For one morning at least, Mason Crosby
performed like the Pro Bowl kicker that the Packers believe he’s capable of becoming.
Crosby went 3-for-3 on Tuesday morning, connecting twice from 53 yards and once from 58. It was easily his best performance of the summer.
“There’s been some things this first week-and-a-half where we had to adjust and get a little more work and make sure that timing is there,” Crosby said. “That’s just part of training camp. The ability to work on things and go back on film and correct them, I feel like I did that today.”
Special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum is challenging Crosby by mixing things up. Sometimes, he’s working with the No. 1 snapper-holder combo of Brett Goode and Matt Flynn. Sometimes, it’s with Duke Preston and Durant Brooks. Sometimes, Crosby is facing a rush. Sometimes, he’s not. By keeping Crosby on his toes, Slocum is trying to get Crosby ready for whatever challenges the regular season brings.
On Monday, Crosby made only 6-of-9 attempts, including a miss from 28 yards. He and Slocum checked the film and made adjustments, and Slocum joked that when a kicker is missing to the right, sometimes the best fix is to aim a little further left.
“There’s usually not a ton that looks different,” Crosby said of watching the film.
Long, long list of injuries
It’s a good thing there’s an 80-man roster, or it would have been difficult accomplishing anything during the morning’s shorts-and-helmets practice.
Along with defensive end Cullen Jenkins, nose tackle Ryan Pickett, left tackle Chad Clifton, center Scott Wells and safety Atari Bigby continuing on their one-a-day schedule with a padded practice scheduled in the evening, outside linebackers Jeremy Thompson (groin and shoulder), Clay Matthews III (hamstring) and Brad Jones (back, PUP), inside linebacker Nick Barnett (knee, PUP), receivers Ruvell Martin (groin) and Patrick Williams (hamstring), defensive ends Justin Harrell (back), Johnny Jolly (ankle) and B.J. Raji (holdout), running backs DeShawn Wynn (knee) and Brandon Jackson (shoulder), tight end Tory Humphrey (broken forearm) and cornerback Pat Lee (back) were absent.
The injuries are especially problematic at outside linebacker and halfback, where there are only three healthy bodies.
“Really, the focus for the coaching staff is on the healthy players, because that’s where the effect truly comes in your practice structure,” said coach Mike McCarthy, noting the injury total was about normal. “It’s all part of how we exercise these guys within their individual drills. It’s important for us to get the work done as a team, but we just try to be smart with the amount of work, because you don’t want to stress out the healthy guys.”
General manager Ted Thompson had his weekly meeting with reporters and didn’t have much of an update on Raji, who will miss his 12th practice tonight. Thompson characterized the situation as “frustrating for everybody.”
“I think any kind of discussion is progress, and we’re working at it,” Thompson said. “I don’t know how to predict in terms of when something might get done or anything like that. But both sides are working very hard, and it’s a difficult thing for both sides.”
Raji was the ninth pick of the draft. Picks Nos. 6 (tackle Andre Smith, Cincinnati), 8 (tackle Eugene Monroe, Jacksonville), 10 (receiver Michael Crabtree, San Francisco) and 11 (defensive end Aaron Maybin, Buffalo) also are unsigned.
“The problem is it gets so complicated because you just interpret numbers,” Thompson said, “as opposed to what a market is, and then you project and you do all this, and everybody’s projections and everybody’s computations there can be different even though people can be well-meaning and trying to do the right thing.”
The unending Vick speculation
Thompson said there is “nothing new to report” regarding controversial quarterback Michael Vick. Last week, he admitted the Packers had at least discussed Vick as part of the “process that we always go through.”
Considering his knowledge of the community, how does Thompson think such a signing would fly in Green Bay?
“We’re answering a question based on speculation and conjecture that maybe would happen and what do you think,” Thompson said. “It would be my opinion of what might happen. That’s chasing ghosts.”
True, but the public relations impact would have to be considered, right?
“Generally we evaluate all the aspects of acquiring players,” he said. ”Sure we do, whether it be draft, trades, whatever.”
— The Packers practice again at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and are off on Wednesday. Practices on Thursday (8:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.) and Friday (closed to fans and reporters) will focus on Saturday’s preseason game against Cleveland.
— Offensive players stripped the ball four times from the defense during a ball-security drill. Among those fumbling was Nick Collins.
— The No. 1 offense went no-huddle, with the receivers using wristbands to get the play from Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers hit Donald Driver deep down the middle but the drive stalled when Tramon Williams broke up a pass to Brett Swain.
— Linebacker Aaron Kampman was beaten in coverage by tight ends Devin Frischknecht and receiver Kole Heckendorf. Defensive end Alfred Malone had to cover Frischknecht at one point, too.
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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 and Facebook under Bill Huber.