Saturday, August 24, 2013
Cleaning things up on punters
By Mike Reiss
On Friday, in sharing some leftover thoughts on the Patriots' loss to the Lions, the competition at punter between Zoltan Mesko and Ryan Allen was noted.
The official game stats had Mesko with four punts for 195 yards, with an average of 48.8 and a net of 43.0, and Allen with one punt for 53 yards and a 45.0 net.
Those were incorrect, and led to some confusion on this end.
After reviewing the game, and confirming the participation of the players involved (which was difficult to tell in a few cases on TV), Mesko actually had three punts and Allen two.
Given the competition between the two, every punt counts, so let's clean it up.
(1st quarter, 5:52 remaining) -- 48-yarder, excellent hang time, returned 6 yards to the Lions' 28.
(2nd quarter, 1:02 remaining) -- 47-yarder from the Patriots' end zone, adequate hang time, takes good bounce and is returned 2 yards to the Lions' 47.
(4th quarter, 8:45 remaining) -- Hits the ball well (47 yards) from deep in Patriots territory, with excellent hang time; returned 15 yards against backup coverage team.
(2nd quarter, 3:45 remaining) -- 53-yarder that was mishit but got the benefit of a good bounce, downed by Marquice Cole at the Lions' 13.
(3rd quarter, 10:14 remaining) -- 53-yarder hit well, with excellent hang time, returned 8 yards to the Lions' 37.
QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: Based on what we've seen in games, Mesko looks like he has the edge at this time. Bill Belichick has said the competition would be judged over time, with consistency a key factor. It looks like the plan was to rotate the punters on Thursday night, so little can be read into the number of attempts (the official game book had Mesko with 4 and Allen with 1). From this viewpoint, Allen has shown a little bit of a stronger leg, but Mesko's control and directional/situational punting has been a notch above.