Packers K Mason Crosby's 2012 struggles carrying over to 2013

Mason Crosby only hit 2 of 6 field goals during a kicking duel with Giorgio Tavecchio on Saturday. (USATSI)
Mason Crosby only hit 2 of 6 field goals during a kicking duel with Giorgio Tavecchio on Saturday. (USATSI)

Last season wasn't exactly a banner year for Packers kicker Mason Crosby. Crosby only converted on 63.6 percent of his field goals, the lowest number of his six-year career and a percentage that ranked dead last in the NFL

Thanks to Crosby's struggles, the Packers signed some competition for training camp in the form of free agent kicker Giorgio Tavecchio.

The two kickers got to duke it out in front of 63,047 fans at Lambeau Field on Saturday and lets just say that the 2013 Crosby is looking a lot like the 2012 Crosby. 

Crosby only connected on 2 of 6 field goals in his head-to-head competition with Tavecchio and he finished the practice 3 for 8.

Tavecchio, a former Cal kicker who's never played in a regular season NFL game, hit 5 of his 6 field goal attempts during his duel with Crosby and went 6 of 7 on the night. 

The two kickers attempted all six 'duel' kicks from the same distances and same spots on the field. Saturday's competition was considered important because it was the first time in training camp that either kicker had kicked in front of a large crowd. 

"Mason Crosby is competing for a job on our football team, like everybody else, and he definitely didn’t take a step in the right direction with his performance," coach Mike McCarthy said, via the Packers team website.

"I had a great week of work," Crosby said. "That’s what’s disappointing. I had a good session the other day, and all the field goals I hit this week were solid. It’s something I want to evaluate and look at, and if anything I have to learn from it and move on."

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers -- who attended the same school as Tavecchio (Cal), but not at the same time -- says he expects Crosby to win the job.

"I fully expect him to be our kicker, and he’s made some big kicks for us since 2007," Rodgers said. "I think he’s got one of the biggest legs in the league, and it’s very much a matter of being consistent and I’m counting on him, as are the rest of us."

A bad practice won't kill Crosby's chances of keeping his job, but a bad game could. The Packers open their preseason schedule on Aug. 9 with a home game against Arizona. 

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CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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