With training camp set to begin July 27, we'll take a snapshot look at each position on the Patriots' roster, starting with a quick chart, then following that up with a list of each player at the position. The defensive line (Wednesday), offensive line (Thursday) and linebackers (Friday) have been covered. Today, we look at the specialists:
|STRENGTH||Kickoffs. Stephen Gostkowskiís powerful leg resulted in 12 touchbacks last season, ranking fifth in the AFC.|
|WEAKNESS||Health. Last yearís starting punter, 37-year-old Josh Miller, is coming back from a shoulder injury that ended his 2006 season after 10 games.|
|TOP QUESTION||Will Josh Miller hold off a challenge from youngsters Danny Baugher and Tom Malone for the punting job?|
|FUTURE||The Patriotsí complete operation returns for a second straight year, with placekicker Stephen Gostkowski (contract through 2009), punter Josh Miller (2008) and long snapper Lonie Paxton (2007).|
EXTRA POINTS: The Patriots have assigned linebacker Chad Brown jersey No. 98. That is the same number Brown wore in his first two stints with the Patriots. ... Wide receiver Jonathan Smith, who was waived by the Patriots on Thursday, has been claimed by the Bills. The Jets had also put in a waiver claim on Smith, but Smith was awarded to the Bills because they had priority (worse 2006 record).