Packers still uncertain about kicking situation

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 25, 2013 at 7:24 pm •  Published: August 25, 2013
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — While the Green Bay Packers may have decided on their backup quarterback, they're still uncertain about their kicking situation.

On Sunday, the Packers announced the release of incumbent No. 2 quarterback Graham Harrell, making it likely that Vince Young will open the season as Aaron Rodgers' backup.

Also, the Packers signed kicker Zach Ramirez and had him competing with Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio, who've been battling throughout camp.

"How do I feel about the kicking position? We had three kickers (on) the practice field today. I think that illustrates how exactly we feel about the kicking position," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

"There's a job available and someone needs to jump through the door and take it. That hasn't happened yet."

With a significant wind at their backs in practice, the three kickers attempted 11 kicks.

Crosby went 10 for 11, missing wide left from 53 yards. Tavecchio went 9 for 11, missing wide right from 45 and wide left from 63. Ramirez went 10 for 11, with his miss coming from 45 yards.

"This is a different situation. (But) I never question what the thoughts are upstairs," said Crosby, who made only 21 of 33 field-goal attempts last season for a league-worst 63.6 percent success rate.

"For me, it's just focus on what needs to be done. I want to make this team and I've got to keep kicking like I did today. That's all I can think about.

"But yeah, it's definitely a different a situation as far as bringing him in right at the end here. But we'll see what happens."

Ramirez, a 6-foot, 212-pound rookie out of Portland State, was an FCS first-team All-America and earned first-team All-Big Sky Conference honors after connecting on a school-record 24 field goals on 27 attempts (88.9 percent) as a junior in 2011. He was limited to six games as a senior in 2012 due to a knee injury and made 4 of 7 field goals.

Ramirez said he tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee on an extra point, the first kick of the first game of the 2012 season.

While he returned later in the year, he wasn't 100 percent.

The only NFL interest he garnered was a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks in May at the team's rookie camp, but he wasn't signed to a contract.

"I was nowhere near full strength, even two weeks after the last game. Body weight was still down, my leg still didn't feel comfortable, wasn't the same," Ramirez said.

"This is all I wanted, basically another opportunity. I went to Seattle and got my shot. They didn't like what I did, but they didn't explain too much what was wrong, it was kind of, 'Great job, we felt like this guy kicked better than you.'"

That could be the end result here, too.

McCarthy wouldn't say if he would take all three kickers into the preseason finale at Kansas City on Thursday night, but Ramirez showed enough in his workout to pique the Packers' interest.

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