The normally reliable Dolphins placekicker had a difficult start to the season and after he regained his Pro Bowl form had to watch the last two games from the sidelines because of a groin injury.
The new year, though, already has gotten off to a good start for Carpenter.
Carpenter and his wife, Kaela, recently found out she was pregnant with the couple’s first child. The baby is due sometime in August.
By that time, Carpenter will be with his teammates in training camp working to recapture the groove that helped him finish the 2012 season with a flurry.
The former University of Montana standout really has good reason to be very excited about the 2013 season.
“I’m always excited to start a new season,” Carpenter told Dolphins.com at the recent Kiting with Kids and Fins community event. “You never know. Everyone is the exact same when you start. Everyone is 0-0. It’s exciting to start a new season and get an opportunity to play with some new guys, see some new faces and play with some of the old ones as well.”
The Dolphins have brought in no training camp competition the last couple of years for their terrific kicking game trifecta of Carpenter, punter
“I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin said at the NFL League Meetings. “Certainly, it’s possible. Again, we have to see how the roster shapes. This year, we didn’t bring in anybody. I don’t know about years before but this year we didn’t. We would consider anything. We’re not at that stage yet where we’re making those kind of decisions, but we’re looking at everybody. We’re certainly looking at all the kickers that are coming out and we’ll see how that shakes out.”
Veteran Nate Kaeding finished out last season as the kicker for the Dolphins after Carpenter had to be placed on injured reserve with a leg injury, but he’s an unrestricted free agent and Carpenter is again the only kicker on the roster.
Whether that changes or not before late July isn’t something that occupies Carpenter’s mind very much.
“I’m prepared to go up against someone every camp,” Carpenter said. “Whether someone’s here or not, it’s not going to change what I do or how I approach every day.”
When he’s on his game, Carpenter simply is one of the best at his position.
Even during his uncharacteristic slow start last season when he missed four of his first 10 attempts, the misses were from 53, 51, 48 and 47 yards — not exactly chip shots. In his last nine games, Carpenter made 16 of 17 attempts, the only miss a 50-yard try at Buffalo.
“It was rough to start with, for sure,” Carpenter said. “Obviously, I didn’t start like I wanted. Obviously, (the end) is kind of what I figured the season would be like the whole year. That’s what I’m going off of.
“That’s what I want to be like every year, the second half here.”
There’s really no reason Carpenter can’t pick where he left off. The injury is now a thing of the past, with the rehab completed after he did some kicking.
No matter what happens, 2013 will be a year to remember for Carpenter. No doubt he’d love to make it even more memorable with a big year on the field.