FOXBORO, Mass. — Even though the Patriots are bringing along Stephen Gostkowski in a slow manner in training camp, the kicker said the goal is still to be ready to play in next week's preseason opener and every game thereafter.
Gostkowski has said he's fully ready to go after tearing his right quadriceps last season, but he hasn't yet participated in an entire practice in training camp. He has gradually attempted more field goals, but he hasn't taken a single kickoff through any of the team's first 11 practices, leaving that duty for backup Chris Koepplin.
Gostkowski, who made 5-of-7 field goals at the end of Friday's practice, sounds happy with his progress to this point.
"My goal is just to get on the field every day and do what I can and get better," Gostkowski said. "I just come in day to day, and they tell me what they want me to do. [The practice reps are] not up to me. It's up to them, so I'm just working hard to make sure I can get to where I'm on the field every day. Of course, I want to be ready to play in every game, and that's my goal, to be able to play in every game, every preseason game, every regular-season game. It's a day-to-day thing just trying to get better so I can do well when I can get into a game."
Gostkowski spent his offseason in Tennessee, where he worked out with a physical therapist. He typically spends the majority of his offseasons in New England, but the lockout forced him to adjust. He has also come a long way since he was first able to kick after the injury, using a soccer ball.
Special teams coordinator Scott O'Brien said Friday that Gostkowski had "no limitations" with what he's able to do on the field, and it's just part of the team's designated schedule.
One thing of note: O'Brien said it was important for Gostkowski to work on field goals right now because he needs to get his timing down with long snapper Matt Katula (and Rob Ninkovich, who has filled in through a chunk of camp) and holder Zoltan Mesko.
Gostkowski has been able to kick off on his own time, but he just hasn't done it yet with the full special teams crew. That will come in time.
"He’s going through his schedule," O'Brien said. "Every specialist tries to get a number of quality kicks after they warm up, which requires a lot of other kicks just to get ready to perform. He’s at his numbers, and he’s increasing his numbers like he would anytime."