Gostkowski could help squelch big kickoff returns

November, 4, 2009
11/04/09
8:41
AM ET

FOXBOROUGH -- As the Patriots prepare to face speedy Ted Ginn Jr. on kickoff returns, one weapon that shouldn't be overlooked is kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

Gostkowski ranks second in the NFL with 13 touchbacks, behind only the Cowboys' David Buehler (17).

"That's really the best coverage you can have, kick it out of the end zone," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday.

But Belichick also pointed out that kicking it deep comes with risk.

"When you kick it deep, that gives them the best opportunity to set up the timing on the return, as opposed to the ball coming down on the 10, the 15, the 8, the goal-line. You get that kick to the goal-line, that gives the return team the best opportunity to get it all timed up the way they work on it," he said.

In the locker room Wednesday, Gostkowski described his approach on kickoffs.

"Pretty much you want to condense the field, so you want to kick it right or left," he said. "I focus more on hang time than anything. A lot of times when I focus on hang time and hitting a good ball, it goes farther anyway. I never try to drive it through the end zone. I just try to make good contact and aim where I am trying to aim it, and give the 10 guys running their butts off the best chance to make a play inside the 25."

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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