Gostkowski: 'I'm not afraid to fail'


Gostkowski: 'I'm not afraid to fail'

FOXBORO -- If a kicker is accurate in his work, you probably won't remember him. Specialists have to do something tremendously heroic, like win a couple Super Bowls, to really become famous. Otherwise, they simply try to avoid infamy.
Stephen Gostkowski addressed quite a crowd, probably the biggest of his career, after New England's 20-18 loss to Arizona on Sunday.
Because he missed one field goal out of five. The game-winner.
"Had a good game up until that point and I felt good going out there," he said of the final kick. "It's just one of those things where you get opportunities like that not very often and I've got to do a lot better job of coming through for the team. It came down to me and I didn't pull through. And it stinks, and I feel bad for my fans and my teammates. I can't take it back now. I went out and felt good about the kick, I just didn't execute."
Gostkowski's chance came with five seconds remaining in the game. Arizona was up 20-18 and had just one minute to kill before flying home with the upset. But the Patriots defense came through. Brandon Spikes knocked the ball loose from Cardinals running back Ryan Williams to regain possession. Tom Brady managed to get Gostkowski on the Arizona 24.
42 yards was all they needed. Patriots fans were going wild. The win was one boot away from soaring into the bag; Gostkowski was ready.
"I felt good going out there," he said. "It wasn't the smoothest hit and I looked up and saw it was left and I was like."
Here, he hung his head.
"Sometimes the ball doesn't fly your way. There's probably not another game where I'd be more confident going out for a kick like that. And it humbles you really quick."
The kicker fell far.
For three quarters Gostkowski was the only Patriot who could score. The guy was booming kicks during warmups, splitting the uprights from 58-yards out with room to spare. During the game he hit from 46, 34, 51, and 53 yards.
Turns out, the early efficiency doesn't mean much. Gostkowski said sometimes a kicker can indeed get in a rhythm, find a zone. But every kick is different. A golden leg two hours before the first snap doesn't guarantee three points when the final score is suddenly resting on your shoulders.
Which is something Gostkowski reconciled long ago.
"I'm not scared to fail," he said evenly. "It stinks when you do, but I wouldn't go out there every day if I was scared to screw up. I'll feel bad about this for a couple days. I'm sure I'll get ripped for it by the fans and stuff, and it's well deserved. My teammates have my back. Nobody feels worse about missing a kick than I do.
"You just have to move on, get over it It's the good ones you get over; it's the bad games that last a while. If I let this affect me negatively, I'm not doing my job. "

Patriots list nine as questionable, including Bennett, Edelman and Collins


Patriots list nine as questionable, including Bennett, Edelman and Collins

FOXBORO -- The Patriots listed nine players on their injury report after Friday's practice, deeming them all "questionable" for Sunday's game against the Steelers. 

The most notable names on the list are those of tight end Martellus Bennett, linebacker Jamie Collins and receiver Julian Edelman.

Bennett and Collins have been listed on the injury report since before last weekend's win over the Bengals. Bennett was able to play through his ankle issue, whereas Collins dealt with a hip injury that kept him out. Edelman, meanwhile, has been on the injury report since prior to New England's Week 5 win over Cleveland, but he has played in 81 percent of his team's offensive snaps over the last two weeks.

Patriots rookie linebacker Elandon Roberts, who has opened some eyes with his play over the course of the last two weeks, is also listed as questionable due to an ankle issue. Bill Belichick's club could be left thin at the linebacker level should both Roberts and Collins be at all limited, potentially leaving Barkevious Mingo, Rob Ninkovich and Shea McClellin to see more time next to Dont'a Hightower as off-the-line 'backers. 


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


T Marcus Gilbert (ankle)
DE Cameron Heyward (hamstring)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (left knee)
S Shamarko Thomas (groin)
C Cody Wallace (knee)
WR Markus Wheaton (shoulder)
RB DeAngelo Williams (knee)

Smart yet to be ruled out of Celtics’ opener


Smart yet to be ruled out of Celtics’ opener

WALTHAM, Mass. – Marcus Smart remains out with a left ankle sprain injury sustained earlier this week, but has yet to be ruled out for the season opener against Brooklyn next week.

An MRI came back negative on Smart’s ankle, which was good news.

But there’s still a high level of uncertainty as to whether Smart will heal in time for the team’s opener at home against Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

He sprained the left ankle in the second quarter of a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday when he stepped on the foot of Knicks guard Justin Holiday.

Smart fell to the floor and was helped to his feet by teammates Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas in addition to the team’s head trainer Ed Lacerte.

The Celtics are indeed hopeful he will heal in time to play next week, but league sources indicate it’s doubtful due to the nature of the injury and Smart’s history with left ankle sprains.

He sustained one in his rookie season and it kept him out for several weeks and he has had a few minor ankle sprains since then.

Even if he shows signs of being healthy enough to play prior to the opener, the Celtics are likely to be overly cautious to best insure that when he does return he does not re-aggravate the ankle.

Smart appeared in all seven preseason games for the Celtics this season, averaging 8.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Smart shot 42 percent from the field, but struggled mightily from 3-point range while connecting on just 13.6 percent of his 3-point shot attempts.

If Smart is unable to play in the opener or potentially longer, look for the Celtics to lean heavily on Terry Rozier who has been the breakout performer for Boston in the summer and in camp.

“I’m just trying to do whatever they need me to do, to help us win games,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “I’m feeling good, real good about where my game’s at now. Obviously we’re a better team in every way, with Marcus out there. But if he’s not ready to go, the next man up has to get the job done. If that’s me, it’s me. I’ll be ready.”