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Thursday, October 1, 2015

New England Patriots Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

   
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October 1, 2015 - kicker Stephen Gostkowski named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month
"With all of the points the New England Patriots are putting up, kicker Stephen Gostkowski has been challenged frequently to drill the new 33-yard extra point. As he's done throughout his career, Gostkowski has converted with ease, making all 14 extra points and seven field goal attempts. He leads the NFL in points with 35, and after getting off to a great start in 2015, Gostkowski was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September. It's the third time Gostkowski has won the award." - Fox Sports

September 27, 2015 - kicker Stephen Gostkowski breaks Matt Stover's NFL record
"Stephen Gostkowski’s near-decade of perfection with extra points has carried him into the NFL record books. The Patriots kicker booted his 423rd straight successful point after touchdown on Sunday against the Jaguars to set a new NFL mark. Gostkowski broke the record previously held by Matt Stover. ostkowski, who is 12-for-12 on PATs this season, has only missed one extra point in his career. It came in his rookie season in 2006." - Boston Herald

July 25, 2015 - punter Ryan Allen signs 3-year extension
"Ryan Allen has signed a three-year extension that takes him through the 2018 season. Allen, an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech, has the option to renegotiate after two seasons, according to The Boston Globe. The move comes 10 days after the Patriots signed Stephen Gostkowski to an extension that made him the highest-paid kicker in the NFL. Allen, 25, has been a steady performer in two seasons with the Patriots, averaging 46.1 yards per punt with a net average of 40.2. He put 25 of his 66 punts last regular season inside the 20." - NFL


July 15, 2015 - kicker Stephen Gostkowski signs 4-year deal
"The Patriots inked their dependable special teams ace to a four-year deal worth $17.2 million, including a $6 million signing bonus. Gostkowski was flying securely under the radar as a franchise tag player rubbing up against Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline to strike a long-term deal. The 31-year-old hit 86.8 percent of his field goals over an eight-year career so far, but his previous two seasons -- 92.7 percent and 94.6 percent -- were his best." - NFL

June 4, 2015 - rookie long snapper Joe Cardona signs contract
"Cardona's signing is merely a formality, and it's not related to the resolution of his situation with the Navy, according to a source. As of now, that is still unresolved. The Navy still has to decide whether to clear Cardona to play for the Patriots in 2015. There is no timeline for that decision." - Boston Herald

May 5, 2015 - long snapper Tyler Ott released
"Ott, 23, originally signed with the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Harvard on May 16, 2014, and was released on Aug. 18. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder, re-signed with the Patriots on March 6, 2015. Ott handled long snapping duties and saw action at tight end during his college career, finishing with 16 receptions for 194 yards and four touchdowns." - Patriots

May 2, 2015 - long snapper Joe Cardona drafted
"In one of the more Bill Belichick-ian moves of all time, the New England Patriots selected a long snapper out of Navy in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Patriots drafted Joe Cardona with the 166th overall pick. Cardona was the lone long snapper invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, where he ran a 4.91-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-2, 242 pounds. Cardona is the first Navy player drafted in 20 years." - NESN
 
March 6, 2015 - kicker Stephen Gostkowski signs franchise tender
"The Patriots officially have their all-time leading scorer under contract for the 2015 season.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski signed his franchise tender today, according to a source, so teams can no longer attempt to woo him out of New England. Of course, the chances were slim to none of a competing team forking over a pair of first-round picks for a kicker, but now it's official. Gostkowski will earn a fully guaranteed $4.59 million in 2015, but the two sides have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal." - Boston Herald

March 4, 2015 - long snapper Tyler Ott re-signed
"[Potential free agents] list also includes long-snapper Danny Aiken. It comes as no real surprise then that the Patriots added to that position on Wednesday by re-signing Tyler Ott. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound former Harvard long-snapper was in New England for parts of last year's training camp, and was released on August 18. Ott did not catch on with any other club and did not snap in the NFL last season. Aiken has been the team's long-snapper for every game but one since signing with the Patriots as a rookie out of the University of Virginia in 2011; Rob Ninkovich served as the team's snapper in a loss to the Packers last season after Aiken suffered a concussion against the Lions the week prior." - CSNNE

March 2, 2015 - kicker Stephen Gostkowski franchise tagged
The Patriots have applied the franchise tag on kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The Patriots drafted Gostkowski in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL draft to replace Super Bowl hero Adam Vinatieri. Gostkowski has filled those shoes well over his nine seasons in New England, hitting 243 of his 280 field goal attempts, and is just 20 shy of Vinatieri’s franchise record. The franchise tag will pay him $4.1 million in 2015. This past season, Gostkowski successfully kicked 35 of his 37 field-goal attempts, good for a career-high 94.6 percent success rate. He was not called upon much in the postseason, going 1-for-1, bringing his career playoff total to 20-for-22." - CBS
 
February 3, 2015 - special teams coordinator Scott O'Brien retires
"O'Brien will retire from coaching after 24 seasons in the NFL, including the last six seasons as the special teams coach for the Patriots. He will remain with the organization. The Patriots also announced that Joe Judge has been named special teams coach. He originally joined the Patriots as O'Brien's assistant in 2012.... O'Brien coached for 11 seasons in the college ranks before beginning his NFL coaching career when Belichick hired him to coach the Cleveland Browns' special teams in 1991. When the Browns franchise moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens in 1996, O'Brien remained with the club and served for three more seasons (1996-98) as special teams coach. He then served for six seasons (1999-04) as the Carolina Panthers' assistant head coach/special teams. After two seasons (2005-06) with the Miami Dolphins as the coordinator of football operations/assistant to the head coach, O'Brien spent two seasons prior to joining New England as the special teams coordinator for the Denver Broncos (2007-08). " - Patriots

December 28, 2014 - kicker Stephen Gostkowski is top scorer, again
"Stephen Gostkowski doesn't spend a lot of his time admiring his own accomplishments. When you're the kicker for the New England Patriots, your first concern is to help the team win football games. But the Pro Bowl-bound veteran has been doing that quite well over his nine-year career - and along the way, he's been amassing some impressive statistical notes in the NFL's record books. Gostkowski finished the 2014 season with 156 points, which made him the NFL's leading scorer for the third straight season. He outpointed Philadelphia's Cody Parkey, who finished with 150. 'If that's what it is, it's cool, but it's not something that I keep up with,' said the ninth-year veteran out of Memphis. 'I'm just out there to make every kick I can, and if I don't, come back and make the next one and give our team good field position with good kickoffs. My job, it's been very beneficial to be on a good team and an offense that moves the ball a lot'." - Sun Chronicle 

December 23, 2014 - kicker Stephen Gostkowski named to Pro Bowl
"Gostkowski was named to the Pro Bowl for the third time in his career and for the second straight season. He enters the final week of the season with an NFL-leading 147 points. He has led the NFL in points in 2008, 2012 and 2013 and can become just the third player to lead the NFL in points in at least four seasons. Gostkowski became the Patriots' all-time leading scorer vs. Miami (12/14) and currently has 1,170 career points. He is 32-of-34 on field goals in 2014 for a 94.1 field goal percentage. If he stays on pace, that will be the highest field goal percentage in team history for a season." - MS News

December 14, 2014 - kicker Stephen Gostkowski surpasses Adam Vinatieri
"No player in New England Patriots history has accounted for more points than Stephen Gostkowski, who passed Adam Vinatieri on the team's all-time list when he hit a 35-yard field goal at the 4:43 mark of the second quarter. Gostkowski now has 1,160 career points, eclipsing Vinatieri's mark of 1,158." - MassLive

December 10, 2014 - punter Ryan Allen named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week
"The first time he's earned the honor since making the team as an undrafted rookie in 2013. Against the Chargers, Allen had five punts; four of which were downed inside the 20. The other was a touchback. He finished with an average of 49.4 yards per punt and a net average of 44.0 yards. Allen’s longest punt was 60 yards and his first four punts were downed at the 13-, 10-, 11- and 10-yard lines." - ESPN

November 30, 2014 - DE Rob Ninkovich fills in at long snapper
Even though Danny Aiken made the trip, Rob Ninkovich knew that he might be pressed into service as the Patriots long snapper. So he spent plenty of practice time last week, just in case, working with punter Ryan Allen, who also doubles as the holder on kicks. Sure enough, Aiken was forced to miss the game against the Packers because of the concussion he suffered in the game before, so the task fell to Ninkovich, who got his start in the NFL as a long snapper for the Saints. He’s since become one of the Patriots’ best pass rushers, with 33½ sacks in his five-plus seasons with the team. So there was Ninkovich, a bit of a throwback at historic Lambeau Field on Sunday, playing every snap on defense, then coming onto the field for special teams, handling the long snapping duties on punts and kick attempts. 'When somebody goes down and your number’s called, you’ve got to go out and perform at a high level. The expectations here are always high, I understood that,' Ninkovich said. 'I knew that my job was to go out there and throw strikes. I think I was able to do that. I work at it, I work at it a lot. I was able to go out there and do my job'." - Boston Globe

November 23, 2014 - punter Ryan Allen contributes to win over Detroit
"And the special teams play only accelerated the process in this inevitable blowout. With New England trailing 3-0 in the first quarter, Ryan Allen handled a low snap from Danny Aiken and booted a 66-yard punt that put the Lions at their own 21-yard-line, completely flipping the field and the momentum.... 'I noticed it was good contact on my foot and the rest took care of itself,' Allen said. 'For (my teammates) to go and cover that length of a kick (shows) the effort they put into that play. It was a huge momentum swing, and that was all them going down and covering that thing.' Amazing as it was, it wasn’t the best punt of Allen’s career or even his 2014 season. He had a 67-yarder against Denver." - Mass Live

October 5, 2014 - Stephen Gostkowski kicks five field goals in win over Bengals
"Stephen Gostkowski kicked a career-high five field goals and Tom Brady passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns as the New England Patriots regained their edge Sunday night, throttling the previously unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals 43-17 before a loud, packed house at Gillette Stadium.... Gostkowski kicked field goals of 48, 19, 23, 47 and 35 yards." - Portland Press Herald

September 4, 2014 - long snapper Danny Aiken re-signed, again
"Aiken, 26, was released by the Patriots on the final cut-down on Aug. 30, 2014.  Aiken has handled all of the long snapping duties in 48 games and seven postseason games for New England." - Patriots

September 3, 2014 -  long snapper Charley Hughlett waived
"The Patriots also released long snapper Charley Hughlett from the practice squad. According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, the team is close to re-signing Danny Aiken to take back the job he may have, at least technically, temporarily lost." - Pats Pulpit

September 1, 2014 - long snapper Charley Hughlett signed to practice squad
"The Patriots have added their long snapper, sort of. Charley Hughlett has joined the Patriots practice squad. The long snapper’s locker was sandwich between Stephen Gostkowski and Ryan Allen. Hughlett originally signed with the Patriots on March 19, but was released on May 15. He spent all of training camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars." - Providence Journal

August 30, 2014 - long snapper Danny Aiken released
"No snapper on the roster after the release of Danny Aiken, which would thrust Rob Ninkovich into that role unless the Patriots sign someone else or bring Aiken back. The Aiken release could be part of some initial roster management to preserve assets at other positions (e.g. Mallett, Barker) that the Patriots felt had value if they landed on the open market." - ESPN

August 22, 2014 - Stephen Gostkowski kicks 60 yarder
It was the chance Stephen Gostkowski was hoping for. 'That's the time you want to try a long field goal,' the placekicker said following New England's 30-7 win. 'The thing about trying a long field goal like that is there are no expectations.' There were no expectations for the two-time Pro Bowler. The uprights stood 60 yards away. The longest field goal in Patriots history stood as a 57-yarder from Adam Vinatieri 12 years ago. And the longest field goal in Gostkowski's Patriots history stood as a 54-yarder one year ago.'You go out there, and it's really a win-win situation. Nobody expects you to make it, so it really puts your mind at ease,' the nine-year pro said. There was ease. But the snap from Danny Aiken, the hold from punter Ryan Allen, and the kick from Gostkowski transpired suddenly. 'The play clock was running down, so I didn't really get to aim,' Gostkowski explained. 'I just kind of kicked it.' Gostkowski did, line-driving the ball into the breeze. That breeze carried it right, but it also carried it just over the crossbar for three points. And with that, the Patriots headed into intermission up 13." - MassLive

August 17, 2014 - long snapper Tyler Ott released
"The New England Patriots informed rookie long snapper Tyler Ott of his release on Sunday, marking a decisive move in one of the under-the-radar competitions in training camp. That leaves incumbent Danny Aiken, the team's snapper the last three seasons, as the lone snapper on the roster at this time. Ott, an undrafted free agent from Harvard, was part of the protection unit that surrendered a blocked punt in Friday night's preseason game. The player Ott was blocking, receiver Arrelious Benn, had the block." - ESPN 

July 28, 2014 - long snapper Tyler Ott learning
"Obviously, I'm in here competing against Danny, another good snapper,' Ott said. 'He's been doing it for three years for them. I'm coming in, and I'm working on what I can work on, really crafting my skill. It's kind of the first time I've been able to really focus on only long snapping with a long-snapping coach. So I'm learning a lot. I'm picking up a lot of blocking schemes, snapping technique. It's all pretty new to me just being a self-taught snapper for my four years at Harvard.' The Patriots, who resume training camp at 9:15 a.m. today after having Monday off, have been practicing for about 2½ hours when they've been on the field. For most of that time, kicker Stephen Gostkowski, punter Ryan Allen, Aiken and Ott have kept to themselves. While it might seem awkward to have two players competing for one position spend so much time together, Ott stressed that's not the case. He characterized his relationship with Aiken as cordial and lacking animosity, with the snappers helping each other when the opportunity arises.  'It's a competition, free competition,' Ott said. "It's a business, but that doesn't mean that we have any negativity toward each other. So it's been good'." - Telegram & Gazette

July 18, 2014 - long snapper competition

"Danny Aiken signed a one-year deal for the league minimum to return to the team this offseason. He has been the Patriots' long-snapper for three years, but has faced competition for the past two years. He has been mostly solid in his role, but had a high snap go over Allen's head in the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts.... Tyler Ott is officially listed as a tight end, but he was not a big part of the offense with 15 receptions for 188 yards and four touchdowns on the season. He earned the majority of his playing time as Harvard's long snapper and projects to that role in the NFL. Ott is a near mirror image of Aiken at 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds.... If Ott can give the Patriots anything at tight end, he will already be more versatile than Aiken, who has never played a snap on offense. Ott is also signed for the next three years, and is cheaper than Aiken this year ($725,000 cap hit for Aiken, $420,000 for Ott) while Aiken is entering a contract year." - Boston.com

May 15, 2014 - long snapper Charley Hughlett released
"First-year long snapper Charley Hughlett were released Thursday.... Hughlett was competing with incumbent Danny Aiken. That competition will now come in the form of Harvard's Tyler Ott, whose signing with the team should become official once he's concluded with his final exams this week." - ESPN

May 10, 2014 - long snapper Tyler Ott signed
"Ott also served as the primary long snapper for one of the top special team units in the Ivy League. Harvard finished the season a perfect 45 of 45 when kicking points after touchdowns and 14 of 17 on field goal attempts. The Crimson sent 46 punts down the field for a total of 1,838 yards." - Crimson

March 19, 2014 - long snapper Charley Hughlett signed
"Hughlett, 23, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Dallas Cowboys out of Central Florida on April 30, 2012. The 6-foot-4, 251-pounder was released by Dallas on Aug. 27, 2012. He was re-signed by Dallas on Jan. 7, 2013 and released for a second time on May 29, 2013. He handled all long snapping duties for four seasons at Central Florida" - New England Patriots

March 7, 2014 - long snapper Danny Aiken re-signed
"Aiken, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent, has agreed to terms with the team on a one-year contract, according to a source. Aiken has snapped in every game for the Patriots over the last three seasons after being claimed on waivers from the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 4, 2011. The contract agreement puts the Patriots in position to return all three specialists (Aiken, kicker Stephen Gostkowski, punter/holder Ryan Allen) for the second straight year, which is often the continuity that most clubs desire. As the Patriots’ lone restricted free agent this offseason, Aiken could have been tendered at three different levels -- $1.43 million for a right of first refusal, $2.18 million at the second-round level, and $3.11 million at the first-round level." - ESPN

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