In these last few years the NFL has laid a lot more emphasis on player safety, which is a good thing, no matter how much criticism these efforts draw . In some circumstances they may be taking it a bit too far. This week the NFL fined two New England Patriots players. Those players were safety Steve Gregory and place kicker Stephan Gostkowski. Both were fined $ 15,750 for unnecessary roughness calls for illegal tackles in the game against the Houston Texans last Sunday. Steve Gregory´s fine is understandable as he did launch himself into defenseless receivers head, but to fine a kicker for a horse collar is definitely an unnecessary fine. Gostkowski just got a hold Daniel Manning jersey and pulled him backwards which is illegal and the Texans were given a 15 yard penalty for it, but a fine is too excessive of a punishment for a kicker who seemed to almost have gotten hurt on that play. The only other time I have heard of a kicker being fined for unnecessary roughness was when Jay Feely got fined back in 2010 for a late hit. I think protecting the players is definitely a good idea but the NFL should not go too far.
During a press conference that Bill Belichick held on Friday, he spoke extremely highly of special teams specialist and captain Matthew Slater. He even compared him to Larry Izzo, one of the best non-kicking special teams players of all time. An example of what Belichick said was “He’s tremendous. His attitude, his work ethic, the example that he sets, the way he interacts with his teammates in a really good way. I don’t know that a player could do anymore than what he’s done for us.” It is quite rare to hear Belichick say that such applauding words about one of his own players. Otherwise he usually speaks very highly about opposing teams players like he did again this week about the entire Ravens team and especially Ray Lewis. These words will hopefully give Slater and the rest of the Patriots special teams squad a boost after last week terrible performance.