GREEN BAY—Mike McCarthy added a new twist to a kicking competition that even includes the punter.
Giorgio Tavecchio is gone, released early Monday morning as the Packers move toward the mandatory cut to 75 players on Tuesday, but McCarthy said Tavecchio remains a competitor for the job Mason Crosby has held since 2007.
“What I told him is that he’s still part of the competition,” McCarthy said of a meeting he had with Tavecchio on Monday. “The kicking competition is not over. We feel we have a very good handle on where Giorgio is. There is a scenario where we would bring him back.”
So, you like drama? Well, Thursday’s preseason finale, a snooze button special for most teams, will be a high-drama event for the Packers and their kickers, two of whom are currently on the roster, one of whom will be back home in California, and a fourth who will be doing the punting for the Packers on Thursday in Kansas City.
The scenario to which McCarthy alluded would likely involve punter Tim Masthay as the Packers’ kickoff man. Masthay boomed a kickoff out of the end zone last Friday night and would seem to be Tavecchio’s best friend in whatever remaining hope he has of being recalled by the Packers. Tavecchio has hit field goals from 60 yards on at least two occasions in training camp, but his kickoffs have been of the returnable variety.
Crosby and newly signed Zach Ramirez have booming right legs. Each of those kickers would cancel any plans for Masthay to be used on kickoffs. The question Crosby and Ramirez have to answer is this: Can they split the uprights often enough to capture McCarthy’s confidence?
“We’re going to kick tomorrow,” McCarthy said of a competition that won’t wait for Thursday’s game in Kansas City. “The kicking script will be different than it was (on Sunday).”
The script on Sunday had Crosby, Ramirez and Tavecchio each attempt 11 field goals ranging in distance from 34 to 63 yards. Crosby and Ramirez each hit from 63; Tavecchio missed from 63 but was good from 60. Overall, Crosby and Ramirez were good on 10 of 11 attempts and Tavecchio was good on nine of 11.
McCarthy made it sound as though Tuesday’s script will be even juicier. How’s that for drama on the final day of training camp?
“He came in here and earned a position in a workout, and then went out on the field and kicked well there,” Special Teams Coordinator Shawn Slocum said of Ramirez, who was signed following a workout Sunday morning.
“Those are two pretty high-pressure situations,” Slocum added.
Ramirez is a YouTube star. He appears to have produced and posted four videos of himself kicking field goals and kicking off. Slocum said he hasn’t seen any of the videos.
“I think he’s got a strong leg. He kicked the ball well (on Sunday). He wouldn’t be here if he didn’t have an NFL leg,” Slocum said.
In what might be the most important week of his life, Ramirez won’t only be kicking against Crosby, he’ll be kicking against a guy who’ll probably be watching Thursday’s game on TV. Additional coverage - Aug. 26