Packers Cut Kicking Competition to Two

The Green Bay Packers on Wednesday released Jack Podlesny, meaning it will be Anders Carlson and Greg Joseph battling to be the team’s kicker.
Green Bay Packers kicker Anders Carlson (17) kicks a field goal against the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on Dec. 31, 2023.
Green Bay Packers kicker Anders Carlson (17) kicks a field goal against the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on Dec. 31, 2023. / Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers released Jack Podlesny on Wednesday, cutting the kicking competition to a two-man battle between Anders Carlson and Greg Joseph.

This had been the thought all along, that Podlesny, the rookie, would battle Joseph, the Vikings’ kicker the past three seasons, with the winner of that battle advancing to challenge the incumbent, Carlson, at training camp.

During the final segment of the final day of Packers minicamp, teammates surrounded the three kickers – cheering, waving and shooting water from their water bottles – for a 51-yard field goal. Podlesny went first and was wide right while the others split the uprights. Moved back to 54 yards, all three kickers were successful.

A week later, the Packers decided to move forward with the two experienced kickers.

“I feel like I kicked well,” Podlesny said after that practice. “There’s some days that feel better than others, but that’s how it’s going to be in any sport. You ask a golfer, ‘How did you do today?’ ‘Well, I didn’t win the Masters, but I still played well.’”

Reporters got to watch five of the 10 offseason practices. In that not-quite-full picture of the kicking competition, Podlesny trailed Carlson and Joseph from an accuracy perspective. Overall, he wasn’t sure exactly how he did relative to the others.

“It’s such a mental game,” he said. “I’ll look, I’ll watch film but, when I leave the building, I’m done. My girlfriend will ask how my day went, and I’ll say, ‘It went well,’ and she’ll say, ‘That’s all I get?’ And I’m like, ‘Yup, I left the building.’”

While Carlson was a sixth-round pick by the Packers in 2023, Podlesny went undrafted even after beating out Carlson for all-SEC and SEC Special Teams Player of the Year honors in 2022.

He was signed by the Minnesota Vikings and competed against Joseph for the first half of training camp before he was released. He was out of the league and thinking about the next phase of life when the Packers signed him after the season.

“I worked out for them in September, and they signed me in January,” Podlesny said. “The whole offseason’s been pretty awesome. From not knowing whether I was going to get a call or not, I started looking for jobs in January – like real jobs. I didn’t want to hang up the cleats yet, but I was starting to look. I was working for my uncle back home – sanding and staining outdoor furniture just to make some cash.”

With that, the kicking battle is down to two – the predictable two.

Carlson didn’t have a great rookie season. He led the NFL in missed kicks and couldn’t shake his miss-per-game funk, a rollercoaster ride of a season that included a missed field goal in the season-ending loss to the 49ers in the playoffs. He had a “pretty solid spring,” coach Matt LaFleur said last week.

Joseph has a history of making clutch kicks but his accuracy inside the friendly confines of Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium is no better than Carlson’s.

Carlson vs. Joseph will be one of the big battles of training camp. Six of Green Bay’s 19 games were decided by three points or less, so every kick is important.

“It’s been good,” Carlson said of the offseason. “It’s been a lot of good work. They’ve put us in front of the team a lot and really made us go out there and do our work in front of the team.

“It’s loud, there’s a lot going on and there’s water they’re throwing at you, so that’s kind of different, but the environment and the nerves you feel is similar to a game, so I think it’s a really good thing we do here. I enjoy those opportunities. I’m a competitive guy.”

The move leaves the Packers with 89 players. They can add one more before the start of training camp in a month, or they can keep it open to fill if injuries require a fresh face to bolster a particular position.

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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.