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Donaldson on Gramatica

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  1. Hoodie

    Hoodie Rookie

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    http://www.projo.com/patriots/content/projo_20060409_09jdcol.3104b4b.html

    Sunday, April 9, 2006

    Let me guess . . . when you heard the Patriots had signed kicker Martin Gramatica, you leaped into the air, pumping your fist in celebration.

    And, when you landed, you injured your knee.

    Just like Martin's brother, Bill, did after booting a 42-yard field goal for the Cardinals in the first quarter -- that's right, the FIRST quarter -- of a scoreless game at Giants Stadium in 2001.

    Or perhaps you had a different reaction. How about, when you heard the Pats had signed Martin Gramatica, you fell to your knees, shaking your fists in exasperation? Is that more like it?

    It's a Gramatica family trait to celebrate even routine field goals as if they were Super Bowl game-winners. You know, like the ones Adam . . . Adam . . . sorry, I can't get his full name out without choking up.

    Choking? Did I say choking? Well, that's a natural transition back to the brothers Gramatica. More specifically, Martin, the newest New England Patriot.

    I probably should give Martin Gramatica the benefit of the doubt.

    He arguably deserves the benefit of the doubt. He did, after all, set a Tampa Bay record for field goals (32) and points (128) in 2002 while helping the Bucs win Super Bowl XXXVII. In seven playoff games during his nearly six seasons in Tampa, Gramatica made 11 of 12 field goals and all 15 of his PATs. After scoring 108 points as a rookie in 1999, he was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2000. In that year, as well as 2002, his average kickoff distance exceeded 64 yards.

    Despite all that, I have my doubts about the benefit to the Patriots of replacing a guy who's likely to wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- Adam Vinatieri -- with a guy who spent last year out of football while recuperating from surgery to repair two abdominal tears.

    And it's not as if Gramatica was the second coming of Jan Stenerud before he got hurt.

    It supposedly was the injury to his abdomen that caused Gramatica to go from being "Automatica" -- he made 110 of 134 field-goal attempts his first four years with Tampa Bay, after being drafted by the Bucs in the third round out of Kansas State in 1999 -- to "Erratica," making just 16 of 26 for the Bucs in 2003, and 11 of 19 in 2004, when he was waived late in the season and picked up by the Colts, who used him to handle kickoffs.

    The Bucs ran out of patience with Gramatica after he missed three field goals in a game at Carolina, including a 37-yarder with 1:48 remaining that would have given Tampa Bay the lead in a game they wound up losing. At that point, he had missed seven of his last nine 3-point tries.

    "[The abdominal injury] has been a problem for him for about 2 1/2 years," Bill Gramatica told a Tampa newspaper last June, after his older brother underwent surgery. "But you've never heard Martin complain, and he never used it as an excuse."

    What both brothers have been throughout their pro careers is Overly Dramatica.

    Born in Argentina, the Gramatica brothers celebrate field goals as if they were soccer goals.

    Their excessively enthusiastic antics often rubbed opponents the wrong way.

    Particularly punter Todd Sauerbrun, with whom Martin had a running feud when Sauerbrun was kicking for Carolina.

    Patriots' fans most recent memory of Sauerbrun should be from the playoff game against Denver in January, when he tackled New England kick returner Ellis Hobbs, forcing a fumble that set up a touchdown for the Broncos.

    Sauerbrun's dislike for the brothers Gramatica dates back to 2002, when he took exception to the way Martin celebrated each of four field goals -- especially the 47-yard, game-winner with five seconds to play -- he kicked for the Bucs in a 12-9 victory over the Panthers.

    "The guy needs to act like he's been there before," Sauerbrun said. "He really needs to chill out, plain and simple."

    The ill feelings between the two were exacerbated when the youngest Gramatica brother, Santiago, taunted Sauerbrun outside the Carolina locker room later that season after the Bucs beat the Panthers a second time.

    "That kid is as big of an idiot as his brother," Sauerbrun said then. "And I'm sure his other brother is, too. It goes right down the line."

    Brother Bill's reputation wasn't exactly enhanced when he wound up on the injured reserve list after tearing ligaments and cartilage in his knee celebrating that field goal against the Giants his rookie year.

    As Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre said to Sports Illustrated writer Peter King: "If our kicker ever hurt himself like that, I'd go over and boot him right in the [butt.]"

    Bill now is out of the NFL, after three seasons kicking for the Cardinals.

    It's not as if the Patriots are handing Vinatieri's job to 30-year-old Martin Gramatica. They're all but certain to bring in at least one young kicker, although he won't necessarily be a draftee.

    Lest we forget, Vinatieri was signed by New England as a free agent in 1996 after kicking for the Amsterdam Admirals of the World League of American Football following his graduation from South Dakota State.

    Bill Parcells, who was coaching the Pats at the time, is not believed to have jumped into the air, pumping his fist, at the signing.

    Hopefully, Bill Gramatica didn't either, when he heard the news about his brother coming to New England.

    Certainly, Patriots fans didn't.

    I love that we are supposed to think Gramatica was not a good signing because Todd Sauerbrun doesn't like him. Donaldson fails to mention Sauerbrun's alleged connection with the the Panthers doctor who allegedly dispensed steriods to the team. Not sure I'm taking Sauerbrun's opinion on anything.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2006
  2. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave Rookie

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    Donaldson's a real wiseguy eh?
  3. p8ryts

    p8ryts Rookie

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    Ho Hum, more doom and gloom

    Wait, look, the sky is falling.
    Jeez!!! Give the guy a chance to kick. What if he's good, ohmigod, what will we complain about now? Oh yes, we can worry about Seymour pouting and being upset. Do what he wants as long as he plays lights out this year so we can get SB#4
  4. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Way too much is being made of Gramatica. If he shows he's back to where he was in 2002, we have an absolute steal. If he sucks we'll cut him. It's no lose for us.
  5. scout

    scout Rookie

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    Does Donaldson have writers block? I couldn't find one thing which impressed me in the article. So, a steroid using punter doesn't like Gramatica, lets cut him. Five years ago his brother hurt himself celebrating a meaningless field goal, yawn. The Bucs ran out of patience with Automatica, wow, isn't that the first time an NFL team let loose a good kicker for inconsistency. He's concerned about replacing someone that will be in the Hall of Fame. Keeping with that thinking, the Packers should roll with Farve till he keels over. Yea, great article. I'm sure the "poopiehead" troll from Miami enjoyed it.
  6. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    So Donaldson's saying we shouldn't give Martin a chance to compete because his BROTHER is injury prone?

    If that was meant to be satire I don't get the joke - nor do I begrudge Martin's brother for celebrating any successful field goal - 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th quarter. QB, RBs, WRs & TEs routinely celebrate 6 point scores throughout the game - but Donaldson wants to ridicule a kicker for celebrating a 42 yard "chip shot"?

    Maybe Donaldson should try out for the kicking duties and put all the Gramaticas in their place!

    Gramatica is COMPTETING for the starting kicker job. Every smart Patsfan knows this. We will also likely see a 6th or 7th round kicker picked and numerous UFAs will be in camp to compete as well. The best man will get the job.

    I think the Gramatica signing is great insurance if he is as healthy as he says he is. And I'm very eager to watch all the kickers compete as I think there are likely some hidden jewels out there to be found.

    Even in years when the K position was all but locked up, and the "premier" FA kickers were in other camps offering a better opportunity, we still managed to find Phil Dawson, Owen Poochman, and others who are now starters in the NFL. Maybe we'll even have a better crop this year because its well known that its an open competition.
  7. Seymour93

    Seymour93 Rookie

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    Jim Donaldson is the same SOB who wrote about a month after SB XXXVI that the Patriots were overrated, the worst team to win a Superbowl in a long time, and that they would be forgotten after normalcy was restored to the NFL. :rolleyes:
  8. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Sorry but I've mentioned to you before..."we" didn't find Dawson unless you still consider Bobby Grier and Pete Carroll among the we's, and Pochman (not Poochman) bounced around a lot and bombed out and is not only no longer starting he is no longer employed. In his illustrious 5 year 3 team (where he actually made the roster) career he is 8-15 in FG including 0-2 at +50 in his only two attempts while with the Giants.
  9. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    The point is that there are starting caliber kickers out there who are UFAs. Dawson was one (whether the "we" is Bobby Grier, Bill Bellicheck or the Easter Bunny is irrelevant to the point).

    I remember one undrafted free agent a few years back named Adam something-or-other. He was brought into camp and displaced a seasoned veteran named Matt Barr and everyone was shocked.

    It does happen and it does happen often given the fact that there are only 32 teams and once you've got a proven starter for the low budget of kicker money you aren't looking to replace your kicker every year.

    By no means does Gramatica's signing mean that he is our starter.

    I think Gramatica also knows that he'll have plenty of competition here. Everyone seems to know that except Donaldson who is assuming he's the starter and that's the extent of the Patriots plans for that position.
  10. fgssand

    fgssand PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My crystal ball says Gramatica will be 75%-80% automatica during the regular season. Too fuzzy at this time to say how he does in the playoffs...
  11. SoonerPatriot

    SoonerPatriot Rookie

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    Great article. Couldn't care less about what Sauerbraun thinks of him.

    The worst that can happen is he performs well enough during the regular season for us to keep him around and then chokes it off in the playoffs when we need a big kick. If he's going to stink it up he needs to do it EARLY so he can be replaced.

    It's virtually impossible to imagine this signing being a rousing success in any way shape or form. We shall see.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2006
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