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Crosby challenged for Packers' kicking job

The SportsXchange

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The first kicking competition in Green Bay since Mason Crosby broke into the NFL as a Packers draft pick in 2007 is on.

The Packers' first day of minicamp on Tuesday featured a field goal segment involving Crosby and young challenger Giorgio Tavecchio.

Both kickers didn't miss in the abbreviated showdown, each making attempts from 38, 43 and 50-plus yards with practice held inside the Don Hutson Center because of rain.

"It was good to kick today, and they kicked very well today," coach Mike McCarthy said afterward.

McCarthy added the plan would stay the same for Crosby and Tavecchio to go toe to toe in what's left of the minicamp this week, the final week of organized team activities next week and likely going into training camp in late July.

The Packers signed Tavecchio, a first-year player out of Cal, early in the offseason after Crosby endured his worst season as a pro.

Crosby made a league-worst 63.6 percent (21 of 33) of his field goal attempts in the regular season.

The seventh-year veteran welcomes the challenge from the unheralded Tavecchio, who made just 75 percent of his field goal tries in college and lost a preseason battle to David Akers with the San Francisco 49ers last year.

"I was excited about the competition," Crosby said. "It's not a bad thing to see a guy there kicking next to you every day, seeing what he does well.

"He's working hard and doing his thing," Crosby added about Tavecchio. "Our relationship has been great. He's a good guy, and it makes it easy to get along with. So that's nice. There is never going to be any bad stuff between us."

Punter Tim Masthay has an unenviable moonlighting gig as long as Crosby and Tavecchio are both on the roster. Masthay is the holder on kicks and has to alternate his setup spots on the field for receiving the long snap from Brett Goode to accommodate the right-footed Crosby and the left-footed Tavecchio.

"Tim, he'll get quicker with it," McCarthy said. "It's not the first time it's ever happened. It's all part of training. That group is very diligent. I don't think it'll be an issue, at all."

-- The Packers had 10 players sidelined for the start of minicamp.

Still not cleared for on-field drills as they recover from injuries that kept them out for a part of or all of last season are linebacker Desmond Bishop (hamstring), cornerback Davon House (shoulder), offensive tackle Derek Sherrod (leg), defensive end Jerel Worthy (knee) and safety Sean Richardson (neck).

Veteran defensive lineman Ryan Pickett and running back DuJuan Harris also have been held out of spring workouts thus far for unknown reasons.

McCarthy wouldn't say whether any of the non-participants, particularly Bishop, who is fully recovered from the injury that he sustained last August, would be on the field before the end of the spring program or not until training camp.

"I don't have the answer for you," McCarthy said. "And, really for the injuries, guys are progressing, and that's kind of where we are."

Jarrett Boykin, who figured to have the inside track on the No. 4 receiver job after contributing as an undrafted rookie last season, also didn't practice on Tuesday after dropping out of a session in organized team activities last week with an apparent leg injury.

For the final minicamp day on Thursday, McCarthy is sticking to the tradition of having some sort of team-bonding activity.

Green Bay wraps up its spring workouts June 11-14 with a final week of OTAs. The June 11 session is the last one scheduled to be open to the public until training camp.
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