Do Strong-Legged Kickers Have a Real Advantage in the NFL

Mason Crosby Strong LegMcCarthy has been giving Mason Crosby more than ample time to overcome… whatever it is that Mason needs to overcome.

One of the reasons McCarthy continues to be positive about Mason is that he has such a strong leg. He went out of his way to point out that Mason gets more height on his field goal kicks than Tavecchio.

But just how important is a strong leg for a field goal kicker? I’m re-thinking that question.

Leg Strength in Kicking

Leg strength is good for a couple things. It gives us the confidence to kick from farther away and allows a kicker to get his kicks higher off the turf and still hit from a good distance. This is great when trying 50+ yard field goals, but it also comes in handy in the 20-40 yard range as well because the kicks are high enough to avoid getting blocked.

In all honesty, to-date, I’ve never really given a hoot about Mason’s leg strength when it comes to getting the ball high enough to avoid having it blocked. Of course, I never want to see our kicks blocked, but the real reason I love Mason’s leg strength is the idea that we could get him in range with just a few first downs.

Still, leg strength is only good if you’re hitting from that distance. If you can kick it into the stands from 60 yards out but can’t get it between the uprights, what’s the point, right?

Consistency

Last season Mason hit 100% of his field goals inside 30 yards. No need for leg strength there. If we move to field goals in the 30-39 yard range or 40-49 yard range, leg strength is beginning to become a factor. Mason hit 75% of his field goals in both those ranges last season.

In other words, one out of every four kicks in those ranges didn’t turn into points. That hurts.

All of that brings us to the 50+ yard field goals that should be Mason’s bread and butter if leg strength is taken into consideration. In 2012 Crosby connected on 22.2% of his field goals from that distance. If memory serves, they all had plenty of distance, but just plain missed.

What Would Mike Do

I think Mike has backed Mason about as long as he can. He’s now looking for a replacement. (Whether that’s Tavecchio or not is yet to be seen.) Trying Mastay on kickoffs indicates that he’s willing to sacrifice the leg strength that comes in handy on kickoffs for accuracy on field goals and let our punter handle kickoff duty.

Here’s hoping he finds that accuracy and soon.


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