While Rich Bisaccia gave some unspecific answers about Mason Crosby’s future with the Green Bay Packers, it doesn’t look promising. We’ve heard a lot of “the door’s not closed” and “we’ll see what the future holds” from the Packers brass, and perhaps I’m reading that wrong, but it feels like it may be the dawn of a new age in Green Bay’s specialty unit.
Kicker Anders Carlson, the younger brother of Raiders’ All-Pro kicker Daniel Carlson, was drafted last month in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. This selection, though late in the draft, seemed to mark the confirmation of what some had already begun to speculate about; the end of Mason Crosby’s tenure as a Packer.
Player Analysis: Anders Carlson
While some, myself included, may be convinced that Mason Crosby is gone, that’s only one part of the puzzle referenced in the title of this piece. The second part; is Anders Carlson good enough to be the future of the kicker position in Green Bay?
I’ll be nice and save you some time if you don’t want to read a bunch of analysis about a kicker’s college career; the answer is probably no. The fact is that he struggled at long distances in college and he was also a bit more hit or miss in big moments than you’d probably like.
Before getting into the numbers that back these claims it is important to preface by saying: no one thinks Anders Carlson has any realistic chance to reach the same potential that Mason Crosby has reached in his career. Crosby is the all-time leading scorer for the Packers, and he is undoubtedly the best kicker that has ever donned the green and gold. The goal is for any new kicker to soon eclipse what Crosby is currently capable of at 38 years old.
So if the goal is to do better than an aging — but still accurate — kicker that struggles to hit from 50+ yards, Anders Carlson doesn’t seem to be the answer. After Carlson had a pretty impressive 2020 season at Auburn, he was a combined 26-of-38, including 0-of-4 from 50-plus during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. In total over his five year tenure in college Carlson attempted 17 field goals of 50 yards or more, and he made 5 of them. Anders also sported a mediocre to average kickoff resume. He never had a booming leg when sending the ball off, or great airtime for that matter, but he did manage touchbacks on 61.4 percent of his kickoffs.
All of this was to say; Carlson is an underwhelming player. Certainly not the kicker coming out of Auburn that his brother was, but there’s a narrative floating around that maybe that’s a good thing.
Why was Carlson Selected?
It has been no secret that GM Brian Gutekunst allows special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia give input about player additions for the third phase of the game. This selection was absolutely no different. Rich Bisaccia, since he was Daniel Carlson’s coach on the Raiders, previously knew Anders Carlson as well. Bisaccia certainly believes in Anders, and it seems that he may be trusting him in big moments very soon.
A narrative that has been prevalent is that Daniel Carlson faced adversity that made him a better kicker once he was in the league, and Anders has already faced that adversity through injuries and lack of impressive production at the college level. Whether or not this theory holds any water, there’s one thing we can be sure of; Rich Bisaccia hasn’t necessarily made a wrong step yet during his short tenure with the Packers. We can have our opinions about Carlson as a prospect, but we have no reason to doubt Bisaccia’s decisions until one of them actually plays out poorly, and he seems to believe in Carslon.
The fact is that Anders Carlson is going to have to put in some work to fully rehabilitate from his college injuries. He should probably then be putting in some time with the nutrition staff as well as the strength and conditioning coaches. That is to say that he may need a touch more muscle on his legs to really maintain the distance on kicks. These seem to be small issues that Rich Bisaccia isn’t worried about.
To sum up my overall sentiments; with a first year starter at QB, the Packers may soon be relying on their kicker for points more than in previous years, and that can be a scary thought right now with a question mark at the position.
In the words of Rich Bisaccia, “We’ll see what the future holds.”——————
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.