"Joe Lewis: Stephen Gostkowski has missed three kicks already this season. Is it just a slump, or perhaps a symptom of a deeper problem?"
James Caughlin: It definitely seems like the misses are now in his head. The downside of being a kicker is if you miss a crucial attempt, there’s no guarantee about when you will be able to go back out there and rectify the problem and we all know kickers can be a bit funny from time to time. I don’t think the problem is permanent (yet) but it is something to monitor. Of course he could realistically go out and hit two 45+ yard game winners in the next two games and things will be fine. One thing to remember is the way he has adapted to the new kickoff rules is great which to me suggests it could be a mechanics thing as he has changed his swing a little bit.
Connor Fulton: You have to think that the mental part of Gostkowski’s game is hurting after missing four field goals dating back to the AFC Championship Game. For a kicker, when your confidence is shaky, that’s bad news. It’s not too early for the Patriots to start scouting the college ranks as insurance against Gostkowski slumping even more. Gostkowski may be one of the best kickers of all-time, but he’s not immune from the Logan Mankins/Wes Welker type of decision that Bill Belichick wastes no time making.
Hal Bent: I’m going with just a slump at this point. He has been so good for so long that perfection is just impossible to maintain. This may actually be a good thing for Gostkowski. The past two years he was so close to perfect that when the postseason rolled around he was overdue to make a mistake: That was when the missed extra point happened in the AFC Championship game. He’s been pushing right–a mechanical issue. He has been fine on kickoffs so it seems to be just a mechanical slump. This year he can get the yips out of the way early in September and October and get back on track in time for the stretch run and the playoffs. Gostkowski has–other than having to make big game kicks–been almost seamless in the transition from Adam Vinatieri ten years ago. There is no reason based on his track record that he cannot pull out of this slump and put up another five or more years of high production.
Next: James ponders RB snap counts