Packers' Anders Carlson Follows Brother's Advice As He Tries To Bounce Back From Tough Rookie Season

Green Bay Packers' Anders Carlson kicks during an NFL football practice session Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Green Bay Packers' Anders Carlson kicks during an NFL football practice session Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers kicker Anders Carlson hopes to follow his older brother’s example by having a productive NFL career despite struggling as a rookie.

Along the way, he’s paying attention to the message he’s received from his sibling: Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson.

“Just be who I am, stay the course,” the Packers second-year player said. “That’s the biggest thing.”

The Packers selected Carlson out of Auburn in the sixth round of the 2023 draft to replace Mason Crosby, who had kicked for Green Bay since 2007 and set the franchise’s career scoring record.

Carlson responded with an inconsistent rookie season that included missing a 41-yard field goal in the fourth quarter of a 24-21 NFC divisional playoff loss at San Francisco. He’s battling to keep his job after the Packers signed former Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph and Jack Podlesny.

“It’s about embracing it and enjoying it,” Carlson said. “I love being competitive, whether it’s football, ping pong or anything.”

As the Packers concluded their minicamp Wednesday, coach Matt LaFleur said it’s uncertain whether all three kickers will remain with the team for the start of training camp. LaFleur added that Carlson’s “had a pretty solid spring.”

“I think all these guys have kind of had their moments, but I think particularly of late, he’s done a really nice job,” LaFleur said.

Carlson went 27 of 33 on field goals during the regular season in 2023, but was just 7 of 13 from at least 40 yards. He was 34 of 39 on extra-point attempts and missed the most PATs of any kicker.

He missed another extra point in a wild-card victory at Dallas. One week later, the Packers were clinging to a 21-17 lead when Carlson sent a 41-yard field goal wide left with 6:18 remaining. The 49ers drove 69 yards on their ensuing possession and scored a go-ahead touchdown with 1:07 left.

“The biggest thing that the coaches told me to focus on was just don’t focus on the one kick — focus on the season,” Carlson said. “Focus on everything you can build off of and focus on everything you can improve.”

Carlson’s older brother can relate.

Daniel Carlson also played at Auburn before going to the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round of the 2018 draft. In his second game with the Vikings, Carlson missed three field-goal attempts in a 29-29 tie with the Packers. The Vikings cut him one day later.

He joined the Raiders later that season and made the All-Pro team in 2022. The Carlsons trained together at Auburn during the offseason.

“I think as a rookie in any position, there’s a lot of mistakes made, rookie mistakes,” Daniel Carlson said. “You’re learning in any position, but as a kicker, you are the starter and you’re held to a different standard I think sometimes, whereas like other positions maybe you get a little learning curve.”

Daniel Carlson noted that just a handful of kicks can separate a good season from a bad season.

“Just any football player in general, you’ve got to prove to yourself that you’re confident and you deserve to be there,” the Raiders kicker said. “And then you can prove it to your teammates and then your coaches and then fans, it can trickle down. But you’ve got to prove that to yourself first.

“And it’s easy obviously when things are going well. But when things are tough, like that’s when I feel like you really learn about like, ‘All right, what do I need to do to take that next step to gain that confidence over an 18-week season, which feels like an eternity sometimes.”

Anders Carlson has been trying to figure out what can help him take that step.

As he looked back on his rookie season, Anders Carlson discovered many of his missed field-goal attempts went left when the wind was blowing right to left. He believes he has a better understanding of Green Bay’s wind patterns now.

Carlson says he writes notes every day tracking his progress, something he’s done since his years at Auburn.

“It’s just a good way to kind of let the good things keep rolling,” Carlson said. “And if there’s a bad thing or a bad kick, write down what you learned from it.”

And he’s also continuing to learn from his brother.

“He talked about his rookie year and things he’s learned from that,” Carlson said. “I think I have a lot to learn as well. It’s about learning from it, but also just kind of moving on and focusing on where you’re at now, being present where you’re at.”


AP Sports Writer Mark Anderson contributed to this report.