Patriots 2021 Position Preview: Special teams should dominate again
While the Patriots had their faults last season, there were few if any to be found on their special teams unit. In just about every aspect of the kicking game, the Patriots were one of if not the best team in the league.
The highlight of the group was both punt units, kicking and returning. Jake Bailey was named a first-team All-Pro in just his second NFL season. He led the league with a net average of 45.6 yards per punt, with a league-best 56 percent of his punts being downed inside the 20. In 55 punts, he has 31 I-20s and just five touchbacks.
Bailey also put up strong numbers on kickoffs, allowing just 21.5 yards per return. Of course, both on punts and kickoffs, he was supported by an outstanding coverage team led by Matthew Slater, Justin Bethel and Cody Davis, all of whom return in 2021. The team will also get special teams ace Brandon Bolden back from his opt-out. Long snapper Joe Cardona also played a key role, and faces no internal competition in camp this year.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.