Could New York Giants head coach Joe Judge add former Patriot Stephen Gostkowski to the placekicker competition this summer?
As we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL is hopeful that within two months from now, teams will be able to report to training camp.
Despite not having any previous head coaching experience, Judge should be as equipped as any to handle the job. He spent the last eight seasons coaching under Bill Belichick as the New England Patriots specials teams assistant and coordinator, and last season, he added “wide receivers coach” to his resume.
This offseason, Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman have acquired several former Patriots that the head coach is familiar with — Cam Fleming, Nate Ebner, and Dion Lewis.
With that said, you have to wonder if he’ll bring in another ex-Patriot in placekicker Stephen Gostkowski to compete with Aldrick Rosas.
Gostkowski was a member of the Patriots from 2006-19 and converted 374-of-428 field-goal attempts. He additionally converted on 653-of-664 extra-point attempts. Gostkowski earned four Pro Bowl nods along with a spot on the 2010’s All-Decade Team, and more importantly, helped New England win three Super Bowls.
Nevertheless, after missing the final 12 games of last season due to a hip injury, the Patriots cut him in March. He currently remains unsigned.
Aside from his accolades and familiarity with Judge, the main reason why the young head coach may invite Gostkowski to camp is because of Rosas’ recent struggles.
After converting 32-of-33 field-goal attempts and earning both a Pro Bowl bid and a spot on the AP All-Pro second team in 2018, Rosas converted just 12-of-17 field-goal attempts last season while missing four extra-point attempts. There was a five-game span from Weeks 7-12 where he missed at least one kick in each game. Big Blue lost each of those matchups.
Having been a special teams coach in the past, nobody knows the importance of having solid play in that area more than Judge. Sometimes, games can be won or lost on special teams. Employing a placekicker you can trust and count on is imperative, especially when you factor how often games are decided by one possession.
If the Giants want to avoid a fourth consecutive season with double-digit losses, they’re going to need to be solid in all three phases of the game.
You have to believe that if Gostkowski is fully healed from his injury, Judge could be thinking about bringing him into camp to compete with Rosas.
Gostkowski turned 36 in January, but that isn’t exactly old for a placekicker. Not to mention, the veteran converted seven of his eight field-goal attempts in four games last season.
Competition can bring out the best in a player and team. If Judge brings in Gostkowski to go up against the 25-year-old Rosas, it will improve the Giants one way or another.