The kicker position was one of the Green Bay Packers’ main worries heading into the season. Rather than selecting Mason Crosby, the team’s all-time leading scorer, the Packers selected Anders Carlson in the sixth round. The fan base found it to be a very unpopular decision at the time of selection.
Because Carlson’s accuracy was so erratic during training camp and the preseason, these worries persisted. Many thought that throughout the regular season, he would be a hindrance for the squad.
Crosby has stayed accessible throughout. Despite having workouts with multiple NFL clubs this season, he has not been signed to a contract and is still a free agent.
After Carlson failed to convert a 63-yard field goal and an extra point on Thanksgiving, the Packers were urged to call up Crosby by the recently retiring Bryan Bulaga.
Bulaga, a Green Bay Packer, recently announced his retirement from the NFL, as many fans are aware. He now frequently appears on ESPN Milwaukee as well. In addition to being an ardent supporter of his old team, Bulaga does not believe Carlson is the Packers’ replacement at kicker:
That’s two weeks In a row for the kicking game on extra points . Time to call@crosbykicks2 because those are the things that end up biting you in the ass later on in games
— Bryan Bulaga (@BBulaga) November 23, 2023
Carlson missed an extra point, but fortunately for Green Bay, it had no bearing on the result of the game. Nevertheless, Bulaga’s remarks raise the question of how the rookie kicker stacks up against his predecessor.
Bulaga notes that Carlson failed to convert an extra point for the second consecutive week. He is 20/23 (87.0%) on extra point attempts for the season. It is accurate to say that Crosby has never had a season with such a poor extra point %.
Nevertheless, Crosby wasn’t flawless all the time. Crosby made 59/63 extra point attempts (93.7%) in 2020, the year the Packers offense set the world on fire. That means, of course, that he missed four. That year, Green Bay only had him attempt 16 field goals (he made them all).
Many seem to have forgotten 2021, which saw Crosby make just 25/34 field goal attempts (73.5%). Last year, he made 25/29 (86.2%) and has a career average of just 81.1%.
As a rookie, Crosby made 31/39 field goals (79.5%). This year, Carlson has made 15/19 (78.9%).
In other words, they have very similar numbers with Carlson bringing in the added bonus of being able to kick the ball into the endzone on kickoffs.
Crosby was a rookie back in 2007, and Bulaga did not get drafted until 2010. He did not witness first hand the growing pains a young kicker has in the NFL because by the time he got there, Crosby was an established veteran (even so, Crosby missed six field goals in 2010).
While it is easy to see where Bulaga is coming from, and it is easily presumed he wants his former teammate to have a job, the fact of the matter is that the Packers have firmly hitched their wagon to Carlson.
And as the numbers show, he isn’t that much different than Crosby.