"It's just a slow start," "He'll turn it around." "Don't worry, he will be fine." All of these are amongst the list of things that people were hearing after the first couple of weeks about New England Patriots kicker, Stephen Gostkowski. Well guess what? Patriots fan should start to be seriously nervous about the kicker, as, through the first six games of the season, Gostkowski has already missed as many field goals as he did all of last year. On top of that, he's already missed 2 PATs after only missing 1 through his first 10 years as a kicker (2 including postseason).
Now, what is so wrong with Gostkowski?
Well, if you remember correctly, Gostkowski missed a PAT early last year in the AFC Championship game against the Denver Broncos. A game in which the Patriots lost 20-18 after a failed 2-pt try at the end of the game. Had SG3 made that earlier PAT try, it would've only taken another PAT to tie the game up at 20-20 and, most likely, force OT. Also, late in the fourth quarter of that same game, BB decided to go for it on 4th down instead of taking the three points, even though the defense had been stout almost all day.
So, if you ask me, Gostkowski is getting into his own head before he kicks. Missing that PAT after nailing over 500 consecutive PATs, and in a game of that magnitude, really took its tole on the confidence of the New England kicker, leading to these recent struggles. SG3 starts to worry about not missing field goals more than he is focused on drilling it right down the middle.
So what should the Patriots do about that?
In my honest opinion, the Patriots need to send Gostkowski to a shrink of some sort; he needs to relieve himself of his stresses and get out of his own head because it seems like he has forgotten that he is one of, if not the, best kicker in the NFL when he's right. But as for now, I personally do not trust him to nail a field goal to send a game to overtime if need be. I would trust Chad Ochocinco more than SG3 right now.
So on top of sending him to a shrink, the Patriots need to get a kicker for the time being. A name that pops out is Kai Forbath. Forbath has a career FG % of 84.1% (only 2.8 % worse than Gostkowski). The one issue with Forbath is his 57.1 % FG % outside of 50 yards. However, that's a small sample size of 7 attempts, 1 of which being his long of 57 yards. The bright side is, the Patriots offense is so lethal that the odds of Forbath needing to boot one 50+ yards is about as likely as I am to striking out Carl Crawford (meaning a very slim chance, by the way).
This is only a temporary solution, as hopefully within 2 or 3 weeks Gostkowski has gotten himself together to a point where he can return to form for the Patriots after the bye week in week 8.