GREEN BAY — Mason Crosby has some competition.
The Green Bay Packers added Sam Ficken on waivers from the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, meaning Crosby could have head-to-head in-house training camp competition for the first time since 2013, when he was coming off a disastrous 2012 and the team brought in Giorgio Tavecchio to push him that summer.
Speaking at the annual NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis in February, general manager Brian Gutekunst was asked if he felt he needed to bring in competition for Crosby after the way last season went.
“I don’t know if you need to,” Gutekunst replied. “I think if the right guy was there we’d consider that. At the same time, people underestimate how difficult it is to kick in Lambeau Field in the weather he has to kick it in.
“Mason’s done a good job of that over the years. He’s obviously a veteran, he’s been in a lot of situations. I think if we had the right guy, we certainly wouldn’t be opposed to that. But I look for Mason to have a bounce-back year.”
Apparently, the Packers think Ficken, 26, is the right guy, despite a journeyman’s path through the NFL. Undrafted in 2015, the ex-Penn State standout has seen action in four regular-season games with the Los Angeles Rams over the past two seasons, when the Rams needed a fill-in for regular kicker Greg Zuerlein.
Ficken went 3-for-6 on field goal attempts in those four games and made 14 of 15 extra point attempts. He’s also spent time in past training camps with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs before signing with the Seahawks in January.
Crosby was 30-for-37 on field-goal attempts last year and all of his misses were costly.
He missed a 52-yarder at the end of regulation in a 29-29 tie with Minnesota on Sept. 16; he missed four field goal attempts and an extra point in a 31-23 Oct. 5 loss at Detroit; he missed a 47-yard first-quarter attempt in a 27-24 Nov. 15 loss at Seattle; and he missed a 49-yarder on the final play of a 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 2 that would have tied the game. After the miss, coach Mike McCarthy was fired with four games remaining in the season.
“I take a couple of days off and take a breath and evaluate the season, like I do every year, and make sure that I’m prepared for what this offseason holds,” Crosby said when players cleaned out their lockers after the Dec. 30 season finale. “Every year, there’s always changes and moves on every roster. We’re just going to have flow with it and take ‘em as they come.”