Kicker Mason Crosby was named the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week on Wednesday.
That’s practically an unthinkable achievement in light of his dreadful 2012 season, his dismal Family Night Scrimmage and having to fight off two challengers in training camp. But Crosby is off to a big start. He made all five field-goal attempts on Sunday against Detroit, including drilling a 52-yarder, and he’s the only kicker in the NFC who’s made nine field goals without missing any.
“It’s definitely an honor to get this award and to help our team win the game and go 5-for-5,” Crosby said. “I’ve never been 5-for-5 in a game. For me, it was a special day. It was awesome to come in today and see I got the special teams award for the NFC. My goal now is just to continue with that success and continue to work hard. I had a great day of work here today and make sure that I continue to carry that over into the game.”
Crosby made just 21-of-33 field-goal attempts last season. He had his base salary docked in favor of an incentive-laden deal based on his accuracy this season and whether he’s still on the roster.
So far, Crosby is cashing in and rewarding the team for its patience and faith. He’s made 13 in a row, dating to the end of last season.
“I think he’s really confident in what he’s doing from a technique standpoint,” special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said on Monday. “He’s had excellent work and I think he’s at a point where he’s relaxed in terms of he knows he’s going to go out and execute the proper mechanics to make kicks.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers pointed to Crosby’s increased confidence.
“Yeah, I feel very confident,” Crosby said. “I’ve put in the work. I put in the work this offseason and made sure I did my things right. I’ve moved on. I’ve moved on from bad stuff, I’ve moved on from good stuff and made sure I had a short memory. My mind-set’s very positive right now. I’ve just really eliminated all the negatives that can creep in.”
Packers injury report
Out: ILB Brad Jones (hamstring), OLB Clay Matthews (thumb), RB James Starks (knee), C/G Greg Van Roten (foot). Did not participate: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), OLB Andy Mulumba (ankle).
“He's getting better,” coach Mike McCarthy said of Hayward, who hasn’t played a snap this season but did practice on Thursday. “A little sore after what he went through last week. We'll see where he is tomorrow. This time last week, he was able to do some individual work on Thursday. So, that's the hope.”
McCarthy said he didn’t think Jones would be out very long. Jones injured his other hamstring during the preseason.
Ravens injury report
Did not participate: DT Terrence Cody (knee), C Ryan Jensen (foot), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), DT Haloti Ngata. Limited: WR Marlon Brown (thigh), RB Shaun Draughn (ankle), WR Jacoby Jones (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (back), RB Bernard Pierce (thigh), DT Marcus Spears (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh).
-- Cornerback James Nixon was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Tuesday. That was done in response to Buffalo trying to sign Nixon to its roster, he said. An accomplished kick returner while at Temple, McCarthy said Nixon is in the mix to handle that duty on Sunday. “I would love to but at this time I’m not sure,” Nixon said. “Whatever they give me, that’s the job I’m going to do. If they ask me to go return, I’ll gladly go return.”
-- McCarthy, on facing the defending champions: “It’s going to be a great atmosphere. I haven’t been to Baltimore personally in years. It’s a great stadium to play in. They’re an outstanding football team. As you’ve already stated, they’re the defending world champions. I thought they really played well this past week against Miami. I think this is going to be a heck of a game.”
-- Nixon was replaced on the practice squad by cornerback Jumal Rolle (6-0, 188), an undrafted rookie from Catawba College in North Carolina, where he was an All-American with six interceptions as a senior. Rolle, who spent time in camp with Buffalo and New Orleans, had a predraft visit with the Packers and worked out for them on Saturday before getting signed. “When I met everybody, I felt like I wanted to be here but you can’t control where you go,” Rolle said of his predraft visit. “When I did take my visit here, I loved it here and loved the tradition and wanted to be a part of the team.”
-- Charles Woodson was named the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week. He had four tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the Raiders’ upset of San Diego. Woodson has 13 combined return touchdowns off of turnovers (11 interceptions and two fumble recoveries), tying Darren Sharper and Pro Football Hall of Famer Rod Woodson for the most in NFL history.
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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.