- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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While the majority of this week's interview with Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko was on his internship with a Philadelphia-based private equity fund, there was time for some football chatter.
One aspect that stood out was Mesko acknowledging that he hit the "rookie wall" last season.
“I remember the specific point where I was like ‘Wow, this is a long season.’ I actually hit it during the first half of the Green Bay game [on Dec. 19]," Mesko said.
That was the 14th regular-season game of 2010 and Mesko was facing a challenge he'd never encountered.
"I was like ‘You’ve come so far and you get here for a reason.’ I told myself that I had what it took to finish the season because I had never quit on anything. If I fell down, then I got back up. I kind of stick to my guns there in terms of adapting that formula to everything," he explained.
Mesko responded the next week with a strong performance in challenging Buffalo conditions, with three punts inside the 20, and a 41.2 yard average and net.
Overall, he was pleased with his first NFL season in which he finished with a 43.2 average, 38.4 net, with 19 punts inside the 10 and only 5 touchbacks.
“It was definitely a big learning curve. A lot was thrown at me. It took me a couple months to get used to the whole routine," he said. "I was very pleased with how I punted going into such a long stretch of a season, because it was a long season. I did hit that rookie wall, and I broke through it quickly enough to stay productive. I did have some lucky rolls, which I thank the man upstairs for. I had some great coverages by my teammates – Matt Slater, [Sergio] Brown, they were great. I can’t say enough with the coaching staff, they always kept me on the fence about things, to never become complacent.
"It was definitely a new experience for me. What I pride myself on is adapting quickly and I’m just very excited to take my lessons from the first year and put them to my second year and improve that much more. On the team, I’m really excited for the core group of guys we have coming back. The amount of talent that’s with the players and the coaches’ work ethic is what has made the New England Patriots a dominating franchise in the past decade. I’m very excited to be part of such a successful organization the following year.”