Every kick crucial for Gostkowski

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Every kick crucial for Gostkowski

FOXBORO -- Is it a problem that Stephen Gostkowski didn't talk to reporters after the Jets game?

No.

But the move puzzled a few people. Gostkowski performed well on Sunday. He hit two clutch kicks -- one from 43 yards that tied the game with less than two minutes to play, and another from 48 that propelled New England to a 29-26 victory.

Why not revel in it? Why leave punter Zoltan Mesko to answer the questions?

"I didn't know he talked for me," Gostkowski replied Tuesday. "Zoltan's a good talker."

Yes, that last bit had some bite to it.

Maybe he doesn't care about personal victory parades. The kicker will offer himself up after any mistake, notably after missing Week 3's game-winner in Baltimore. Most of the time, however, nobody bothers with him.

Like after the Bills game.

"I heard I got in trouble for not talking after the Buffalo game, but I was in there," Gostkowski noted. "Nobody talked for me. I'm not taking the fall for that one."

Gostkowski missed two field goals that day. Both were blown in the first half -- the first from 49 yards, the second from 42. With the Patriots trailing 14-7 at the break, those bad kicks But New England exploded for 35 unanswered points in the second half en route to its 52-28 win and Gostkowski was largely forgotten.

Three weeks later he was a hot commodity again. After skipping the back-patting on Sunday night, he came around to the Jets game on Tuesday.

Still, Gostkowski tried to shrug off singular focus.

"It was positive for everybody. We won," he said. "I had a chance to help the team and I came through. It was fun. It was a good feeling to come out with a win, a division win, against a team that we like to beat."

You see, each kick for Gostkowski is important whether the fans remember it or not. What it comes down to is points on the board, basic math. That's it.

"I try to keep the same focus whether it's a first quarter, second quarter, or third quarter kick because there have been games where I've made or missed kicks where we've ended up winning by three, or that third point could have really helped," Gostkowski explained.

"The dramatics of it might change when you look back at it, but during the game I want to make every kick. If I'd missed a kick in the first quarter I would have been just as upset as if I missed one at the end of the game."

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.