GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers are getting their field-goal kicking band back together. Or at least, most of it. Maybe Tim Masthay should make sure his iPhone is charged.
In the wake of kicker Mason Crosby’s struggles during the team’s Family Night practice on Aug. 5, the Packers re-signed veteran long-snapper Brett Goode on Saturday. Goode took the open roster spot created by the release of veteran defensive lineman Letroy Guion last week.
Goode joins undrafted rookie free agent long-snapper Derek Hart and punter/holder Justin Vogel, who were part of the operation when Crosby made just 5 of 11 attempts on Family Night. The operation appeared to go more smoothly during Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, as Crosby kicked a 39-yard field goal and made all three of his extra-point attempts, but the Packers still decided to add Goode, who had been their full-time long-snapper since joining the team in 2008.
It appears the team will let Hart compete with Goode in the remaining three-plus weeks of training camp, but it’s hard to imagine the Packers bringing Goode back and not intending for him to be the guy.
Goode, who suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the 2015 season, remained unsigned last year until just before the team’s regular-season opener, as Rick Lovato, who’d replaced him for the remainder of the 2015 season, held the job. Goode then came in and handled all the snaps last season, when Crosby made 26 of 30 regular-season attempts (86.7 percent) and drilled a 51-yard game-winning field goal to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional playoffs and send the Packers to the NFC Championship Game.
“Everybody was excited about the kick – and I was and (Crosby) was – but the first guy I went to was Brett,” Packers special teams coach Ron Zook said last week. “Because you know this: You know they're coming (to block it). And then the protection, it's a team game. Eleven guys have to do their job. If one guy doesn't do their job, if the snap's not on, if the hold's not down, if the kick is not right, if the linemen don't block ... .”
The Packers now know what can happen, which is why Goode is back. Vogel remains the holder, as the team cut Masthay near the end of training camp last year in favor of Jake Schum, whom they waived/injured during the offseason.
Goode, who worked out for the Jets last week and whose wife, Monica, gave birth to the couple’s second child last week as well, figures to be at practice Sunday, when the Packers will hold a closed session that will focus on the Seattle Seahawks, the team’s opponent in the Sept. 10 regular-season opener.
Last year, the 32-year-old Goode signed a one-year minimum-salary deal worth $885,000, but it counted only $600,000 against the salary cap. Hart is scheduled to make $465,000 this season if he makes the team. Goode reportedly worked out last week for the New York Jets, which might’ve spurred the Packers decision to bring him back.
Asked after Thursday’s 24-9 win over the Eagles why the kicking operation looked better than it did on Family Night, Crosby replied, “The snap, the hold – we work in sync. But I think I was worrying about all that a little too much. I just made sure that I slowed myself down and looked into what I could control and make sure that I'm sound with everything I'm doing every time I go to the ball.”