Green Bay Packers

Competing With Greg Joseph Could Push Anders Carlson To Reach the Next Level

Photo Credit: Tork Mason-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the Green Bay Packers signed former Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph. Some fans were shocked because the Packers used a sixth-round pick on Anders Carlson just last year. However, having multiple kickers will open up a kicking competition in the offseason, potentially improving their skills.

After the 2022 season, the Packers moved on from longtime kicker Mason Crosby and drafted Carlson out of Auburn with the 207th-overall pick. Carlson made long field goals throughout the season but struggled with shorter kicks and extra points.

In Week 1, Carlson nailed a 52-yard field goal right down the middle against the Chicago Bears. He also made a 53-yard kick against the Carolina Panthers in Week 16. He can accurately kick long field goals. But, for some reason, he struggles from shorter distances.

Carlson made 81.8% of his field goal attempts last year, which ranks 29th out of 32 NFL kickers. His converted extra point rate was 87.2%, which ranked dead last in the league.

Anders’ older brother, Daniel Carlson, also had trouble kicking short field goals with the Minnesota Vikings a few years ago. In a game against the Packers in Week 2 of the 2018 season, he missed three field goals that would’ve won the game for Minnesota. Instead, the game ended in a 29-29 tie. (It would ultimately cause Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer to send Daniel packing; he would turn out to be a stalwart for the Las Vegas Raiders.)

Gutekunst signed Joseph in the offseason to create a kicking competition for Anders Carlson. Unlike Carlson, Joseph has hit clutch field goals recently. In 2022, he beat the New York Giants on a 61-yard walk-off field goal.

But Joseph has also struggled of late. After that Giants game, the Vikings traveled to Lambeau Field in Week 17, and Joseph missed two field goals before the end of the first half. Of course, that’s only one game in a career that has been pretty successful so far. He averages a field goal accuracy percentage of 82.6%.

With Joseph in Green Bay, Carlson must leave his comfort zone and compete. During the kicking competition, he will deal with adversity, discipline, confidence, and improved accuracy when the regular season rolls around.

Carlson and Joseph are good enough to be starting kickers in the NFL. By bringing them in, Green Bay shows that they’re committed to addressing their kicking woes.

The Packers have had stability at kicker for most of the recent past, although Crosby had struggled with accuracy. In 2012, he only made 63.6% of his field goal attempts. He also made only one of five attempts against the Detroit Lions in 2018 and missed an extra point, and the Packers lost 31-23.

But that’s only one season and one additional game in Crosby’s immaculate career, and he will one day end up with his name in Green Bay’s Ring of Honor. Therefore, Carlson shouldn’t feel like Green Bay is looking to replace him this early. Matt LaFleur is not Mike Zimmer. They just want to push him so that he develops the drive to prove himself to the team, the fans, and probably himself.

Even if Joseph does win the competition, the Packers will have a proven kicker with experience making long field goals and winning games. If Carlson remains the starting kicker, he has proven himself to the team and should be much more accurate than in 2023.

The Packers were very close to beating the San Francisco 49ers last year, but some issues with kicking and field goals cost them an opportunity to advance to the NFC Championship game. If Green Bay is as good next year as people expect it to be and has improved field goal kicking, it might become unstoppable.

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