Patriots Draft: Q&A with K Stephen Gostkowski

PatriotsInsider.com is pleased to bring you this Insiders exclusive interview with Memphis kicker Stephen Goskowski. The NFL Draft hopeful told Patriots Insider why he chose football over baseball, even though he pitches for the Memphis baseball team. More on Gostkowski inside including some of the other NFL clubs who worked him out before the Patriots.

Question: The Patriots signed proven veteran Martin Gramatica already, where do you see yourself possibly fitting in with the team?

Stephen Gostkowski: They signed Gramatica, but they're still looking to bring a young guy in to compete for a job. Any opportunity I can get is good. I just have to go out and take care of my business. If I kick to the best of my ability, someone is gonna notice me and someone's going to like me. A lot of people make one team and get cut and kick twenty years with another team.

Q: Would it be different playing for the Patriots as opposed to a team who didn't just lose a 10-year veteran kicker like Vinatieri to free agency?

SG: Not really. That's what everybody in the media will be talking about. Whatever team I can get on, I'll be happy. All you have to do is make a couple of big kicks to get fans and media on your side.

Q: Do you consider yourself a big game kicker? What is the biggest kick you've made in your career thus far?

SG: I had a game winner my junior year and probably five or six game clinchers with about a minute or two left. I've made most of my big kicks in my college career. I feel like I'm at my best when the pressure's on.

Q: What is the coldest weather you've competed in?

SG: Probably 20 or 25 degrees - we (Memphis) get maybe two or three cold games a year. It gets windy down here and we also play Cincinnati and Louisville and it gets pretty cold there in November. It's nothing like freezing cold or snow - I've never had any chance to kick in that.

Q: Do you think colder weather has affected your kicking negatively in the past?

SG: The ball gets harder. You just have to concentrate more. I think you can still hit the ball just as far but it's harder to hit the sweet spot. You have less room for error, but you can't let it bother you and change your mindset.

Q: You had three straight seasons of over 100 points, how important is consistency for a kicker?

SG: That's the main thing. As a kicker, you're pretty much competing against yourself. It's like playing golf - if you're not consistent, you're not good. Kickers live and die with consistency. If you make 85 or 90 percent of your kicks, teams won't think twice about sending you out there.

Q: Do you have any specific pro kickers you looked up to during your development as a place kicker?

SG: Everybody liked Vinatieri when he went on his run of making game winning field goals. I think every kicker in college has respect for that guy.

Q: What will be the biggest adjustment kicking in the NFL as opposed to kicking in college?

SG: The game ball. I've done a pretty good job in my workouts of hitting a brand new ball. Also, it's a job and there's more pressure but you can't put pressure on yourself. You have to go out there and look at it as a game and have fun.

Q: You're also a pitcher on the Memphis baseball team, what are some of the reasons you are choosing football for your professional career?

SG: It's a lot easier to get drafted in baseball, but it's almost impossible to make it because the level of talent is so even in baseball so it's harder to stick out. Not too many people can kick and I'm blessed with that ability and I've had a lot more success in college kicking than pitching.

Gostkowski told Patriots Insider that he also worked out for the Packers, Cowboys and Broncos before he met with the Patriots.

Dave Fletcher is a longtime contributor to Patriots Insider. An accomplished writer and sports analyst, you can find more of his articles by searching for "Dave Fletcher" in the archives on PatriotsInsider.com

Related: NFL Draft Rankings || Free Agent Kickers || Other Patriots Visits/workouts


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