Green Bay Packers: Mason Crosby

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- After three days of training camp practices, the Green Bay Packers took Tuesday off.

Crosby
It's a small sample size, but before they get back on the field Wednesday morning at 8:20 local time, here's a look at what we've learned about them so far. After breaking down the offense and the defense, here’s a look at special teams:

Status quo: It's status quo among the three specialists -- kicker Mason Crosby, punter Tim Masthay and long-snapper Brett Goode. There's no in-house competition at those positions. Crosby, who was under the microscope at this time last season after coming off a sub-standard 2012 season, appears to be in a similar groove to last season, when he made a career-best 89.2 percent of his field goals. In the only field goal period of camp so far, he made 7-of-8 kicks, including a pair of 50-yarders.

Returners wanted: Special teams coach Shawn Slocum is shuffling returners through the drills like it's a wide-open competition. The days of receiver Randall Cobb handling the duties appear to be over even though he's their most accomplished returner. Safety Micah Hyde, who had a punt return for a touchdown last season as a rookie against the Vikings, has gotten the first crack at the job again. But rookie receiver Jared Abbrederis and second-year receiver Myles White also have gotten looks. Running back DuJuan Harris looks like the early leader to handle kickoff returns.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Over the last two weeks and leading up to the Green Bay Packers' first training camp practice on Saturday, we broke down each position group.

We wrap up the series with special teams.

Returning players: Mason Crosby (K), Tim Masthay (P), Brett Goode (LS).

Gone from last season: None.

New this season: None

Position coach: Shaun Slocum (sixth season, also spent three seasons as assistant special teams coach).

Crosby
Biggest issue: Despite a major rebound by Crosby, who had his best career season in 2013 following his worst in 2012, and another strong season by Masthay, the Packers finished 20th out of 32 teams in the Dallas Morning News' highly-regarded annual special teams rankings. Where did Slocum's unit struggle the most? Perhaps it was in covering kicks. Opponents started drives at an average of the 25.6-yard line, the best field position in the league last season.

Player to watch: Perhaps the most important person to keep an eye on this summer is not a player but rather a new addition to the coaching staff. Coach Mike McCarthy brought in former Illinois and Florida head coach Ron Zook to assist Slocum in coaching special teams. It's unusual for a 60-year-old veteran coach to serve in a position normally reserved for a young, up-and-coming coach, but it speaks to McCarthy's commitment to improving this unit. Zook coached special teams with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1996-98. He also has previous experience with McCarthy. The two were on New Orleans Saints coaching staff together in 2000 and 2001.

Medical report: There are no known injury issues.

Help wanted: While the Packers are set with their specialists, the return job might be wide open. The Packers seem unlikely to put receiver Randall Cobb back on return duties, but they would like someone just as dangerous. Defensive back Micah Hyde finished last season as the primary returner on both kickoffs and punts. Hyde, who was more effective as a punt returner, will face competition from several players. The most likely challenger might be rookie receiver Jared Abbrederis, a fifth-round pick from Wisconsin.

Quotable: "I thought we had a good year in a couple of areas and did poorly in one particular area, and that's explosive gains in coverage," Slocum said of last season. "That's something we've really got to improve. Can't give up explosive gains and expect to win field position or games."

Previous installments

July 14: Quarterbacks

July 15: Running backs

July 16: Receivers

July 17: Tight ends

July 18: Offensive line

July 21: Defensive line

July 22: Linebackers

July 23: Cornerbacks

July 24: Safeties
Examining the Green Bay Packers' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)
The Packers have not kept three quarterbacks on their opening-day roster since 2008, but they might be inclined to do so this season in order to avoid a situation like last year, when Rodgers broke his collarbone. Coach Mike McCarthy is high on Tolzien, who made two starts last season, but Flynn has proved he can win as a backup in Green Bay.

Running backs (4)

The return of Harris, who missed all of last season because of a knee injury, gives the Packers insurance behind Lacy and Starks. Kuhn is valuable both as a fullback and on special teams. It's possible they'll keep a fourth halfback, but the loss of Johnathan Franklin to a career-ending neck injury has left them without a strong in-house candidate for that spot.

Receivers (6)

The Packers often keep only five receivers, but given that they drafted three -- Adams (second round), Abbrederis (fifth round) and Janis (seventh round) -- there's a good chance they will keep six. Abbrederis and Janis will not only have to show they're better prospects than second-year pros Myles White and Chris Harper, but they also could help themselves if they can return kicks.

Tight ends (4)

McCarthy likes tight ends (he has kept five before), and the wild card is undrafted rookie Colt Lyerla.

Offensive linemen (8)

The Packers typically only activate seven offensive linemen on game day, so they can get away with keeping just eight on the roster. Barclay's ability to play all five positions also allows them some freedom. Lane Taylor could be the ninth lineman if they go that route.

Defensive line (7)

Worthy and Guion have work to do to make the roster, but there's room for them if you count Julius Peppers and Mike Neal among the outside linebackers, which is where they lined up more often in the offseason.

Linebackers (8)

There will be some tough cuts here. Second-year pros Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba both played last year as rookie outside linebackers. It also may be tough for highly touted undrafted rookie Adrian Hubbard to make it.

Cornerbacks (6)

Hayward's return from last season's hamstring injury means he likely will return as the slot cornerback in the nickel package, a role played last year by Micah Hyde (who may primarily play safety this year).

Safeties (4)

The major question here is whether Hyde or Clinton-Dix will be the starter alongside Burnett. Chris Banjo, who played primarily on special teams last season, might be the odd man out.

Specialists (3)

There's no competition at any of these spots.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – After looking at how things are shaping up on offense and on defense as the Green Bay Packers head into training camp, it's time to examine the special teams depth chart.

Remember, this is an unofficial assessment, but it is based on observations during organized team activities and minicamp practices combined with interviews with assistant coaches and scouts.

Kicker: Mason Crosby

Notes: Last summer, the Packers conducted a full-scale competition for the job after Crosby's disastrous 2012 season. He not only beat out Giorgio Tavecchio and Zach Ramirez in training camp, but then went on to his best season. A year later, the Packers feel so confident in Crosby that they don't have another kicker on the roster. Crosby closed the offseason by making all seven of his field goals -- including a pair from 50-plus yards -- during his final minicamp practice and appears to have picked up where he left off in 2013.

Punter: Tim Masthay

Notes: Entering his fifth season as the Packers’ punter, Masthay kicked the ball well throughout the offseason. Like Crosby, he's the only specialist at his position on the roster.

Long snapper: Brett Goode

Notes: The Packers remain committed to keeping a roster spot for a specialized long snapper.

Kickoff returner: DuJuan Harris, Micah Hyde, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis, Kevin Dorsey, Randall Cobb.

Notes: Special teams coach Shawn Slocum put Harris in as the number one returner during minicamp last month and wants to explore how the backup running back would fare in that role. Hyde was more effective as a punt returner than as a kickoff returner last season. The Packers are not likely to use Cobb as their primary returner anymore, but young receivers such as Abbrederis, Janis and Dorsey will get shots at it this preseason.

Punt returner: Hyde, Abbrederis, Cobb, Tramon Williams.

Notes: Hyde's sure-handedness and solid decision-making for a great punt-returning combination, but Abbrederis has the kind of speed and elusiveness that made Cobb special.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Here's a look at what stood out from the Green Bay Packers' minicamp practice on Thursday:

1. Veterans gone: For the final practice of the team's mandatory minicamp, coach Mike McCarthy excused all veterans with five or more years of experience. Without the 16 players that fit into that category, it gave the rookies and younger players more reps than they had received at any point previously in the offseason. But it meant this week's mandatory minicamp was essentially one day of football for the full squad because the Packers spent Wednesday at their annual team-building event, which this year was bowling.

"A lot of younger players got a lot of reps today that did not have the opportunity in the other practices," McCarthy said Thursday.

2. Tolzien shines: With Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn among those excused from practice, it gave young quarterbacks Scott Tolzien and Chase Rettig the chance to run the offense. For Tolzien, it was his first time getting starter reps since the weeks leading up to his two starts last season against the Giants and Vikings. Tolzien looked especially sharp in the red zone. On consecutive plays, he threw short touchdowns to his former University Wisconsin teammate Jared Abbrederis and tight end Brandon Bostick. The throw to Bostick was a perfectly thrown fade in the left corner of the end zone.

"I think any time that guys are relying on you and you're the first guy in the huddle, that's a big chance for you," Tolzien said. "But at the same time it shouldn't really change how you are. You should prepare like a starter every day."

3. Rettig's reps: Any reps for Rettig would have been more than normal given that the fourth quarterback on the depth chart rarely gets any work during team periods, so Thursday was big for the undrafted rookie from Boston College. There's no guarantee the Packers will take four quarterbacks to camp, but Rettig helped his cause with a few nice throws. He hit tight end Ryan Taylor in stride on a seam route and also connected with receiver Kevin Dorsey and tight end Richard Rodgers.

4. Changing duties: At one point during position drills, defensive line coach Mike Trgovac worked with the offensive linemen. A few yards away, offensive line coach James Campen ran the defensive line drill. That was something new this offseason, but it makes senses that a defensive line coach could give pointers to offensive linemen and vice versa.

5. Bradford's bat down: Rookie outside linebacker Carl Bradford made perhaps the most impressive defensive play of the practice when he batted down a pass attempt by Rettig on a two-point conversion try. The fourth-round pick from Arizona State showed his athletic ability by leaping and swatting the ball away with two hands.

6. Changing of the guard: With starting guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton among the veterans excused from practice, Don Barclay and Lane Taylor worked with the No. 1 offensive line. Barclay played left guard, while Taylor lined up on the right side. It showed how committed the Packers are to leaving Derek Sherrod at left tackle. As a rookie in 2011, Sherrod battled Lang for a starting job at guard. Instead, he remained as the backup left tackle.

7. Roll call, part 1: The 16 veterans excused on Thursday were: kicker Mason Crosby, cornerback Jarrett Bush, fullback John Kuhn, cornerback Tramon Williams, linebacker A.J. Hawk, linebacker Clay Matthews, linebacker/defensive end Julius Peppers, linebacker Brad Jones, long snapper Brett Goode, receiver Jordy Nelson, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, defensive tackle Letroy Guion, Flynn, Rodgers, Lang and Sitton.

8. Roll call, part 2: The following players attended practice but did not participate: receiver Chris Harper, cornerback Jumal Rolle, linebacker Nick Perry, tight end Andrew Quarless and defensive end Jerel Worthy. Running back Johnathan Franklin, who will be waived/injured on Friday because of a career-ending neck injury, was not present.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Here's a look at what stood out from the Green Bay Packers' minicamp practice on Tuesday:

Hayward
1. Hayward's return: Casey Hayward played like it was 2012, when he led all NFL rookies with six interceptions. After a lost 2013 season in which Hayward was limited to only three games (and no interceptions) because of a recurring hamstring injury, which first occurred on the eve of training camp, Hayward has taken part in the entire offseason program and looks to be back to his rookie form. During a play from the defense's 15-yard line during red zone period, Hayward made a leaping interception in the end zone on a corner route that may have been slightly underthrown by Matt Flynn for tight end Richard Rodgers.

"I told him today, don't go pulling a hamstring the day before he's supposed to come to training camp," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said after practice.

2. Tolzien's progress: On back-to-back plays during the final team period of practice, backup quarterback Scott Tolzien completed a deep out to Myles White and then threw a rocket on a seam route that rookie Jared Abbrederis snagged. They were among Tolzien's most impressive throws of the offseason and could be a sign that he is poised to launch a legitimate run at Flynn and the No. 2 job this summer.

"He's made improvements throughout the course of the whole camp," quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said of Tolzien, "which is what you'd expect to see."

3. Matthews eases in: Clay Matthews was not an official participant in practice but near the end he jumped into a drill during a position group period. He did not wear a helmet but did some light drill work. He did not have any protection on his twice-broken right thumb.

"Clay is coming along," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's still part of the group that's not practicing."

4. Cool Crosby: Mason Crosby was perfect on seven field goals during a special teams period. He hit from 33, 36, 40, 43, 45, 50 and 53 yards on a breezy day. The Packers have no plans to bring another kicker to training camp like they did last season, when Crosby was coming off his worst year in 2012. So far, he looks to be in the same form as last season, when he made 33-of-37 field goals.

"We've got to maintain this and not outkick ourselves and be fresh and explosive week to week," special teams coach Shawn Slocum said.

5. Rodgers on the Bucks: Just as he did in our one-on-one interview on Monday, quarterback Aaron Rodgers would not elaborate on his reported interest in becoming a part owner in the Milwaukee Bucks, who were recently sold.

"I don't have any update besides the fact that I was wearing a Bucks long-sleeve [shirt] with Rob Demovsky in my interview," Rodgers said.

6. Roll call, part 1: The following players were present but did not take part in practice: Matthews, cornerback Jumal Rolle, running back Johanthan Franklin, linebacker Nick Perry, Andrew Quarless and Jerel Worthy.

7. Roll call, part 2: Left guard Josh Sitton did not attend practice. McCarthy said Sitton had been excused.

8. Wednesday's activity: McCarthy has a practice on the schedule for Wednesday but given that it is closed to the public, it is expected that he will take the team on a non-football team-building exercise like he typically does during minicamp. The next practice open to the public is Thursday.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Here's a look at what stood out from the Green Bay Packers' second open OTA session of the offseason Tuesday:

1. Rookie catch up: Second-round receiver Davante Adams and third-round defensive tackle Khyri Thornton returned after missing last week's OTA sessions to attend the NFL Players Association Rookie Premier event. Adams said he stayed in his playbook during the trip to and from Los Angeles. "When I was out there, I was studying my playbook," Adams said. "When I was on the flight, I was studying my playbook. That's pretty much all it was."

Boykin
2. Boykin, Harper shine: Receivers Jarrett Boykin and Chris Harper had big days during team and 7-on-7 passing periods Tuesday. Both stood out during the team blitz period, catching hot reads from quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn. Boykin has been working as the No. 3 receiver despite the arrival of Adams and fellow draft picks Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis. Harper, a fourth-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks last year, was claimed off waivers last Oct. 18 and is an intriguing prospect with good size (6-foot-1, 228 pounds). "Chris has really improved," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after practice. "I mean, I think you saw the first snap there in the team period, I mean, he runs a great post and Aaron hits him right in stride. I mean, that's the kind of explosiveness that he has."

3. Barclay's versatility: Third-year pro Don Barclay is making a case for being the team's most versatile offensive lineman. He worked with the starters at left guard Tuesday, when Josh Sitton appeared to be limited. Last week, Barclay worked at right tackle behind Bryan Bulaga. He also could take reps at center. At this point, Barclay looks like he might be the team's top backup linemen at several positions. "Donny has the ability to potentially play five positions on the offensive line," McCarthy said. "I don't know how many guys you can say that about."

4. Inside pass-rush combination: It looks like defensive coordinator Dom Capers is going to give Datone Jones and Mike Daniels every chance to be his primary interior pass rushers in the sub packages. The Packers hope Jones can make the kind of jump Daniels made last year, when he increased his sack total from 2 to 6.5.

5. Another new guy: With B.J. Raji absent from Tuesday's practice, Letroy Guion took most of the reps at nose tackle with the starters. Guion, the former Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman who signed a one-year deal with the Packers this offseason, gives the Packers a taller option at the spot. He has two inches on the 6-2 Raji.

6. To the House: Fourth-year cornerback Davon House, who is coming off an inconsistent season, came up with an interception during a team period, when he picked off a corner route thrown by Flynn that was intended for Kevin Dorsey.

Crosby
7. Kicking competition: There's not another kicker on the roster this year, but it's still worth charting all of Mason Crosby's field goals. He went 7-for-8 during a team period on a windy Tuesday. His only miss was wide right from 47 yards. He also missed from 43 yards, but that kick was whistled dead at the snap and therefore did not count. Last year at this time, Crosby was kicking for his job. This year, he's coming off a career-best season in which he made 89.2 percent of his regular-season field goals.

8. Punt return rotation: Randall Cobb, Micah Hyde, Tramon Williams and Abbrederis took turns catching punts during a special teams period.

9. Roll call: Add cornerback Jumal Rolle to the list of those who did not practice. McCarthy does not give injury updates during OTAs, and Rolle was not available for comment. Others who did not practice due to injuries were: running back Johnathan Franklin, linebacker Clay Matthews, linebacker Nick Perry, tight end Andrew Quarless and tight end Brandon Bostick. Those five also missed last week's sessions.

10. Roll call, part II: Rookie tight end Colt Lyerla, defensive end Jerel Worthy and Raji were not in attendance. Lyerla's agent, Vinnie Porter, said the Packers were aware of Lyerla's absence in advance and excused him even though that was not necessary because it is a voluntary workout. McCarthy said he expected Lyerla back Wednesday. Worthy's grandmother died last week after she was accidentally shot.

The Packers' next open OTA session is next Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. local time.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If you're a fantasy football player, then you're probably already thinking about your roster for this season.

And if you're a Green Bay Packers' fan, which is safe to assume since you’re reading this, you have decisions to make. Do you draft with your heart and select Packers players or do you draft with your head and take the best player available?

Perhaps there's a way to do both.

We have unveiled our latest fantasy rankings for the 2014 season. Among the top 200 players overall regardless of position were seven Packers.

Here's a breakdown of where they fell on the top 200 list:

6. Eddie Lacy: After rushing for 1,178 yards last season, the reigning offensive rookie of the year could top that if he can stay healthy for the entire season. He missed one full game and significant parts of two others because of injuries (concussion, ankle) last season. Running backs occupied the top six spots, and Lacy was behind Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Jamal Charles, Matt Forte and Marshawn Lynch.

12. Aaron Rodgers: Only one quarterback, Peyton Manning, ranked ahead of Rodgers. That says it all.

22. Jordy Nelson: Nelson is hoping to avoid his every-other-year pattern. In 2011 and 2013, he had big seasons with 1,200 yards or more in each season, combined to catch 23 touchdowns and did not miss any games. But in 2012 he missed four games and managed just 745 yards and seven touchdowns. Ranked seventh among receivers.

30. Randall Cobb: After an 80-catch season in 2012, he was poised for another big year last season before a fractured leg limited him to six games. Like Nelson, Cobb is in a contract year, which could help his production. Ranked 10th among receivers.

122. James Starks: Had his most productive season last year as Lacy's primary backup, posting career highs in touchdowns (four -- three rushing, one receiving) and yards per carry (5.5). Ranked 51st among running backs.

154. Mason Crosby: Saved his job last season by making 33-of-37 field goals (89.2 percent) after a career-low 63.6 percent conversion rate in 2012. Has tallied at least 100 points in seven straight seasons. Ranked fourth among kickers.

161. Jarrett Boykin: Emerged last season as a viable No. 3 with 49 catches for 681 yards and three touchdowns over the final 12 games but could see reduced playing time this year after the Packers drafted three receivers. Ranked 54th among receivers.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Let's get this out of the way from the top; we know Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson does not draft for need -- or so he says.

But in the months leading up to this week's draft, Thompson and his scouts have spent hundreds of hours not only discussing the prospects who will be available to them but also their current roster and its strengths and weaknesses.

With that in mind, let's break the 12 position groups that make up the roster into four parts based on the following categories of draft needs.

We will define them this way:
  • Part 1: Negligible -- positions where there is little or no need.
  • Part 2: Non-essential -- positions where there is a need but it is not paramount to fill.
  • Part 3: Secondary -- positions where there is a need but not at the critical level.
  • Part 4: Pressing -- positions where it is imperative that help be found.

First up are the negligible needs.

10. Defensive line: Whether you count recently signed pass-rusher Julius Peppers here or as an outside linebacker, it's still a deep position with the return of nose tackle B.J. Raji (who signed a one-year contract), a pair of draft picks last season in first-rounder Datone Jones and fifth-rounder Josh Boyd, and an emerging star in Mike Daniels. If the Packers need short-term help, they could re-sign veterans Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett. That said, Thompson has never been one to pass up a big-bodied player so it wouldn't be a total shock to see him take a defensive lineman high in the draft if the right one fell into his lap.

Possible players of interest: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota; Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame; Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State; Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame.

11. Running back: This could be as deep a group as coach Mike McCarthy has had in his nine seasons thanks to reigning offensive rookie of the year Eddie Lacy plus the return of James Starks, DuJuan Harris, Johnathan Franklin and John Kuhn. The only issues here would be if Harris' knee injury that kept him out all of last season and Franklin's neck injury that ended his rookie year in November remain problematic.

Possible players of interest: None.

12. Specialists: The Packers are set at all three spots -- kicker, punter and long-snapper. Mason Crosby's bounce-back year means the Packers may not even bring another kicker to training camp. Crosby is signed through 2015. Punter Tim Masthay is signed through 2016 and snapper Brett Goode through 2015. There are no issues with either one.

Possible players of interest: None.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Since he took over as general manager of the Green Bay Packers in 2005, Ted Thompson has drafted 87 players.

Leading up to this year's draft, in which Thompson currently has nine selections, we will look at his best and worst selections in each round.

We'll start at the bottom and work our way up over the next week. After discussing the seventh round on Monday, we look at Round 6.

Total players drafted: 14.

By position: Linebackers 3, defensive tackles 2, cornerbacks 2, defensive ends 1, safeties 1, guards 1, receivers 1, running backs 1, fullbacks 1, kickers 1.

Crosby
Best pick: Mason Crosby, K.

Crosby (No. 193, 2007) had his best season last year, when he made 89.2 percent (33 of 37) of his regular-season field goals. He also made both of his postseason kicks. That followed his worst season, when he made just 63.6 percent of his field goals in 2012. Without that season, Crosby would have a career average of 81.2 percent. He still has two more years left on the five-year, $14.75 million contract he signed in 2011.

Honorable mention: James Starks, RB (No. 193, 2010), Johnny Jolly, DT (No. 183, 2006), Desmond Bishop, LB (No. 192, 2007).

Worst pick: Ricky Elmore, OLB.

The Packers tried to convert Elmore (No. 197, 2011) from a defensive end at Arizona to an outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme, but it did not work. They cut him at the end of training camp and thought so little of his potential that they did not bother even bringing him back to the practice squad.

Dishonorable mention: Craig Bragg, WR (No. 195, 2005), Brandon Underwood, CB (No. 187, 2009).

Notes: The Packers traded one of their sixth-round picks, Caleb Schlauderaff, G (No. 179, 2011) to the New York Jets for a seventh-round pick in 2012. That pick was eventually packaged in a draft-day 2012 trade with the New England Patriots so the Packers could move up in the fifth round to take LB Terrell Manning, who lasted only one season. … Tyrone Culver, S (No. 185, 2006) played one season for the Packers and was released. He went on to play 66 games for the Miami Dolphins from 2007-2012. … Among the other sixth-round picks who became contributors were D.J. Smith, LB (No. 186, 2011), Jarius Wynn, DE (No. 182, 2009) and Mike Montgomery, DT (No. 180, 2005).
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Don't count Mason Crosby among the NFL kickers outraged over the potential change on extra points.

Unlike some veteran kickers, including his NFC North counterpart in Chicago, who have voiced their displeasure over the possible change that would call for PATs to essentially become 38-yard field goals, the long-time Green Bay Packers kicker doesn't sound too bothered by it.

Crosby
"For me, I don't really have a strong opinion about it," said Crosby, who has missed just two of 350 career extra points. “It's for them to decide. I don't think it really matters. Obviously we did what we needed to do and made kicks. So they're looking at that and saying, 'You made so many kicks, let's look at an adjustment to make it more difficult.'"

Crosby said the offensive linemen who block on PATs might have a bigger problem with it.

"We've got some guys who are a little outspoken so maybe Josh Sitton and T.J. [Lang] and those guys might say something if it gets a little rough going back and forth," Crosby said. "You score inside the 10, you have to go back to the 20."

For now, the longer extra point is only on experimental basis after teams agreed last month to a two-game trial in the first two weeks of the preseason.

"The extra points, I think we're going to try that out in the preseason and see how it goes," Crosby said. "If we keep making all the extra points, who knows what they decide on? For us, we'll just start practicing that kick. It's just kind of a change of distance, a change of look. But we'll just practice it like we do any other extra point and go out and execute it if that rule gets changed."

Crosby is coming off the best season of his seven-year NFL career. He followed his worst season by making 33 of 37 regular-season field goals, including all eight from 30-39 yards. For his career, he has made 78.7 percent of his field goals, including 86.6 percent from 30-39 yards.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Sometimes, NFL players outperform their contracts.

Without tearing up those deals, there is a way for players who fit that description to earn more money. It’s called the NFL's performance-based pay distribution in which each team can allot a total of $3.46 million in additional play to its players.

It typically benefits players in their first NFL contracts or minimum-salaried free-agent signings who become key contributors.

For example, Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari, a fourth-round pick with a base salary of $405,000 last year, will receive an additional $256,882.22 in performance-based pay, according to documents obtained by ESPN.com. Bakhtiari started every game last season as a rookie. He received the largest pay increases among Packers' players. According to the NFL, those payments will be made on April 1, 2016.

The smallest distribution to a Packers' player went to backup tackle Derek Sherrod, who will receive $2,154.55. He was active for seven games but only took six snaps on offense all season.

Here’s a list of the top-10 and bottom-10 performance-based bonuses on the Packers’ roster:

Top 10
Bottom 10
Each week, I will ask for questions via Twitter with the hashtag #PackersMail and then will deliver the answers over the weekend.
 

Super XLV: Where are they now?

February, 6, 2014
Feb 6
6:30
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Exactly three years ago -- on Feb. 6, 2011 -- the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV.

Since then, much has happened to the 53 players who were on the roster for that 31-25 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Arlington, Texas.

Free agency, injuries, retirement and declining performance cause roster turnover.

Still, it’s eye-opening that from the group that suited up for the Packers’ last championship, only 12 players (just 22.6 percent) remain under contract with the team for 2014. Another 11 are still officially members of the Packers, but have contracts that expire next month. There are 13 players with other NFL teams, and 17 are out of football -- perhaps for good.

Here’s a look at the status of every player who was on the active roster three years ago today at Super Bowl XLV:

Under contract for 2014

  • [+] EnlargeAaron Rodgers
    Wesley Hitt/Getty ImagesThree years after being named MVP of Super Bowl XLV, Aaron Rodgers is still leading the Packers.
    QB Aaron Rodgers: Threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns on the way to winning the Super Bowl XLV MVP, then won the NFL MVP award the next season. Signed a five-year, $110 million contract extension last April.
  • G Josh Sitton: Started Super Bowl XLV at right guard, but moved to left guard in 2013 and was a second-team, All-Pro selection. Signed a five-year contract extension on Sept. 2, 2011 that averages $6.75 million per season.
  • T Bryan Bulaga: Started at right tackle, but moved to left tackle last offseason. A training camp knee injury ended his 2013 season, and he now enters the final year of his rookie contract.
  • G: T.J. Lang: Served as a backup, but became the starting left guard the next season. Signed a four-year contract extension on Aug. 14, 2012 that averages $5.2 million per season. Moved to right guard last season.
  • WR Jordy Nelson: Caught nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, and went on to post 1,000-yard receiving seasons in two of the next three years. Entering the final year of his contract in 2014.
  • OLB Clay Matthews: Forced a fumble in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl that the Packers recovered and turned into a touchdown to pad the lead. Four-time Pro Bowler signed a five-year, $66 million contract extension last April.
  • LB A.J. Hawk: Started and made seven tackles in the Super Bowl. Was released two months later, only to re-sign a more salary-cap friendly deal. Is under contract through 2015.
  • CB Tramon Williams: Broke up three passes in the Super Bowl, including the one that sealed the game on fourth-and-5 from the Steelers’ 33-yard line in the final minute. Entering the final year of his contract. Scheduled to make $7.5 million in 2014, and could be a candidate to be released or restructured despite a strong finish to last season.
  • K Mason Crosby: Made a 23-yard field goal in the game and signed a five-year, $14.75 million contract on July 29, 2011. Struggled in 2012, but bounced back last year to post his best season.
  • P Tim Masthay: Capped his first season with the Packers by averaging 40.5 yards and allowing the Steelers just 5 yards on punt returns in the game. Signed a four-year, $5.465 million contract extension on July 26, 2012.
  • LS Brett Goode: Has been the long snapper since 2008 and signed a three-year, $2.715 million contract extension on Oct. 13, 2012.
  • CB Jarrett Bush: Special teams player who was pressed into defensive duty in the game after injuries to Sam Shields and Charles Woodson, and intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass in the second quarter. Signed a three-year, $5.25 million contract on March 26, 2012.
Headed for free agency next month

  • RB James Starks: Started the Super Bowl and rushed for 52 yards on 11 carries. Battled injuries most of his career, and might not be re-signed.
  • WR James Jones: Caught five passes for 50 yards in the game, and signed a three-year, $9.6 million contract on Aug. 2, 2011. Caught 59 passes for a career-high 817 yards in 2013, and could be a re-signed despite his age (will turn 30 next month).
  • DT Ryan Pickett: Started the game, made two tackles and was in on the play in which Matthews forced Rashard Mendehall's fourth-quarter fumble. Played in all 16 games last season with a base salary of $5.4 million, but might be at the age (34) where the Packers let him walk.
  • DT B.J. Raji: Capped a strong 2010 postseason with a pair of tackles in the game. Finished his rookie contract in 2013, and reportedly turned down an $8 million-per-year offer last season.
  • DE C.J. Wilson: Started the game, but played only 14 snaps. Biggest impact came the night before the game, when he kept things loose in the team hotel by playing piano and leading a team sign-along. Finished his rookie contract in 2013.
  • FB John Kuhn: Played on both offense and special teams in the game. Signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract on Aug. 1, 2011.
  • CB Sam Shields: Suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter of the game. Had his best season in 2013 while playing under the restricted free agent tender of $2.023 million. Will command a big contract either from the Packers or another team in free agency.
  • LB Robert Francois: Went back and forth from the practice squad to the active roster throughout the 2010 season, and played on special teams in the game. Played last season under a one-year, $725,000 deal, but tore his Achilles tendon on Oct. 6.
  • TE Andrew Quarless: Caught one pass for 5 yards in the game. Suffered a major knee injury the next season and missed all of 2012. Returned last season to catch 32 passes for 312 yards (both career highs) in the final year of his rookie deal.
  • QB Matt Flynn: Served as Rodgers’ backup but did not play in the Super Bowl. Left after the 2011 season as a free agent, and after stints with Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo, he returned to the Packers last season for a one-year minimum deal and played in five games after Rodgers broke his collarbone.
  • C Evan Dietrich-Smith: Was inactive for the Super Bowl. Became a starter late in 2012 and for all of 2013, when he played under the restricted free agent tender of $1.323 million deal.
With other teams

  • [+] EnlargeMcCarthy
    Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsCoach Mike McCarthy and the Packers have seen a lot of roster turnover since winning Super Bowl XLV.
    WR Greg Jennings: Started and became just the third player in team history to catch multiple touchdowns in a Super Bowl by recording touchdowns of 21 and 8 yards. Signed a five-year, $45 million contract with the Vikings last March.
  • G Daryn Colledge: Started at left guard, but left in free agency a few months later to sign a five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Cardinals. Has started every game for the Cardinals since.
  • C Scott Wells: Started at center and remained with the Packers through the 2011 season before signing a four-year, $24 million contract with the Rams. Has missed 13 games over the past two seasons because of injuries.
  • LB Desmond Bishop: Became a starter earlier in 2010 after Nick Barnett's wrist injury and made nine tackles in the Super Bowl. Also recovered the fumble that Matthews forced. Signed a four-year, $19 million contract in 2011, but was released after missing the entire 2012 season because of a hamstring injury. Signed with the Vikings last offseason, but appeared in only four games.
  • OLB Frank Zombo: Started the game and had the Packers’ only sack of Roethlisberger but battled injuries the next two years and was released. Signed with the Chiefs last year and appeared in all 16 games.
  • CB Charles Woodson: Started at cornerback, but broke his collarbone late in the second quarter and missed the remainder of the game. Played two more seasons with the Packers, who released him last year. Returned to his old team, the Raiders, and played in all 16 games last season.
  • DE Cullen Jenkins: Played 36 snaps and had a pair of quarterback pressures. Left in free agency the following year and signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Eagles, who released him after two years. Signed a three-year, $8 million contract with the Giants last season.
  • TE Tom Crabtree: Played on both offense and special teams in the Super Bowl, catching one pass. Left last year to sign with the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent, but was limited to seven games because of injuries.
  • CB Josh Gordy: Was inactive for the game, and the next season was signed off the practice squad the by the Rams. Spent the past two seasons with the Colts.
  • G Nick McDonald: Was inactive for the game, like he was for every game that season. Was released in training camp the next year, and spent parts of the next two seasons with the Patriots. Did not play in 2013, but was recently signed by the Chargers.
  • OLB Erik Walden: Was inactive after suffering an ankle injury in the NFC Championship Game. Played the next two seasons before signing a four-year, $16 million contract with the Colts last year.
  • DE: Jarius Wynn: Was active but did not play. Played in Green Bay through 2011, and with the Titans and Chargers before landing with the Cowboys last season.
  • FB Quinn Johnson: Inactive for the game. Was traded to the Titans in 2011. Has played in 24 games for the Titans over the past three years.
Out of football

  • T Chad Clifton: Started at left tackle, but his long career with the Packers ended when they released him after he played in only six games in 2011. Was never signed by another team.
  • WR Donald Driver: Started the game and caught two passes for 28 yards before leaving with an ankle injury in the second quarter. Retired after the 2012 season as the team’s all-time leading receiver.
  • S Nick Collins: Started and made a key early play when he returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Suffered a neck injury in Week 2 of 2011 and hasn’t played since.
  • DT Howard Green: Claimed off waivers earlier that season and started the game. His hit on Roethlisberger led to Collins’ interception return for a touchdown. Returned in 2011 and played in all 16 games, but has not played since.
  • WR Brett Swain: Posted a team-high four special teams tackles. Was released the following season and played briefly with the 49ers. Was cut in training camp last season by the Seahawks.
  • S Atari Bigby: Played on special teams. Signed with the Seahawks the following season and played in 15 games. Played in eight games with the Chargers in 2012, but did not play in 2013.
  • CB Pat Lee: Special teams player who saw action on defense after injuries to Woodson and Shields. Played one more season in Green Bay before splitting time in 2012 between the Lions and Raiders. Did not play in 2013.
  • RB Brandon Jackson: Played as the third-down back, but did not have any carries in the game. Caught one pass for 14 yards. Signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Browns in 2011, but missed all of that season and played in only two games in 2012.
  • FB Korey Hall: Caught one pass for 2 yards and made one special teams tackle in the game. He played in 13 games with the Saints in 2011, and retired after going to camp with the Cardinals in 2012.
  • S Charlie Peprah: Led the Packers with 10 tackles (including nine solo stops). Returned as a starter in 2011, when he had five interceptions, but was released shortly before training camp in 2012. Played in five games for the Cowboys in 2012.
  • LB Diyral Briggs: Made one special teams tackle in the game, but never played in another NFL game.
  • LB Matt Wilhelm: Made two special teams tackles, but seven-year career ended after that game.
  • G Jason Spitz: Played on special teams. Left in free agency the next year and signed a three-year, $4.05 million contract with the Jaguars, who released him in training camp last summer. He signed with the Seahawks, but was released on Oct. 12.
  • TE Donald Lee: Played in the game, but did not have a catch and was released two months later. Played in nine games for the Bengals in 2001.
  • QB Graham Harrell: Inactive for the game. Remained with the Packers until he was released in training camp last summer. Also spent time briefly with the Jets before being released.
  • RB Dimitri Nance: Inactive for the game. Was released by the Packers the following summer and never played in another NFL game.
  • CB Brandon Underwood: Inactive for the game. Was released in 2011. Went to camp with the Raiders in 2012 and Cowboys in 2013, but did not make either team.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Earlier this month, we revealed our ESPN.com All-NFC North team as voted on by the four NFL Nation reporters who cover this division.

In that exercise, six Green Bay Packers were honored.

On Wednesday, ProFootballFocus.com unveiled its All-NFC North team. It also featured six members of the Packers, but it didn’t exactly match what was selected by our team of reporters.

The matches were: left guard Josh Sitton, defensive lineman Mike Daniels and cornerback Sam Shields.

However, PFF selected quarterback Aaron Rodgers, running back Eddie Lacy and receiver Jordy Nelson. None of those three made the ESPN.com team, which included outside linebacker Clay Matthews and both specialists – kicker Mason Crosby and punter Tim Masthay.

On our team, Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions was the quarterback.

In selecting Rodgers, who missed nearly half the season because of his broken collarbone, PFF’s Nathan Jahnke wrote: “There were definitely steps in the right direction made by Matthew Stafford, but it wasn’t enough to put him on the same level as Rodgers even though Rodgers missed a big part of the season. When healthy Rodgers is just too accurate a passer and for that reason he remains in his own class here.”

While PFF picked only one running back, Lacy, we selected two – Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings and Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears.

“While Adrian Peterson might be a better runner, and Matt Forte a better receiver, Eddie Lacy gets this spot for being the better all-around player,” Jahnke wrote. “Lacy was among the best runners in the league and became a larger part of the passing game as the season went on. He also was among the best pass blocking backs which is typically something rookies struggle with and also something that Peterson and Forte aren’t great at.”

Nelson got the nod as PFF’s third receiver, along with Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and Chicago’s Brandon Marshall. On our team, we selected only two receivers -- Johnson and Chicago’s Alshon Jeffery.

“Even though some teams in the NFC North often use a second tight end or fullback, it was impossible to not include at least three wide receivers,” Jahnke wrote. “While Alshon Jeffery had an incredible sophomore season, the trio of Johnson, Marshall and Nelson were three of the top four rated wide receivers this year. If a team had all three of these receivers, I don’t know how they could lose.”

PFF did not pick Matthews, who missed five games because of a broken thumb. Instead, its linebackers were DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch of the Lions (both of which were on our team) along with Minnesota’s Erin Henderson.

PFF picked Minnesota’s Blair Walsh instead of Crosby and Detroit’s Sam Martin instead of Masthay.

In all, 14 players made both our team and the one selected by PFF, which breaks down every play of every NFL game and assigns numerical ratings to every player each week.

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