The hip injury, which will require surgery, might explain Gostkowski’s relatively difficult start to this season. Though the Patriots are undefeated heading into Sunday’s game at the winless Washington Redskins, the kicker has missed four extra-point attempts and made 7 of 8 field goals. He hadn’t missed more than three extra points in any of the previous 13 seasons and has completed more than 87 percent of his career 428 field goal attempts.
With Stephen Gostkowski headed to IR, Patriots are going to be signing just their FOURTH kicker since 1996. Chargers are on their 4th kicker since 2018.— John Breech (@johnbreech) October 2, 2019
Pats kickers for the past 23 years:
Shayne Graham: 2010 (8 games)#Patriots
The Patriots typically thrive on special teams, an often-overlooked advantage for the six-time Super Bowl champions. Coach Bill Belichick seems to value continuity, but the Patriots also turned over at punter before the season, dumping Ryan Allen after six seasons in favor of rookie Jake Bailey of Stanford. Belichick praised Bailey in a radio appearance Monday.
ESPN reported Wednesday the Patriots worked out a number of free agents to replace Gostkowski — including Nugent and Kai Forbath, who emerged as finalists. Nugent was the pick. The 37-year-old has spent time with seven NFL franchises, including the Oakland Raiders, for whom he briefly played last season.
“Whoever the next guy is that comes in here, he doesn’t need to try to be Steve or try to be Adam Vinatieri; he just needs to be himself,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “He’ll be here for a reason and that reason will be because Coach Belichick thinks he’s going to give us the best chance to help this team win games. We’ll support him. We’ll do what we can to help him adjust.”
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