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Position Analysis: Specialists

Posted Mar 10, 2014

We wrap up our position-by-position breakdown with a look at the Patriots specialists.


Specialists (3)
Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski (9th year)
Punter: Ryan Allen (2nd year)
Long snapper: Danny Aiken (4th year)

Not a tremendous amount of intrigue here with Stephen Gostkowski coming off the best season of his career and Ryan Allen turning in a solid rookie season at punter. Danny Aiken was set to become a restricted free agent but reportedly signed a one-year deal last week to remain with the team. Given those facts it's unlikely the Patriots will be making any changes with their specialists.

Gostkowski was tremendous throughout the season. He connected on 38 of 41 field goals and all 44 of his PATs. He also recorded 65 touchbacks on the season, trailing only Denver's Matt Prater in that department. He's entering the final year of his contract and could be a candidate for an extension given how well he performed a year ago.

Allen was steady throughout his rookie campaign and finished 14th in the league with a 45.9-yard average and 16th with a 39.9-yard net average. While those numbers aren't spectacular, he generally came through when called upon while also displaying good hands serving as Gostkowski's holder.

Aiken had some shaky moments during the season but none of his snaps led to a negative play until the divisional playoffs against Indianapolis. That night he sent one over Allen's head on a punt and the result was a safety late in the second quarter. Otherwise when his snaps weren't perfect they were good enough to be handled without incident.

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