The Packers made the tiniest of free agent splashes this week when they brought on kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, presumably to compete with Mason Crosby. Tavecchio is a Cal grad and connected on 75% of his field goals (48/64) while there.
On a non-serious note, it’s nice that the Packers can help continue the legacy of tiny, foreign kickers begun by Garo Yepremian and carried on by Bill and Martin Gramatica. Handshakes and high fives all around there. The only disappointing thing about Tavecchio is he doesn’t speak with an Italian accent. It would have been awesome to hear him say ” I’ma SO excited to kicka da field goals at the futbol stadium!”
On a more serious note, though, it’s hard to determine exactly how committed the Packers are to offering competition to Crosby. They’d probably like to keep their incumbent kicker around, past struggles aside, as they simply know him better and understand what he’s capable of doing when he’s right. Tavecchio, or any other young player, for that matter, doesn’t have the high level experience Crosby does, and it’s uncertain exactly how he’d respond in pressure situations.
That said, Tavecchio may have a high ceiling. In a game in Colorado (take that with a grain of salt), he booted four touchbacks, a field goal, and three extra points, as documented here:
After he kicked four field goals against Arizona State, he answered a bunch of questions from the media.
The Cal athletic department also made this nifty little video for Mr. Tavecchio:
They also sat down with Tavecchio for a brief conversation during his senior season.
Tavecchio was in training camp with the 49ers last year, and kicked at least one field goal against the Vikings.
So does bringing on a kicker in March really mean anything? Probably not, but on the outside chance that Crosby bombs in training camp this year, it’s possible that the Packers just signed his replacement.