Packers' Crosby takes big step to winning kicker job

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By Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
August 28, 2013

GREEN BAY--The Green Bay Packers all but answered their kicking question, placed eight players on the injured reserve or reserve/physically unable to perform lists and put to bed coach Mike McCarthy’s eighth training camp.

It was all in a day’s work.

Veteran kicker Mason Crosby put himself firmly in the lead with a flawless performance in practice, stacking a 14-for-14 field goal performance Tuesday onto a 9-for-10 effort he had Sunday against two other competitors.

This time it was just him and undrafted rookie Zach Ramirez, who had been signed Sunday after McCarthy and special teams coach Shawn Slocum decided neither Crosby nor Giorgio Tavecchio had done enough to ease their concerns over the kicker position.

Not long after Ramirez finished his disappointing 6-for-16 performance, the Packers waived him as part of their requirement to cut the roster to 75 by 3 p.m. Tuesday. They also officially waived Tavecchio, although they had announced the move Monday.

By waiving Tavecchio on Tuesday, no team can be awarded a claim for him until Wednesday, at which time most teams will have completed preparations for their final preseason game. If he clears waivers, the Packers could re-sign him and let him kick against Crosby next week during preparations for San Francisco.

To get to 75, the Packers put four players on injured reserve and four on PUP. Ramirez’s poor performance allowed the Packers to keep someone else they might have had to cut if they kept two kickers for the Kansas City game Thursday night.

Going on injured reserve were: tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), running back DuJuan Harris (knee), wide receiver Kevin Dorsey (toe) and linebacker Jarvis Reed (ankle). Dorsey and Reed were placed with the intention of releasing them once they agree to injury settlements.

Going on PUP were: tackle Derek Sherrod (leg), safety Sean Richardson (neck), offensive lineman JC Tretter (ankle) and end Jerel Worthy (knee). None of them will be eligible to practice until after Week 6, and the Packers will have to make a decision on their status no later than the end of Week 11.

At some point during that five-week window, the Packers can practice the players on PUP without them counting against the 53-man roster. But once they return to the practice field the clock starts on a 21-day period at the end of which they must be added to the 53, put on injured reserve or released.

After practice, McCarthy announced that Harris needed knee surgery, ending his season. He said Sherrod, the closest to being ready of the PUP designees, was nearly ready to return to the field 21 months and two surgeries after breaking both bones in his leg.

“He’s getting better, he’s getting close,” McCarthy said. “He looks good. We knew from the start it was a serious injury and I’m impressed with the progress he’s made particularly in training camp.”

The problem with putting him on PUP is in addition to being ineligible to play, all he is allowed to do physically is continue to work with the trainers and strength staff. He can attend meetings and go on the road with the team.

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