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Pats Off-season Review (Pre-Free Agency Edition) - Special Teams

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by DaBruinz, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Special Teams:
    Well, this is my 1st off-season review for this year. Call it the Pre-Free Agency / Pre-Combine review. For the purpose of this review, I am going to consider ERFA and RFA as part of the team.


    Kicker – Stephen Gostkowski - Gostkowski hasn’t made us forget our previous kicker, but he put up a very solid season and came through in the one pressure situation the Pats put him in. Gost helped the pats kick-offs tremendously, averaging 66.2 yards per kick with 12 touch backs. The opponents averaged 22.9 yards per return with an average start of the 26.3 yard line.
    Not bad for a rookie.

    The Pats will probably sign someone to kick during pre-season with Gostkowski.


    Free Agents: None


    Punter – Josh Miller, Tom Malone, Danny Baugher - When Miller was healthy, the Punt team was the BEST in the league allowing a miniscule 1.4 YPR. When he wasn’t, the YPR sky-rocketed. Miller had 12 punts inside the 20 and 7 for TBs. Out of 43 punts. That is awesome. Sauerbrun showed an amazing leg. The problem was that he didn’t show control.

    I think that, unless Miller doesn’t recover from his shoulder injury, we’ll see him back with Malone and Baugher taking reps in camp. Otherwise, the Pats would probably re-sign Sauerbrun.

    Free Agents: Todd Sauerbrun (UFA), Ken Walter (UFA)

    Long-Snapper - Lonnie Paxton,– Paxton is very solid player. Has only had one muffed snap (that I can remember anyways) in his years in with the Pats.

    I expect the Pats to bring in at least one long-snapper, though they may have Thomas work on that.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2007
  2. Jimke

    Jimke Rookie

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    I'm pleased to see that they will have a young punter on the

    roster this summer. Last year Miller had to do it all alone.
  3. stinkypete

    stinkypete Rookie

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    Didn't Garrett Mills long snap in college? I wonder if he was brought in as an occasional offensive weapon and ALSO future long snapper. That way one player takes up two rister spots.
  4. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Last edited: Feb 10, 2007
  5. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    After watching AV miss a FG and extra point and almost miss another FG in the superbowl, and watching all the squib kicks because he couldn't kick off deep enough, and seeing Gostkowski as a rookie make a clutch kick in the playoffs, I don't see why we can't be satisfied with what we have. Especially when you compare Gost's rookie year with AV's"

    FG:
    AV : 27-35, 77.1%, 1 blkd, long 50
    SG : 20-26, 76.9%, 2 blkd, long 52

    XP:
    AV : XP 39-42, 92.9%
    SG : XP 43-44, 97.7%

    Very comparable, I think, with maybe a slight edge to Gostkowski. I expect the discrepancy to grow over the next few years.

    This is what I thought when he was drafted, and even though I was roundly shouted down, I still think Paxton will have to compete for his job every year, and the best long snapper will win the job.

    I like Mills a lot, and look forward to seeing him get some time this summer to show what he can do. I think this coming year he will have the position Dave Thomas had in 2006, as I do not believe Graham is interested in staying. (I'm already preparing myself for a media/fan year of whining "They let Graham go" a la AV, when in fact it will most likely be that Graham who won't sign because he wants to be playing for a team that won't have him blocking so much.) We shall see.
  6. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    I just want to say Debruinz that your writeup was great!!!!!!!! I voted 5 stars on it.
  7. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good stuff, I was really impressed with our special teams. The youth (Mays, Andrews, Woods) seemed to really help the coverage and the specialists were very solid. Godd point on Ghost's kickoffs, really evident in the AFC championship game.

    What about KRs and PRs? I think we were near the top of the league in both areas with Faulk having a very good year handling punts and the kickoffs split between Maroney and Hobbs.
  8. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Pats were the top team in Kick returns with a avg. return of 26.8 yards.
    The Pats were 3rd in the league with an 11.7 yard per return avg. That is a far cry from the 5.8 YPR they were just 2 years ago.

    Now, for the bad. The Pats Kick coverage allowed an avg return of 22.8 good for only 20th in the league. The Pats punt coverage allowed an avg. return of 11.3 yards to be ranked 26th in the league.

    When Mike Wright was starting for Wilfork, our kick coverages suffered alot. I'm not sure if Wright in on the line for Punt Coverages. Now, I know one of the reasons that the YPR went up was Miller getting injured. The coverage unit allowed 8 returns for a total of 27 yards through 5 games. It was after the bye week that the wheels started coming off. The Pats gave up 40 yards on 4 returns to Buffalo and 81 yards on 2 returns in Minnesota. That sent the Pats Yards Allowed per return sky-rocketing. Miller helped calm things down over the next 3 games, but by then, he was injured and it wasn't going to matter.
  9. Kdo5

    Kdo5 Rookie

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    Nice stats. Gostkowski was pretty clutch IMO against the Chargers and the Colts. I think he gave us the late lead in the Colts game but unfortunately they scored the game winning TD afterwards. I'm very glad that we got drafted Gostkowski.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2007
  10. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    From your lips to God's ears. :)

    And the best part . . . Gostkowski could very well improve. :rocker:
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2007
  11. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    I am glad that this series of posts generated a lot of discussion..
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    How did we rank in punt returns?
    ---------------------------------
    The situation on the coverage teams is poor indeed, if the the stats you give don't lie. Do they include touchbacks and punts kicked out of bounds and tounched down by the pats? It didn't seem that our coverage teams were that bad, after all, for months we have been hearing the praises of Andrews, Mays, Spann and Baker on special teams. I supect we miss Davis, Jones, Gardner and Mitchell.



  13. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    On returns, as I mentioned earlier, the Pats were 3rd in the league. Also, as I said, I believe that Wright is on the punt coverage teams and that Miller going out is what hurt the Pats avg. When it comes to punt returns, the avg is taken on only those that are returnable. The Pats got seriously burned in 2 games with Miller punting (after his injury) and that is what hurt them the most, in my honest opinion.

    If you look at Walter, 7 of his 16 punts were returned for 52 yards. That is almost an 8 yard per return avg, which is actually very good. The problem with Walter is that his Gross was only 36.7 yards per punt.

    If you look at Sauerbrun during the regular season, he had 4 returns for 101 yards. 2 of the returns were for 42 and 58 yards respectively. The other two returns combined for 1 yard.

    Sauerbrun faired much better in the play-offs with 9 returns for 81 yards. He had 14 punts with only 1 TB and 1 inside the 20. Its not saying much because it was still worse than Miller or Walter during the season. He DID have a large Gross avg with 45.7 per kick, which is 2.7 yards more than Miller, but the 9 yards per return is not great at all.

    Overall, our coverage teams weren't that bad. On the kick returns, you need to consider that the difference between #3 and #20 was 2.2 yards per return allowed. On the punt returns, the games that killed the Pats were the week 7 game against Buffalo and week 8 game against Minnesota while Miller was still playing, and then the Titans and Jags game with Sauerbrun punting.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2007
  14. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    bumping in case MGT missed my replay.
  15. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's kinda hard to punt it inside the 20 when you're kicking from your own 10. . . .

    Seriously, though, I think inside-the-20 is a slightly misleading stat. A much more useful stat would be "inside the 20 relative to expectations." But of course that would take much longer to calculate. :)
  16. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Actually, Gostkowski made me forget about Vinatieri. People forget that Vinatieri was not that good in 2005 and his kick offs have been subpar for a few years. I have felt the legend of Vinatieri was far greater than the actual player for a while.

    I think our coverage teams still need an upgrade. They should be assuming Mel Mitchell and Tebuckey Jones make the team next year.

    I actually hope we can work out a deal to keep Miller. I agree with DaBruinz that he was great when healthy.
  17. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 Rookie

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    Some of our solid ST players were IR'd. And every draft, we usually add a rookie with strong ST skills -- so that's something to look forward to.

    Also, does anyone else feel the same about touchbacks? That they're an exciting play to watch and hope for, as the ball is sailing deep?
  18. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree. I think losing Mel Mitchell, Tebucky Jones, and Barry Gardner before the season even started seriously hindered our coverage units. All those three expected to be big players on the coverage units.
  19. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanx for the bump and replay

  20. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Miller is signed through 2008; cutting him to sign Sauerbrun would add about $300K in dead money in 2007 (i.e., even if the Pats signed Sauerbrun to a vet minimum deal, the savings would be about $500K at best).

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