Movin’ On Up: Kickers Mason Crosby and Zachary Ramirez
Article continues below ...
In a practice that featured very little game-like action, the final period was an extended — and very important — field-goal competition. Just hours after the Packers signed 23-year-old Zachary Ramirez as the team’s third kicker, he went head-to-head-to-head against Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio.
All three kickers attempted 11 field goals and the winners were Crosby and Ramirez. Crosby made 10 out of 11, with his only miss coming from 53 yards that he kicked wide left. The only miss from Ramirez (who also made 10 out of 11) was a 45-yard try that went wide right. Crosby and Ramirez were most impressive when they both connected from 60 yards out and on a 63-yard kick.
The swirling winds complicated matters, but the wind was mostly at the kickers’ backs and, according to Crosby, helped add between 5 to 10 yards of distance.
“I thought all three kickers did a heck of a job in today’s practice,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
Ramirez showed great leg strength, not only with his 63-yard make but also when he crushed his 50-yarder through the uprights and over the practice fence. Had the trajectory stayed on the correct line, that particular kick might have been good from beyond 70 yards.
“Most recently I’ve hit a 72-yarder, but it was off a regular tee, no holder or snapper,” Ramirez said. “(I hit from) 65 with a snapper, but it’s been a while. I had an attempt in college from 65 but I missed by a yard, so that’s probably my best so far that you’ve seen.”
Crosby was on top of his game, too, which came at a perfect time for the seven-year veteran who missed three field goals in a row in Wednesday’s practice.
“I think the competition was good today and I felt like I hit the ball as well as I have all camp,” Crosby said.
So You Had A Bad Day: Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio
As McCarthy stated in his post-practice press conference, all three kickers performed well. However, in a results-driven business, Tavecchio’s one additional missed field goal placed him in third out of three. That’s not where any player wants to be during a very rare three-man kicking competition with roster cutdowns looming.
“I felt I hit them pretty well,” Tavecchio said. “On that last 63, on the right hash sometimes I tend to plant a little bit close to the ball. I close my body off and I think that’s what happened. I just left it a little bit out, and if you don’t hit it pretty solid, especially with the wind, it might tail a little bit.
“On that one that I pulled right, I think, again, I never blame the wind, but I think I hit it pretty well and we’ll see on film if I planted a little close and hooked the ball. Although I don’t really think I hooked it, it might just have taken off that way. Maybe something with my alignment. Again, I can’t tell you for sure now. I’ll have to watch the film.”
Tavecchio’s two misses were a 45-yard attempt and a 63-yarder.
Tavecchio was trying not to think about the addition of Ramirez to an already challenging battle that he’s been engaged in with Crosby for the past month.
“For me, I’m almost, not zombie-like after, but I’m in my own zone,” Tavecchio said. “You could have five kickers, you can have three offensive linemen trying to kick, I wouldn’t be able to really tell the difference. I’m in Giorgio world, I guess.”
Noted: – This was a helmets and shorts practice and featured only five practice periods. A typical training camp practice has at least 10 periods. Instead, the ‘Unit’ portion (which is basically a walk-through) was nearly an hour long.
– McCarthy stated after practice that cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring) and safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring) would both miss the preseason finale Thursday night in Kansas City. Linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring) moved around well in practice and has a chance to play against the Chiefs.
– Wide receiver Jordy Nelson made a somewhat unexpected return to practice Sunday. There was some concern that Nelson wouldn’t even be ready for the Packers’ regular-season opener, so for him to be practicing already is a good indication that his recovery from recent knee surgery has gone very well.
– Tight end Matthew Mulligan practiced Sunday for the first time in more than a week, but his injured right elbow was wrapped in a very thick pad.
– Less than one day after Green Bay released Graham Harrell, Vince Young took the majority of snaps with the second-string offense.
– In the ‘Something You Don’t See Every Day’ category, offensive lineman T.J. Lang intercepted a pass from B.J. Coleman during unit drills.
– McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson spent a long time talking one-on-one in the middle of the practice field. With the team forced to cut down to 75 players by Tuesday and get down to 53 players by Saturday, McCarthy and Thompson certainly have plenty to discuss.
– Don Barclay continued his trend of being the starting right tackle.
– Tight end Jake Stoneburner, two days after fumbling in the red zone against the Seattle Seahawks, dropped two passes from the JUGS machine.
– Johnathan Franklin was used as the punt returner during punt coverage drills, and he proceeded to drop the first ball that was sent his way. Franklin has been very shaky as a punt returner throughout training camp. However, he does look more comfortable in kick return.
– As was the case Friday against the Seahawks, punter Tim Masthay was the first one up to kickoff. Masthay booted it nearly 12 yards out of the back of the end zone (with the wind behind him giving an assist). Crosby took the second kickoff.
– The one song played during the team’s water break: Mumford & Sons’ “Babel”
Sidelined: * S Morgan Burnett (Hamstring — First missed practice; Left Friday’s game early) * CB Jarrett Bush (Ankle — First missed practice; Also missed Friday’s game) * RB DuJuan Harris (Knee — First missed practice; Left Friday’s game early) * CB Casey Hayward (Hamstring — First missed practice this week; Left Friday’s game early; Same hamstring that kept him out the first 15 practices) * LB Brad Jones (Hamstring — First missed practice; Left Friday’s game early) * LB Jarvis Reed (Ankle — First missed practice) * CB James Nixon (Knee / Ankle — Consecutive Missed Practices: 4) * CB Tramon Williams (Knee — Consecutive Missed Practices: 16; and three games) * OL Derek Sherrod (Leg — Consecutive Missed Practices: 19; and three games) * S Sean Richardson (Neck — Consecutive Missed Practices: 19; and three games) * OL Bryan Bulaga (Torn ACL — Likely to miss the entire season) * OL J.C. Tretter (Ankle — Likely out until midseason) * DL Jerel Worthy (Knee — Likely out until midseason)
He’s Back: * WR Jordy Nelson (Knee surgery — Returned after missing 12 practices) * TE Matthew Mulligan (Elbow — Returned after missing three practices and one game) * OLB Andy Mulumba (Knee — Returned after missing one practice and one game)
What’s Next: * Monday, August 26 – 11:30 a.m. (Training Camp Practice No. 20) * Tuesday, August 27 – 11:00 a.m. (Training Camp Practice No. 21)