Thursday Thoughts: Mason’s Misses

The Packers have played on Thanksgiving nine times since I began following them in 1978, but only one stands out. In 1986, wide receiver Walter Stanley’s 83-yard punt return touchdown led Green Bay – 2-10 at the time – to a thrilling 44-40 come from behind win over Detroit. Hey, back in the 70s, any victory was cause for celebration. Anyway, here are a few more Packers-related thoughts that ran through my mind in recent days:

1) When asked if he’s thinking about changing kickers, Matt LaFleur answered with an emphatic “absolutely not.” And while the coach’s faith in Mason Crosby is commendable, is it justified? People keep pointing out how the 37-year-old bounced back from an awful season earlier in his career to become one of the best kickers in the league, but it should be pointed out that the bounce back didn’t occur until the following season. In fact, Crosby never got it together in 2012. After missing two field goals in a very close loss to Indy in Week 5, he went 16 for 26 the rest of the way. As for who’s out there, how about Cody Parkey? OK, stop laughing. The much-maligned former Bear is currently the 17th most accurate kicker of all time (84.62 percent), and he’s never been under 76 percent in a full season.

2) The Packers will face one of the most talented front fours in the entire league on Sunday, and they’ll do it with an offensive line that will start a pair of undrafted free agents (Yosh Nijman and Lucas Patrick), a third-round pick (Billy Turner), a fourth-round pick (Royce Newman), and a sixth-round pick (Jon Runyan Jr.). The backups will be a couple of undrafted free agents (Dennis Kelly and Ben Braden) and a sixth-round pick (Jake Hanson). Maybe this group will survive against the Rams, but determination and coaching won’t be enough in January. Talent matters in the postseason, and without David Bakhtiari and Josh Myers, who are both recovering from knee injuries, this current version of the O-line simply won’t be good enough to win multiple games against the best defenses in the league.

3) The ongoing problems with special teams have somewhat obscured the incredible season being put together by punter Corey Bojorquez. The 25-year-old has a net average of 44.5 yards. How good is that? It’s nearly three yards better than the franchise record of 41.6 set by Justin Vogel in 2017. It’s also higher than the career gross average of all but two punters in franchise history. Bojorquez has a big left leg and pinpoint accuracy – a rare and lethal combination. Simply put, he’s the weapon general manager Brian Gutekunst thought he was getting when he drafted JK Scott. Bojorquez should be near the top of the list when it comes to which pending free agents to extend.

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  1. Just make the kicks, Mason. I’m not making any excuses for that. But I do wonder if constantly tinkering with the field goal operation (new snapper and holder), combined with shoddy blocking on the line, have anything to do with some of the misses?


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Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.