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Drayton: ‘Mason Crosby Deserves Better’

What's gone wrong on field goals after Mason Crosby missed just two attempts the past two seasons combined?
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton calls his room “The Truth Room.”

On Thursday, “The Truth Room” spilled into the media auditorium.

“Mason Crosby deserves better. OK? I owe him. We owe him,” Drayton said.

Crosby’s 51-yard, game-winning field goal at San Francisco in Week 3 seems like eons ago. That unit has gone from triumphant to train wreck in a span of barely one month.

Crosby made his first nine attempts of the season, including his first three tries in the Week 5 game at Cincinnati on Oct. 10. He’s made four of his last 10 attempts. He missed three consecutive tries against the Bengals and had one blocked against Washington. Then, on Sunday at Kansas City, Crosby missed wide left from 40 yards and had a 37-yarder blocked.

It's a troubling turn. In 2019, Crosby made 22-of-24 field-goal attempts. In 2020, he made all 16. Now, he’s missed a league-worst six attempts.

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What’s gone wrong?

At the end of training camp, the Packers acquired punter Corey Bojorquez from the Rams. He’s been a huge upgrade over JK Scott as a punter but Scott was a magician as a holder. Bojorquez has struggled in that phase. Then, last week, the Packers got rid of long snapper Hunter Bradley and promoted Steven Wirtel from the practice squad. Bradley was not a good snapper but, still, it was another moving part. Throw in persistent protection issues and it’s been a series of issues adding up to a massive problem.

“You’re looking for your long-snapper to snap the ball with accuracy, location, and velocity,” Drayton said. “That’s going to take the same revolutions to get to the holder at the same catch point every time he snaps the ball. And then, it’s the holder’s job to put that ball down on a spot roughly the size of a dime and then lean the ball in the manner in which your kicker needs it so that the kicker can hit the proper paneling on the ball to put it through the H.”

On the hold, the laces are supposed to be pointed toward the snapper, Drayton explained. On both of the kicks against the Chiefs, the laces were pointed to the left. Crosby has the ability to adjust on the fly but he shouldn’t have to. In a perfect world, the snap will be so precise that the holder can place the ball without spinning it.

Right now, though, there’s nothing perfect about the field-goal unit. With Drayton dealing with a rookie punt returner – Amari Rodgers made two huge mistakes last week – and breaking in a new kickoff returner after Kylin Hill’s season-ending injury, the first-year coordinator has a lot on his plate.

Getting Crosby back on track is the priority. The block against Washington was almost returned for a touchdown, and the misses against the Chiefs resulted in six lost points in a six-point loss.

“That is where we’re working towards every day,” Drayton said. “Every special teams coach across America, that’s what they’re looking for, and you’ve got to do all of that in 1.25 to 1.28 (seconds). I say all that to say it takes time to get that rhythm, and we’re working to get that rhythm. At the end of the day, it falls on me. I have to come up with new, innovative ways to make this rhythm happen now, because we don’t have that luxury. And I promise you, that is what we’re working on, that’s priority No. 1 in the special teams, to get that operation down pat.”