Training Camp Preview: Special Teams

Stephen Gostkowski

A closer look at the roster as training camp arrives. In this part of the series we look at the special teams.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
K Stephen Gostkowski, P Zoltan Mesko, LS Danny Aiken, PR Julian Edelman, KR Danny Woodhead.

Gostkowski was strong in 2011 as he returned from a torn quad to hit 28 of 33 field-goal attempts, including 10 of 13 from 40-plus yards. His strong leg also helps out on kickoffs, where he ranked tied for fourth in the AFC and 10th in the NFL.

Mesko made huge jumps in his second season, finished third in the NFL in net average. He's only getting better and becoming more of a weapon for a team whose defense can use all the help it can get from the kicking game.

Aiken was solid as an undrafted rookie after joining the team during the year. The versatile Edelman has developed into a solid force on punt returns, finishing 11th in the NFL with a 10.7-yard average that included a 72-yard touchdown in 2011.

Woodhead was the leader of a kickoff return unit that really struggled last fall. He finished 25th in the league with a 21.9-yard average and is the least secure of the specialists. Belichick has given a number of different players chances on kickoffs this spring and that will continue into the summer. Vereen, McCourty or others could be options to replace Woodhead as the primary returner

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