Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski acknowedged after Sunday's game that he's not playing up to his standards.
After a missing a 50-yard field goal and making a 31-yarder against the Browns in New England's 33-13 win, Gostkowski is now 7-of-10 on field-goal tries this season, and he's missed three in his team's last four games. At the moment, Gostkowski ranks 28th among kickers in the NFL with a 70 percent conversion rate, and by comparison to his All-Pro 2015 campaign, when he made 37-of-40 kicks, the early part of this year has represented a noticeable drop-off.
"I pushed a kick," Gostkowski told the Boston Herald on Sunday. "I wish I could have it back, but I don’t. We won, and it was fun, did a good job with the kickoffs, gave the guys a good chance (to make a tackle). So I just need to keep leaning toward the positives and not dwelling on the negatives. I’m obviously not playing up to my standards, but there’s a new shot next week."
Bill Belichick also chose to focus on the positive when asked about his veteran kicker during a conference call on Monday.
"Steve's one of our hardest working players," Belichick said. "I'd say [he's] one of the most respected players on the team because of the way he does work and becaause of how team-ortiented he is. Whatever we've asked him to do -- the training things or kickoffs or however situations are done on field goals . . . He's had multiple holders and snappers over the course of his career. He's done a great job of working with those guys, and just working to make the operation better and more consistent. We'll keep doing that. Just like we do with everything else in our program."