GREEN BAY, Wis. -- As entertaining as it was to see three kickers go head-to-head-to-head in practice on Sunday, there’s a reason teams don’t usually bring more than two of them to training camp.
The Packers signed Tavecchio on March 26 to compete with veteran Mason Crosby, who was coming off his worst season. Crosby made an NFL-low 63.6 percent of his kicks last season.
But before you write off Tavecchio, who actually outkicked Crosby in practice this summer, he might not have been on a one-way ticket out of town.
“The kicking competition is not over,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. “We feel like we have a very good handle on where Giorgio is as far as his capabilities, his performance. There is a case, a scenario where we may bring him back.”
It seems a little far-fetched, but here’s one scenario that could play out: Suppose Ramirez doesn’t kick well enough this week, and the Packers decided to stick with Crosby. Then, Crosby struggles like he did last season, and the Packers decide they can’t live with him anymore. They could then reconsider Tavecchio.
Tavecchio made 56-of-64 field goals (87.5 percent) in practices/scrimmages and 1-of-2 in preseason game action, while Crosby converted 53-of-67 (79.1 percent) in practices/scrimmages and all four of his preseason game kicks.
What separated Crosby -- and for that matter Ramirez -- from Tavecchio is leg strength. Shortly after he arrived on Monday, Ramirez matched Crosby in both accuracy -- both made 10-of-11 in a field goal period -- and distance. Both made from 60 and 63 yards, the two longest attempts of the drill. Tavecchio couldn't make the 63 yarder.
For now, the Packers want to see as much of Ramirez as possible. Special teams coach Shawn Slocum has another extended kicking period scheduled for Tuesday’s practice and then would like to see how Ramirez, a rookie from Portland State whose only previous NFL experience was on a tryout basis in the Seattle Seahawks rookie minicamp this past spring, reacts in Thursday’s preseason finale at Kansas City.
When asked why they signed Ramirez so late in training camp, Slocum said: “We were not satisfied that we had someone win the job yet.”