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Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Starter Pack: Why Crosby, but not Ross?

By Rob Demovsky

A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers' beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- All NFL players are not created equal.

And they're not treated equally, either.

Take Mason Crosby and Jeremy Ross, for example.

The Packers stuck with Crosby even after the kicker experienced the worst season of his career in 2012, and their patience with him paid off. With three games remaining, he's on pace for his best season.

In explaining why the Packers didn't give up on Crosby, special teams coach Shawn Slocum on Monday said: “The easy thing to do is to change personnel. That's not always the right thing to do.”

Yet they wasted little time dumping Ross after two kick return gaffes in a four-game stretch dating back to last season. Ross' muffed punt in the playoff loss at the San Francisco 49ers combined with his fumbled kickoff in the Week 3 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals cost him his job. The Packers cut him the day after the Bengals' game.

Perhaps they should have treated Ross the same way they did Crosby.

Instead, they opened the door for the Detroit Lions to sign him -- first to their practice squad and then to their active roster. One game after Ross burned the Packers on both special teams and on offense as a receiver and ball carrier in the Detroit's Thanksgiving win, he scored two special teams touchdowns for the Lions against the Philadelphia Eagles in a snow-storm game on Sunday. Ross returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and a punt 58 yards for a touchdown.

To be sure, the seventh-year kicker Crosby had a much longer history with the Packers than Ross, who had been with them for less than a year.

“Mason played one position for us,” Slocum said. “The other young man played more positions. Had some problems before he left us. They were critical. In four consecutive games had two major problems, and we made a decision to move. He did a nice job against us, he did a nice job yesterday in the snow.

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