Carlson Getting Kick Out of Three-Man Competition

Packers kicker Anders Carlson is leaning on what he learned last season and the advice of brother Daniel Joseph as he battles Greg Joseph and Jack Podlesny.
Packers kicker Anders Carlson gets ready the game against the Saints.
Packers kicker Anders Carlson gets ready the game against the Saints. / Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Coming off a rocky rookie season, Anders Carlson said he’s not bothered by the Green Bay Packers’ three-man kicking battle.

“I think it’s something you embrace,” he said at Packers OTAs on Tuesday. “When you’re in the NFL, you’re going to compete. Whether you see people in your building or not, it’s a competitive business. So, it’s all about staying in your own lane and being a good teammate and just trying to be the best.”

As a sixth-round draft pick last year, Carlson was given a free pass by general manager Brian Gutekunst. After choosing not to re-sign franchise career scoring leader Mason Crosby, the Packers signed Parker White at the end of the 2022 season but released him after a couple weeks of OTAs.

That was it for Carlson. Even as he got into a miss-a-game rut that lasted through the season-ending loss at San Francisco, the Packers didn’t bring in a challenger.

Now, he has two. One is a veteran, Greg Joseph, who was the Vikings’ kicker the last three seasons. The other is Jack Podlesny, an undrafted free agent in 2023 who Joseph dispatched halfway through Vikings training camp last summer.

The Packers and Cleveland Browns are the only teams with three kickers on their 90-man rosters.

“It is business like usual,” Carlson said. “The mindset doesn’t change, whether it’s zero guys or 10 guys here. Kicking is unique because you can focus on yourself. You don’t have to pass it to anyone else. It’s you and the field goal posts. It’s really that focus on yourself and that’s the mindset right now.”

Carlson went 27-of-33 on field goals and 34-of-39 on extra points as a rookie. Of the 30 kickers with more than 20 field goal attempts, Carlson was next-to-last in extra-point percentage (87.2) and 23rd in field-goal percentage (81.8). His 11 missed kicks were the most in the league.

Carlson made every kick in the first five games. However, he had a miss in eight of the final 10 regular-season games as well as the playoff win at Dallas. For Carlson, there was always a next kick and a next game to reset his focus. Not after his critical miss at San Francisco. His 41-yard field goal with 6:21 to play sailed wide left. Had he made it, the Packers would have extended their lead to 24-17. Instead, the 49ers took possession at their 31 and drove to the winning touchdown.

“The toughest thing is obviously coming in that locker room, these guys that you’ve been brothers with,” Carlson said. “You know the locker room is never going to be the same. It’s tough. But you’ve got to spend some time on it and learn from it. You can’t just avoid it. It’s the reality. Just dealing with that. After some point in time, you have to close that chapter and look to the present, because that’s where we are.”

He added: “We came back [from San Francisco], we went over the season, did a little exit interview, and the biggest thing that the coaches told me was just don’t focus on the one kick, focus on the season. Focus on everything you can build off of and focus on everything you can improve. So, it’s not just isolating one kick – it was a huge kick, so that’s facts – but build off of everything.”

As was the case in San Francisco, Carlson said most of his misses came were wide left when the wind was blowing from right to left.

“That’s in a sense a good thing, because it’s one miss that you can correct,” he said.

Carlson spent part of his offseason kicking with his brother, Daniel, back at Auburn. Daniel Carlson was drafted by the Vikings in 2018. He was released after going 0-for-3 on field goals in a 29-29 tie at Green Bay in Week 2 of his rookie season.

Daniel Carlson rebounded to go 16-of-17 on field goals in 10 games with the Raiders but was a woeful 19-of-26 in 2019. However, he’s established himself as one of the top kickers in the NFL. Of the 33 kickers with at least 50 attempts from 2020 through 2023, he ranks third with a 91.7 percent success rate on field goals.

Daniel’s best advice?

“Just stay the course,” he said. “You’re in the NFL, your talent’s pretty good, your skill’s good. It’s all about sharpening that ax and continuing to improve, little bit by little bit. Over time, results will pay off, so trust the process.”

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Bill Huber


Bill Huber, who has covered the Green Bay Packers since 2008, is the publisher of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: History: Huber took over Packer Central in August 2019. Twitter: Background: Huber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he played on the football team, in 1995. He worked in newspapers in Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Shawano before working at The Green Bay News-Chronicle and Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1998 through 2008. With The News-Chronicle, he won several awards for his commentaries and page design. In 2008, he took over as editor of Packer Report Magazine, which was founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, and In 2019, he took over the new Sports Illustrated site Packer Central, which he has grown into one of the largest sites in the Sports Illustrated Media Group.