I would like to hear everyone’s input on special teams. I am not talking about a poll on whether Miller or Baugher will make the cut as the punter. I mean beyond just kicker, punter and long snapper. I do not get to see training camp or even hardly any of the games, so I am just going on my opinion based on what I have read in the media and here on pats fans. Please add to this discussion with your enlightened opinions.
I will start with the easy ones.
– Gostkowski. There is no competition here. I guess Welker and maybe the punter are the backups.
– I hope it is Baugher, because I don’t want him to be the next Robbie Gould (young player the Pats let go who becomes a Pro Bowler on another team). From what I hear he needs to work on dropping kicks inside the 20 and to show the same punting ability in games that he has shown in practice and the job could be his. However, I think Miller’s punting days are not over yet and this is a close competition. It is probably too much to hope for to have Miller as our punter and Baugher on the PS. Someone would probably snatch him up.
– It seems that every year some people want to get rid of Lonnie because he is a “wasted” roster spot as he only does one thing. I understand this thinking, but I don’t think BB agrees. I expect Lonnie to stay as our long snapper and Hochstein as the backup.
Now the fun (and guessing on my part) begins. I think some guys beyond kicker, punter and long snapper make the team based primarily on their special teams ability.
– From what I have read he is our top gunner. He is potentially better than Je’Rod Cherry was and has the versatility that Je’Rod never had. Andrews could be a backup KR or PR
as well as a backup FS or CB. I think I also read somewhere that he was the lead blocker for Hobbs on his kickoff returns. I think he could be closer to a lock than on the bubble.
– I think his Pro Bowl days are over, but his playing days are not done yet. I remember even last year that some people were hoping for a youth movement to replace Izzo. It could happen, but I don’t think it will happen this year. Maybe next year.
– I think he is supposed to be an ST demon. How good is he? Could he potentially be the next ST captain when Izzo hangs it up?
– Is it possible the Pats got him for his ST ability as much as his potential as a backup CB?
– Will he get pushed out by the rookies? I have doubts that he will ever be more than a backup ILB in the defense, but he could stick because of his ST ability.
– Same as Alexander, but I have the impression that Alexander is ahead of Mays in both the ILB depth chat and ST ability. I don’t have facts to back this up so I welcome anyone to prove me wrong.
– Last year he may have made the team because of his contribution on ST. This year I think he makes it based on his potential as a backup (and maybe future starter) OLB, but I think he will still be a big contributor on ST.
– Right now based on what I have read I do not think he makes the cut. Could his ST ability put him over the edge to make it as #53 on the roster? I have read that he has played some as gunner and has practiced as gunner for the Pats, but he is really any good at it?
– I think Mills may make the team based on his potential as H-back. However, I believe he contributed on ST at Tulsa. It will be interesting to see if he can be a big contributor on ST for the Pats. Even if he makes the team as an H-back if he cannot contribute much on ST he may be inactive unless someone is injured (which unfortunately seems likely based on current health of our TEs).
– I won’t comment much on the rookies yet, because I just don’t have enough information on their ST ability. We all know it could be the difference between making the roster or not.
– I think Chad Brown may not make the cut and gives way to the youth movement that can contribute on ST unless we have any injuries at LB. Sanders makes it as the backup SS and ST contributor. Hawkins and Baker are in a battle to make the roster as backup S and ST contributor. I expect one of them to make it, but probably not both. Tory James's lack of ST ability may hurt his chances to make the roster. Does he pay on ST? I just haven't heard anything about him on ST.