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Around The AFC East: New England Patriots

It's Friday, which means it is once again time to go "around the AFC East."

Kicking things off first is "Marima," a member of the Pats Pulpit community who is filling in for "MaPatsFan" this week.  Below is her response to my question.  So go easy on her - it's her first time:

Matty I:  I know people don't like to talk about kickers, but I'm not like most people.  You've now gotten to see Stephen Gostkowski for 2 full seasons.  He's only connected on 82% of his kicks and just 72% (21/29) from beyond 30 yards.  Does this concern you at all and how much longer will the coaching staff put up with his inconsistency before looking to move in a different direction?

Marima:  Having won three Super Bowls by three points each; the importance of having a reliable, consistent, cold-blooded kicker isn’t lost on the Patriots or their fans.  Obviously we hit the jackpot before with Adam Vinatieri and now I earnestly believe we have one in the making with Stephen Gostkowski.

Before you clobber me with the homer-hammer, compare Gostkowski’s first two years with Vinatieri’s first two and you’ll agree that I’m not out of bounds here at all.  True, as a rookie in ’06 he struggled early on but finished strong, making all eight field goal kicks in the playoffs when the pressure was higher. Gostkowski’s rookie stats, (20/26 76.9%) were similar to Vinatieri’s (27 /35 77.1%), and in their 2nd years Gostkowski (21/24 87.5%) bested Vinatieri (25/29 86.2%). 

The thing to note is how much his percentage improved in one year and that’s what gives me confidence.  The coaching staff has expressed complete support in him and backed it up by not bringing anyone in to compete for the job.  He definitely has a strong foot, registering the longest field goal ever at Gillette Stadium – a 52-yarder against Chicago, as well as the longest field goal in Patriots playoff history when he nailed a 50-yarder in San Diego.  He’s not afraid to tackle either, and you know how huge that is to winning fan and player loyalty.  Now I’m not saying he is Vinatieri, but we won’t know that until there’s a Super Bowl on the line with 3 seconds to go and the game is tied…

My Take: I can't say I'm as confident about this as she is.  But she makes a strong case in favor of Gostkowski, so I'll just take a wait and see approach. 

Great job by "Marima" in her first time taking part in this and a big thanks goes out to her.

And be sure to head over to Pats Pulpit to see my response to her question.

Back with part 2 in a bit...