Stephen Gostkowski aiming to put the bad kicks behind him
FOXBORO - Stephen Gostkowski has a long memory when it comes to short misses.
“I can only remember a couple of the kicks I’ve made and I remember almost everyone I missed,” the Patriots kicker said after training camp practice Tuesday morning. “Kicking is like a love hate relationship and you lose weeks of sleep over a bad game, and a bad game can be one missed kick.
“The ones you make you just try and build on the confidence with. The ones you miss you try to get out of your head and quickly as possible and try to make the next one.”
Gostkowski is coming off a numerically successful season considering he plays his home games in a coastal cold weather city. He made 27-of-32 field goals attempts for an 84.4 percentage with a long of 53.
But Gostkowski’s had a high failure rate converting on extra point attempts. And while he holds the NFL record with 478 consecutive extra point conversions, Gostkowski’s misadventures began when the NFL moved the extra point distance back about 13 yards starting in the 2015 season.
He missed a point after attempt in the AFC title game at Denver that season when the Patriots lost 20-18.
Then last year, he missed He missed three PAT’s in the regular season and two in the playoffs -- including one in the Super Bowl.
“You become a perfectionist and you expect perfection and it is kind of tough when you don’t live up to those expectations,” said Gostkowski. “That the way you show mental toughness is by getting back up there and making the next one and do it right the next time.
“Nobody makes every kick and you just have to limit the runs of missing a ton. But I’ve learned a lot more from my bad years that I did from the good years and I try not to get to high when I play well and not get to low when I’m playing bad.”
Gostkowski is entering his 12th NFL season with the Patriots since being selected in the fourth round (118th overall) out of Memphis in the 2006 NFL draft.
Gostkowski had the difficult task of replacing legendary kicker Adam Vinatieri, but went on to set Patriots records for career points (1,457), points in a season (158), consecutive games scoring (142), made field goals (303) and several other categories.
He led the league in scoring five times and in 2015 became the first player in NFL history to score 150 or more points in four seasons. He is third all-time (160) in postseason points behind Vinatieri (234) and Davis Akers (175).
But Gostkowski, who is the only kicker on the 90-man roster in training camp, knows he needs to stay sharp.
“It is nice to be back and work and you start at square one,” said Gostkowski. “You build up a momentum in (training camp) and try to get better each week.
“I’m around guys that work hard and do the right things for the team and it is easy to put your head down and fall in line. It’s fun when you win and have success and you have success being around successful people.”