New England Patriots: Stephen Gostkowski needs to get his act together

Stephen Gostkowski Patriots
Stephen Gostkowski (3) needs to pull it together. Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

Stephen Gostkowski is in a bit of hot water right now. The New England Patriots need him to pull himself together.

Since the 2015 AFC Championship Game, New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski has been an average kicker. Nothing special. In fact, he has kept the Patriots from being their best, one could argue.

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We should preface this by saying that everybody is given some leeway in terms of errors. Football players are humans; they make mistakes. From time to time, Tom Brady throws interceptions, Nate Solder misses blocks and Jamie Collins whiffs on tackles. It happens.

However, the position of kicker inherently requires that the player limits his mistakes. In essence, it is a mistake-minimizing position. Make your extra points and hit your field goals, and you’ll be all set. Start missing either of those a few times in a row, and people will notice.

After missing an extra point in the AFC Championship Game as well as two missed field goals to start the 2016 season, Gostkowski is on watch. Since last season is in the books, we’re not going to talk about Gostkowski’s costly blunder against the Denver Broncos, but we will touch on his two misses through the first four weeks.

A shutout hurts. It really does. And Gostkowski could have prevented the Patriots from producing an egg in the loss column by collecting himself and drilling that 48-yard attempt, a tough distance but very much within Gostkowski’s elite range.

The week before, Gostkowski botched a very makeable 39-yard attempt against the Dolphins, which allowed the Patriots’ divisional rivals to stay in the game. The Pats really needed Gostkowski to put the Dolphins away with three points through the uprights, but he didn’t come through.

Right now, Gostkowski is on pace to miss eight field goals, which is simply unheard of from one of the best kickers in NFL history. It’s time for Gostkowski to get his act together, or else Bill Belichick will start perusing the college ranks; Gostkowski is not immune from the Logan Mankins/Wes Welker type of decision-making by the Patriots’ brass.

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Stay tuned here on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we bring you five reasons to be excited for the return of Brady, as well as our weekly bold predictions for Sunday’s game.