How rookie punter Jake Bailey could impact kicker Stephen Gostkowski

Ryan Hannable
May 15, 2019 - 10:33 am
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FOXBORO -- When the Patriots selected Stanford punter Jake Bailey in the fifth round, the immediate thought was he has the potential to take Ryan Allen's spot on the roster with a good showing this summer.

That is still very much on the table, but Bailey could also impact kicker Stephen Gostkowski -- at least during training camp.

Bailey has some kickoff experience from Stanford, so maybe the Patriots give the 35-year-old a breather on some days when kickoff work is being done and allow his leg to get some extra rest. 

Speaking Tuesday at Gillette Stadium, Gostkowski acknowledged most of his practice work is done on field goals, not kickoffs.

"I would say you always practice field goals a lot more than kickoffs," he said. "I would equate kicking off to like hitting on the driving range. We work on things like hitting it short, hitting it in the corner, hitting it high. But at the end of the day, I'm really just swinging as hard as I can. Field goals. are so much more attention to detail that goes into it. Plus, if a kicker were to get injured, nine times out of 10 it's on a kickoff.

"It's one of those things, you gotta kick off enough to where you're comfortable with your rhythm and your steps. But you could go out there and kick field goals all day. You kick too many kickoffs, it'll tire you out a little bit more so you have to watch out how much you actually do kickoff-wise. I know a guy like Thomas Morstead who used to do it, he was like, 'I could punt all day, but kickoffs you just can't do all day.' It's one of those things. It's all effort. Balls to the wall. Then field goal is more like a smooth stroke."

We're not saying Bailey would then become the full-time kicker on the kickoff team, it's just to reduce the number of kicks for Gostkowski during training camp.

"I personally love kicking off," he said. "It gives me another chance to get on the field. The hardest thing about kicking field goals sometimes is you don't know when you're going to play. You don't know what situation you're going to be in. I remember in the Atlanta Super Bowl, it's two weeks of the biggest buildup of your life, and I didn't step on the field until there was two seconds left in the second quarter.

"Those are the things that you have to deal with in my position. The more I get on the field, the more comfortable I am. I love kicking off. Just like anyone else, after a while, you're like, 'Man, I don't want to practice this.' But I love kicking off and I want to try to do it as long as I physically can do it."

Gostkowski signed a two-year deal with the Patriots this offseason after being a free agent for over a month.

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