Anders Carlson

Latest On Packers’ Kicker Issues

Packers rookie kicker Anders Carlson already finds himself on the hot seat, but the Packers gave him a vote of confidence yesterday. After Carlson struggled during training camp and the team’s preseason opener, Brian Gutekunst said it’s natural for a young kicker to struggle, with the GM pointing to former kicker Mason Crosby.

“We believe in him, we think he has a lot of talent, he’s done some really good things since he’s been here. You guys have seen his leg strength, his power. I really like the way the ball elevates off his foot,” Gutekunst said Friday (h/t to Packers Wire). “But you have to find a way to get to a more consistent level. One thing…there’s not a lot of patience sometimes when there needs to be.

“Mason had some multiple times while he was here where he was in some really bad spots, some struggles, and I always thought Ted [Thompson, former GM] gave him a pretty long leash and he always came out of it. I think that’s important, especially for young players to get that patience, that leash to get there. But at some point, when this stuff becomes real, it becomes different.”

According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky (via Twitter), the organization has no intention of bringing in competition at the position, meaning the job is still Carlson’s. Of course, things can change quickly, and a poor outing during tonight’s preseason game could change the Packers’ thinking.

The brother of Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson, Anders had a productive career at Auburn, earning second-team All-American honors and a first-team All-SEC nod in 2020. After connecting on 20 of his 22 field goal attempts during that 2020 campaign, Carlson converted 26 of his 38 attempts (68 percent) between 2021 and 2022. Despite the drop in accuracy, the Packers still selected him in the sixth round of this past year’s draft, making him the replacement for Crosby, who spent the past 16 years in Green Bay.

Carlson looked good early during his preseason debut, connecting on his first four kicks. However, he later missed a pair of extra point tries, and the kicker reportedly continued to struggle during practice this week. The Packers are especially confident that Carlson can shake off his funk, with special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia noting that Green Bay specifically targeted the kicker for his mental fortitude.

“I’ll go back to his mental makeup has a lot to do with why we drafted him, why we like him and why we think his future is going to be bright for him,” Bisaccia said.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/5/23

Here are a few more mid- to late-round draft picks who signed their four-year rookie contracts today:

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

  • CB Darius Rush (fifth round, South Carolina)
  • S Daniel Scott (fifth round, California)
  • DE Titus Leo (sixth round, Wagner)
  • CB Jaylon Jones (seventh round, Texas A&M)
  • T Jake Witt (seventh round, Northern Michigan)

New York Giants

New York Jets

Packers Open To Re-Signing K Mason Crosby, S Adrian Amos

The Packers selected a kicker, Auburn’s Anders Carlson, in the sixth round of this year’s draft. That has led to plenty of justified speculation that Mason Crosby‘s tenure in Green Bay has come to an end, though GM Brian Gutekunst indicated that is not necessarily the case.

Gutekunst told reporters, including Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that he has not ruled out a new contract for Crosby — who is presently a free agent — and that he just “really liked” Carlson (Twitter link). Still, it would seem that only injury to, or underperformance from, Carlson and reserve/futures signee Parker White would open the door to a Crosby return, as Rob Demovsky of suggests.

Carlson, the younger brother of Raiders K Daniel Carlson, is the first kicker Green Bay has drafted since Crosby himself was selected in the sixth round of the 2007 draft. Crosby has operated as the club’s kicker ever since, though he has never received Pro Bowl or All-Pro honors. In 2022, his 86.2% field goal conversion rate was the fourth-highest mark of his career, but it was a middle-of-the-pack showing overall. He also made just one of four attempts from 50+ yards.

Anders Carlson, meanwhile, does not have a particularly notable college resume. Over five seasons with the Tigers, he made just 71.8% of his attempts, which included a 68.4% success rate across his last two collegiate years. He also sustained a torn ACL in November 2021, so he is not necessarily a surefire bet to make the Packers’ roster.

Gutekunst also said that he remains open to a reunion with safety Adrian Amos and that he has stayed in contact with Amos’ camp (Twitter link via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic). We heard last week that Darnell Savage would get the opportunity to reclaim his starting safety job, and even if he is successful in that regard, there is room for another backend defender to compete with the likes of Tarvarius Moore and Anthony Johnson Jr., who was added in the seventh round of the draft yesterday.

Amos garnered interest from the Ravens this offseason, but his free agency stay has otherwise been a quiet one. While he set a career-high with 102 tackles in 2022, he earned a poor 53.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, which has generally been high on his work throughout the course of his career.