Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers place kicker Anders Carlson (17) kicks a field goal against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Packers Coach Gets Brutally Honest About Rookie Kicker

The Green Bay Packers may not have advanced to the NFC Championship Game, but they gave the San Francisco 49ers everything they could handle in their Divisional Round matchup. To defeat a team as good as the 49ers, you need to be clicking on all cylinders. Unfortunately for the Packers, that was not the case late in the game.

For a team as young as Green Bay, heading on the road for a playoff game could be intimidating. The lights certainly didn’t look too bright for the team, but their youthfulness was showing during their late-game execution.

An interception on an ill-advised throw over the middle of the field by Jordan Love ended their season. But, that wasn’t the only miscue, as a missed 41-yard field goal by rookie Anders Carlson set up the game-winning drive for the 49ers.

NFL NEWS & RUMORS: Matt LaFleur, Anders Carlson, Green Bay Packers Updates

A successful attempt would have given the Packers a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter. Instead, Carlson missed, the team remained at four and San Francisco went down the field for the game-winning score, winning 24-21.

Could Love have been feeling some pressure to get the team into the end zone and not rely on Carlson to have to make a kick? That is certainly possible, especially if the sentiment of Packers’ head coach Matt LaFleur was felt amongst his team.

Sideline reported Tom Rinaldi offered up a paraphrased quote from LaFleur, which revealed that Green Bay doesn’t have much confidence in their kicker. They rely on a higher power to bring Carlson success on the field.

“What a report from Tom Rinaldi recounting Matt LaFleur talking about Packers kicker Anders Carlson: ‘When he goes out there, I just pray.’” Rinaldi shared, via Rachel Nichols of FOX Sports and MLFootball on X, formerly Twitter.

That certainly isn’t a ringing endorsement for Carlson from the Packers’ head coach. LaFleur most not have prayed hard enough before that attempt, as it leaked out wide left and played a part in the team coming up short.

While Carlson possesses a huge leg, accuracy is something he has struggled with since turning a pro. During training and preseason he had some struggles, but they looked to be ironed out early in the regular season.

NFL NEWS & RUMORS: Matt LaFleur, Anders Carlson, Green Bay Packers Updates

Carlson nailed his first 17 field goals and extra point attempts in his rookie season, but some struggles set in after that. After making his first seven field goals, he went 20-of-26 to finish the regular season and 2-of-3 against San Francisco. 

On extra points, he made his first 15, but finished the season going 19-of-24. In the final five Packers games of the season, including the playoffs, Carlson missed at least one kick in every game.

It will be interesting to see what the team does at the kicker position in the offseason. The Packers used a sixth-round pick on him to replace long-time kicker Mason Crosby. At the very least, Carlson could face competition heading into Year 2.

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