Gostkowski: 'I'm not afraid to fail'


Gostkowski: 'I'm not afraid to fail'

FOXBORO -- If a kicker is accurate in his work, you probably won't remember him. Specialists have to do something tremendously heroic, like win a couple Super Bowls, to really become famous. Otherwise, they simply try to avoid infamy.
Stephen Gostkowski addressed quite a crowd, probably the biggest of his career, after New England's 20-18 loss to Arizona on Sunday.
Because he missed one field goal out of five. The game-winner.
"Had a good game up until that point and I felt good going out there," he said of the final kick. "It's just one of those things where you get opportunities like that not very often and I've got to do a lot better job of coming through for the team. It came down to me and I didn't pull through. And it stinks, and I feel bad for my fans and my teammates. I can't take it back now. I went out and felt good about the kick, I just didn't execute."
Gostkowski's chance came with five seconds remaining in the game. Arizona was up 20-18 and had just one minute to kill before flying home with the upset. But the Patriots defense came through. Brandon Spikes knocked the ball loose from Cardinals running back Ryan Williams to regain possession. Tom Brady managed to get Gostkowski on the Arizona 24.
42 yards was all they needed. Patriots fans were going wild. The win was one boot away from soaring into the bag; Gostkowski was ready.
"I felt good going out there," he said. "It wasn't the smoothest hit and I looked up and saw it was left and I was like."
Here, he hung his head.
"Sometimes the ball doesn't fly your way. There's probably not another game where I'd be more confident going out for a kick like that. And it humbles you really quick."
The kicker fell far.
For three quarters Gostkowski was the only Patriot who could score. The guy was booming kicks during warmups, splitting the uprights from 58-yards out with room to spare. During the game he hit from 46, 34, 51, and 53 yards.
Turns out, the early efficiency doesn't mean much. Gostkowski said sometimes a kicker can indeed get in a rhythm, find a zone. But every kick is different. A golden leg two hours before the first snap doesn't guarantee three points when the final score is suddenly resting on your shoulders.
Which is something Gostkowski reconciled long ago.
"I'm not scared to fail," he said evenly. "It stinks when you do, but I wouldn't go out there every day if I was scared to screw up. I'll feel bad about this for a couple days. I'm sure I'll get ripped for it by the fans and stuff, and it's well deserved. My teammates have my back. Nobody feels worse about missing a kick than I do.
"You just have to move on, get over it It's the good ones you get over; it's the bad games that last a while. If I let this affect me negatively, I'm not doing my job. "

Morning Skate: Predators kicking it into gear


Morning Skate: Predators kicking it into gear

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while anticpating the turkey leftovers, ready for the taking.
-- NHL referee Wes McCauley is at it again, this time going with a fun no-goal call after having some trouble with his microphone.
-- After getting humbled on Opening Night by the Bruins, the Nashville Predators are starting to get on a roll.

-- NBC Pro Hockey Talk has Kyle Turris excelling for the Predators, and Matt Duchene very much still stuck in neutral for the Ottawa Senators.

-- NHL stars go through their favorite traditions, and what they enjoy is a game that’s full of routine, superstition and tradition.
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro says “it looks rotten” with the Edmonton Oilers as they continue to struggle out of the starting gate.
-- Larry Brooks goes through an all-time ranking of the general managers for the New York Rangers, and it’s an illustrious list.

-- The Vegas Golden Knights could make the playoffs in their very first season, and are absolutely far ahead of expectations for a new expansion team.
-- For something completely different: Wild turkeys are making a major comeback in Massachusetts after being all but extinct here.

Belichick says there are more former Patriots throughout rest of NFL than other teams


Belichick says there are more former Patriots throughout rest of NFL than other teams

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will see some familiar faces Sunday when they play the Dolphins and former New England interior lineman Ted Larsen. 

Then again, a suddenly interesting Bill Belichick noted Friday, the Patriots are used to seeing their players of seasons past end up elsewhere. In his estimation, the Patriots see their former players stay in the league moreso than most other organizations. 

“There’s 70-something guys in the league like that that have been here and are playing for somebody else, or whatever the number is,” Belichick said when asked about facing Larsen. “It’s a lot. Seventy to 90, somewhere in there, depending on how you want to count the practice-squad players and today’s waiver wire vs. yesterday’s waiver wire. There’s a lot of guys out there. It’s one of the highest numbers in the league.”

Asked to clarify, Belichick responded, “I think we have more [former] players that are playing on other teams than other teams [do], or one of them. I don’t know if we’re the highest. We’re one of the highest; I can tell you that. We’re up there pretty high, but it depends on how you want to count them: starters, roster players, IR, practice squad. You can run the list that you run and count them up how you want to count them up, but we’d be up there pretty high.”

Belichick loosely estimated that there might be an average of three former Pats per team in the NFL. Of course, the actual number varies from team to team, with the Colts’ roster essentially looking like a Patriots museum. 
Interestingly enough, the question of the total number was explored this offseason by Pats Pulpit, who determined in May that there were 91 former Patriots on other rosters.