Patriots’ punting operation about to look drastically different vs Jets
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 06: Jake Bailey #7 of the New England Patriots reacts after a bad punt during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on December 06, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
The New England Patriots have to go at least the next four weeks with a new punter. They’re placing Jake Bailey on injured reserve with a back injury, as first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates (with some foreshadowing from Mike Reiss).
Who is the Patriots’ new punter? That would be veteran Michael Palardy, whom the team recently signed to the practice squad. Palardy is now signed to the 53-man roster.
There’s a good reason why the Patriots’ punting operation will look markedly different than what we’re used to seeing with Bailey: Palardy, as you can see in the photo below, is a left-footed punter. So, not long after Palardy helped the Pats get ready for the Colts’ Matt Haack, he’s back in real game action as the primary option in New England.
Palardy may be a familiar name to fans of several different franchises. The 30-year-old went undrafted in 2014, before spending time with the Raiders, Rams, Panthers, Ravens, Colts, Browns, and Falcons, and even the Toronto Argonauts for a time, for two-plus years. He finally made his NFL debut in 2016 in his second stint in Carolina, and played every game from 2017-19. He tore his ACL during 2020 camp and missed the entire season, then spent 2021 in Miami. Palardy signed to New England’s practice squad in October.
Michael Palardy punted for the Dolphins in 2021. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Bailey had been struggling in recent weeks, bottoming out with 38.7 yards per punt in Week 9 against the Colts. He didn’t appear on the injury report until Week 11 with his back injury, but it’s fair to wonder if he tried playing through something and either aggravated it or ran out of gas. Whatever was ailing Bailey, it resulted in a far cry from his First Team All-Pro season in 2020.
In addition to Bailey, the Pats placed defensive tackle Christian Barmore on IR ahead of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. Barmore will end up missing at least eight weeks with a knee injury, but would be eligible to return as soon as Week 15. Same with Bailey.
Elsewhere on the Patriots’ injury report: LB Anfernee Jennings (back), WR DeVante Parker (knee), and LB Josh Uche (hamstring) are all listed as questionable; safety Kyle Dugger (ankle), and CB Jonathan Jones and DL DaMarcus Mitchell (illnesses) were all removed from Friday’s injury report of the week. The Jets have already ruled WR Corey Davis (knee) and DT Sheldon Rankins (elbow) out.
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