We certainly take our share of shots at Green Bay Pacekers’ kicker Mason Crosby around here, but the New York Times did an interesting analysis that shows the NFL’s kickers as a whole pretty much suck.
Last season, kickers made 84.5 percent of their field goals – an all-time high. So far this season, that number is 80.5 percent, which is the lowest since 2003. If it holds, this will be the biggest one-year drop in field goal percentage since 1976.
It’s no wonder, when you look around the league.
The New York Jets’ Jay Feely missed three kicks last Sunday. Two were the result of a bad snap and a bad hold, and the third was just a bad kick. Nick Folk, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, was cut this week after missing seven of his last 11 kicks. The Cowboys signed Shaun Suisham, who was cut by the Washington Redskins earlier this season for missing a 23-yarder that would have beaten the New Orleans Saints. John Carney was cut by those same Saints this week, three weeks after he was benched in favor of Garrett Hartley. Carney’s field goal percentage (76.5) is his lowest since 2003 and he’s missed two extra points. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently on their third kicker and are a league-worst 13-of-23 on field goals. In Baltimore, the Ravens signed former Cowboys castoff Billy Cundiff after cutting Steven Hauschka, who hit only 69 percent of his kicks.
And then there’s Crosby, who’s missed a kick in each of his last four games and nine of the Packers’ 15 games.
Although no one seems to be able to explain the general level of kicking suckitude this season, it seems clear there just aren’t enough good kickers around.
“I can’t remember in the last recent years a number of guys coming out of college that I said, ‘Can’t miss; going to be a star,’ ” Jets’ special teams coach Mike Westhoff said. “I haven’t felt in the last five years the number of guys coming out I looked at and said somebody is going to do great.”
Crosby has been chastised, and rightly so, for missing a field goal inside 43 yards in each the past four games, but he’s not the only guy who isn’t doing his job.
While the overall percentage of kicks made from greater than 50 yards is down – 53.2 percent this season compared with 63.5 percent last year – so is the percentage of kicks made from closer range.
Accuracy has dropped from 74.5 percent to 71.4 percent on kicks from 40 to 49 yards and 89.1 percent to 82.7 percent from 30 to 39 yards from 2008 to 2009.
A lot of us would like to find a replacement for Crosby, but this goes to show that he isn’t out there. Hell, with the exception of a few guys, a better kicker probably isn’t even on another NFL team.
Maybe it’s time for the Packers to start playing Tecmo Bowl rules and go for it on every fourth down.