New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13: Nick Folk #6 of the New England Patriots kicks a point after try during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

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.

Patriots 2021 Positional Previews: Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Offensive Line | Defensive Line | Linebacker | Cornerback | Safety

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 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