the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fourth Kicking Competition Concludes: Packers over Mason Crosby over Zach Ramirez & Giorgio Tavecchio

The fourth of several NFL kicking competitions this summer appears to have concluded. Yesterday, an offseason and summer of kicking intrigue in Green Bay came to an apparent conclusion. Veteran Mason Crosby, the only kicker remaining on the roster after the recent releases of two challengers, agreed to a re-structured contract. His base salary for 2013 has been cut from $2.4 million to $0.8 million. He could potentially earn some or all of the difference back, by hitting certain thresholds this year:
  • $400,000 if he is still on the roster Week 5
  • $400,000 if he is still on the roster Week 10
  • $200,000 if he hits 75% on field goals
  • $200,000 if he hits 80% on field goals
  • $400,000 if he hits 85% on field goals
Following a busy week of kicking competition and salary re-negotiations, Mason Crosby commented:
"I feel great. It was a lot of kicks this week, but I’m thankful for them, because I think they got me to a good point.... I have every opportunity to make [my original salary] back as long as I perform and do my job. It’s all right there in front of me, and I’m looking forward to the season. I feel as good as I ever have. The ball is going through the uprights, and that’s what matters at the end of the day."
The most recent challenger was only with the team for several days earlier this week. Rookie Zach Ramirez (Portland State) had a strong tryout and initial practice, but struggled in a head-to-head practice with Crosby. While the latter made all his kicks, Ramirez went only 6 of 16, and was subsequently released. Head coach Mike McCarthy noted:
"We wanted to go both with the wind and against the wind. I thought Mason was exceptional. You could see Ramirez was struggling was a little bit with the timing of it. …  He really didn't have the rhythm and the cadence and the snap down. I think it affected him on the first set of kicks and it carried over to the second set. Two very talented kickers, I think it's very evident just watching those two go head-to-head this week."
From Spring up until shortly after Ramirez was signed, Crosby's kicking competition came from Giorgio Tavecchio. During that time he had the higher field goal percentage of the two, but showed less leg strength. If the Packers change their minds yet again at some point, he could get a call back.
"I’m very appreciative of him keeping me in mind. But that is out of my control. Of course, I’d love to go back to Green Bay. I’d love to go back and have a chance to kick for them in the regular season and be part of that family that has taken me in these last four, five months. But it’s out of my control what they’re thinking. I know I’m going to keep training for the time being. If the time comes and the opportunity presents itself, I would be more than happy to be a Packer....
They just said they were very pleased with how everything went. They wanted to assess some other options and give Zach a chance to compete. From a technique standpoint, I thought I did well. I thought I hit the ball pretty solid throughout camp. I didn’t think there was too much fluctuation with how I kicked the ball. I was pleased. Obviously every kicker wants to hit every kick they ever attempt. But I can take consolation that I didn’t miss anything inside the 40. I think I missed one 42-yarder and the rest were beyond 47’ish. The ones I missed were deeper kicks so I’m pleased with how everything went....
Today, as I feel all of these emotions, a lot of it is sadness for having to say ‘goodbye’ to people I’ve gotten to know there. Teammates and community members. But I know it’s not ‘goodbye.’ It’s ‘until we meet again.’ It’s kind of a crazy journey. It’s as much a journey of self-discovery for myself as it is a journey around the world. I’m staying positive. I really do hope that football’s in the cards for me. I know I’m going to work hard to make it in the cards for me. Only time will tell."

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