Special teams coach Joe Judge reiterates Patriots' faith in kicker Stephen Gostkowski: 'He's our guy'

November 03, 2016 - 3:56 pm
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[caption id="attachment_101099" align="alignright" width="350"]Stephen Gostkowski was perfect Sunday against the Bills. (Elsa/Getty Images) Stephen Gostkowski was perfect Sunday against the Bills. (Elsa/Getty Images)[/caption] Special teams coach Joe Judge has faith that kicker Stephen Gostkowski is going to get back to his old self sooner rather than later. Judge publicly backed the kicker this week, despite the fact that Gostkowski is having an uncharacteristically inconsistent season. After missing three field-goal attempts and no extra-point tries during the 2015 regular season, Gostkowski has missed three field-attempts and a pair of extra-points this year through eight games. But count Judge as among those who believe that his perfect afternoon last Sunday (2-for-2 on field-goal tries -- including an impressive 51-yarder -- and 5-for-5 on extra points) is a sign that things are back on track for the veteran kicker. "Man, we're very excited for Steve," said Judge. "I'll tell you what; nobody works harder than Steve. Nobody prepares better than Steve. We have all the confidence in the world in Steve. He's done it consistently for so long in this league. There is nobody I'd rather play with. "He's our guy." Gostkowski success rate this year (11-for-14) is good for most kickers, but for the four-time All-Pro, it's a step down from his usual totals. After all, this is a guy who still ranks third all-time in league history with a success rate of 86.9 percent — he's got a higher standard than most. That's one of the reasons why some believe Gostkowski is capable of figuring things out, and whether his misses have been mental or physical. "Look, I'm not going into the specifics or anything like that, I'll just tell you what — no one outworks Stephen," Judge said of the 32-year-old. "He's very committed to his craft [and] he's always looking to improve in everything he does, as we all are." Bill Belichick has acknowledged that when it comes to working with kickers, because what they do is so specialized, sometimes, the best thing for a coach to do is just step back a bit. Bottom line? You can't coach a kicker like another position player. "I've coached kickers for a long time and the first thing you have to learn is about your player," Judge said. "Everyone is unique and everyone is different, and you can't coach any one player — especially a specialist — the same, because no one has the same body. No one has the same exact mechanics. And no one has the same exact technique."