With some down time before training camp, we're conducting our annual, position-by-position examination of the Patriots roster. Today: specialists.
Locks: Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Joe Cardona *
Bubble: Christian Yount
Long shots: None
BREAKDOWN: There's virtually no suspense at all here. Gostkowski remains one of the NFL's best placekickers, and the team rewarded him with a four-year contract last July. Allen is a capable punter and Gostkowski's sure-handed holder for placekicks. There's no competition for either man's job. The only reason there's an asterisk next to Cardona's name is because the United States Naval Academy grad is once again trying to get permission from the military to work both jobs. All indications are that he'll get the OK, but just in case he doesn't, Yount is around. Otherwise, it's Cardona's job.