Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that the prevailing thought is that the Patriots' next kicker, whether it's Martin Gramatica or someone else, is in a virtual no-win situation. "I don't see it as a no-win because Adam has moved on. I have a lot of respect for Adam. But we all know that he's moved on. That's how the NFL is. Sometimes you just can't keep guys that you want. I'm sure New England didn't want to let him go because he's a top-of-the-line kicker, but sometimes you just have to do certain things. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to kick in the NFL again. I'm just very excited for the chance. I don't see it as a no-win situation, because if I go in there and do my job everything should work out," Gramatica said on a conference call yesterday. A native of Argentina who came to the United States when he was 10, Gramatica spent all six of his years in the NFL with the Buccaneers, but he said he has no special concerns about kicking in cold weather.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that kicker Martin Gramatica will have to be markedly better than the last time he played in the NFL during the 2004 season. Gramatica was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in November of that season after missing 18 field goals over the previous 27 games. Aside from kickoff duty for Indianapolis later that year, he has been out of work since. Gramatica, who got the call from the Pats last week while his wife was giving birth to their first child, fully understands he'll have to win the job in camp. "We really haven't talked about that, but I believe there will be somebody else in camp to compete against. It happens with most teams," he said. "Unless you have a proven guy - I'm sure the last few years Adam didn't have to compete with anybody - most jobs you have to compete for."
Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant and Tom Curran of the Providence Journal write that in August 1999, Martin Gramatica was a rookie kicker for the Buccaneers when he met Adam Vinatieri during pregame warm-ups. The Buccaneers were hosting the Patriots in an exhibition in Tampa, Fla. "There were a few veterans that didn't even talk to you," Gramatica recalled. "He was one of the nice ones. I'm a huge fan of Adam." And now he'll try to replace Vinatieri, the greatest clutch kicker in NFL history. A no-win situation? Gramatica, who has yet to hear his first cheer or boo in a Patriots uniform, said he doesn't see it that way.
Leading up to the NFL Draft, the Providence Journal's Tom Curran will profile a player at a "need" position for the Patriots each day. New England has 10 picks in the draft, six in the first four rounds. Their first-round pick is the 21st overall. Today Curran profiles Clemson cornerback Tye Hill.
USA Today's "Inside Slant" writes that in their search to replace "Automatic" Adam Vinatieri, the Patriots have turned to Martin Gramatica, who used to be "Automatica" before a series of injuries sabotaged his career. Without a kicker since Vinatieri's stunning free-agent defection to the Colts last month, the Patriots' first step in filling the void was welcoming Gramatica, a 30-year-old native of Argentina, back to the NFL. The former Bucs star, who earned a Super Bowl XXXVII ring with Tampa Bay, sat out the 2005 season recovering from surgery to repair two abdominal tears on his right side.
Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes. Reiss reports in his blog that the Patriots hosted Fresno State cornerback Richard Marshall on a pre-draft visit at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. The visit was confirmed by Marshall's agent, Steve Feldman. Reiss also offers his latest Patriots mailbag.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.