whole camp, we have guys who have been injured from the spring all the way through camp that are finally maybe playing. I mean, we have all kinds of things going on. That’s what we’re working through.”
-- Defensive coordinator Dom Capers said player evaluation will be the ultimate goal against Seattle and that he’ll run a vanilla scheme. “You kind of have to be careful with some of these guys we’re trying to evaluate that you don’t overload them with too much scheme. We’ll play kind of the way we’ve been playing. The starters will play a little bit more than what they’ve been playing but it’s not like we’ve invested a lot of time from a schematic standpoint; a little bit more than what we have but not as much as we would in the regular season.”
-- Safeties coach Darren Perry said Jerron McMillian was not in the wrong spot when Micah Hyde got beat for a long gain during last week’s game against St. Louis.
-- Jeremy Ross took the first rep on kickoff return and punt return. On kickoff returns, Ross was followed by Johnathan Franklin, Alex Green and Omarius Hines. Hyde followed Ross on punt returns.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.