FOXBORO -- If having Stephen Gostkowski act both as kicker and punter was most advantageous for the Patriots, they'd no doubt love to save the money by doubling up. He did both jobs, and did fairly well, in last weekend's Colts game when Ryan Allen injured his shoulder corralling a bad snap. Even Tom Brady got in the mix as holder for Gostkowski's field goals.
It is not, however, Plan A.
New England wants Allen to play Sunday. It wants the guy who's taken the reps and gotten the checks for holding and punting to perform those tasks in the AFC Championship.
But as Bill Belichick noted Friday, the Patriots must prepare for every possibility.
"Our players, from day one, know that everybody's responsible for more than one position. I mean, we just can't have the luxury of a backup for every single spot. Especially in the kicking game, you have basically 66 different starters on the six units there in addition to the offense and defense. That's part of everybody's job is to be responsible for more than one, or in some cases multiple positions, and who knows who's going to be called on to do what, when.
"But that's part of the NFL," Belichick shrugged. "You don't have that many guys on your roster and you need to be able to compete in the game and function when guys can't go. I think we've prepared for every situation we can prepare for and that goes all the way back to training camp and during the spring, when we have guys playing multiple positions."
Allen has been present, though limited, in practice this week. There's no guarantee at this point he's 100-percent up for the job Sunday. But while having a stand-in wouldn't be ideal, it wouldn't throw the Patriots for a total loop.
Proper planning, and all that.
"Sometimes it's a perception that we're moving a guy, but we're not moving anybody necessarily, we're trying to build our depth for him and our team," said Belichick. "Getting into a situation this time of year, sometimes those things pay off."