The New England Patriots worked out three well-known kickers yesterday, in what was certainly an interesting development for the team. Graham Gano, Billy Cundiff, and Neil Rackers all traveled to New England and will likely be on the emergency list for the Patriots in case Stephen Gostkowski struggles.
It’s a bit unnerving to see that the Pats are bringing in other kickers. I love Billy Cundiff, because he missed that crucial field goal against the Baltimore Ravens. Just kidding. He’s honestly one of my favorite kickers because he’s extremely powerful and is actually a good player. It’s just that he was treated poorly by the Washington Redskins organization, and he’s a great kicker who deserves a roster spot.
But he doesn’t deserve a roster spot on the Patriots. I like that the Pats are thinking of some just-in-case options, but I don’t like the fact that it puts more pressure on Gostkowski. He’s better than all three of the guys brought in for a workout, and he’s certainly superior to Gano.
Here’s the good part. Gano beat Rackers for the Redskins kicking gig this offseason, and then Washington signed up Cundiff after the Ravens cut him. Gano and Rackers are not worthy options, and Cundiff isn’t better than Gostkowski either.
I’m one of those people who believes that accurate, elite kickers like Gostkowski needed to be treated like the key players they are. This kind of stuff is only going to hurt his confidence, even if it’s just workouts for an emergency list. It’s because that a so-called emergency list is made in case of this “emergency”: the starting kicker flops. In a way, trying out these three veterans is a way of showing a lack of confidence in Gostkowski.
17 for 20, 85%. That’s Gostkowski’s field goal breakdown this season, and he is a career 84.5% kicker. Yeah, he’s our guy, and I hope he knows it so that this doesn’t affect his morale going forward. The worst thing that can happen to a kicker is a loss of self-esteem, especially when the organization shows a sign of distrusting him. Just look at what has happened to other top kickers such as Nate Kaeding and Billy Cundiff.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.