Catching up with Zoltan Mesko
March, 9, 2012
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com
ATTLEBORO, Mass. -- Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko, who enters his third NFL season in 2012, read to fourth-grade students at the Hill-Roberts Elementary School this morning.
The appearance through the Patriots' "Celebrate Volunteerism" campaign provided an opportunity to catch up with Mesko, who finished third in the NFL in net punting in 2011.
"I love doing this stuff, especially now during the offseason where I have all the time in the world," said the personable Mesko, who donned his blue No. 14 Patriots jersey. "I do a little relaxing and come here, and go to different places where we can affect the community in a positive way."
Mesko just returned from Hawaii, where he had surprised his parents with a trip.
He plans to take part in some offseason clinics as an instructor, time in which he said he can fine-tune his own technique heading into the team's offseason program, which starts April 16.
"Sometimes that's an eye-opener itself, because they say we remember 10 percent of the things we say, 20 percent of the things we write, but 90 percent of the things we teach," he said. "We always go over the fundamentals at the camps that I attend. Those are good things to kind of reiterate the technique, because physically we're practically maxed out as players. So there is not much to gain there. But as far as technique goes, you can always improve, just like a golfer."
Mesko was one of the Patriots' more consistent performers in 2011, his 41.5 net ranking third in the NFL during the regular season and his 46.5 average ranking 11th. He had 24 punts inside the 20, with three touchbacks.
"I had great coverage, so the average wasn't a product of myself alone. It was a combination of great protection I had, great coverage I had, and the great snaps that I received," he said. "As far as individually, I thought I improved, but there is still a lot of room for improvement in the little minute things that I need to do."
Mesko cited placement of his punts as one example.
As for this offseason, and bouncing back from the Super Bowl loss, Mesko said: "It definitely hurt to experience that. At the same time, it's a never-ending pursuit of perfection, and we will try again, and again, and again. If we can get up 20 times and fall down 19, that's all that matters. ...
"You have to move on. I'd rather be there, just like Tom [Brady] said. I'd rather be there every year and lose than not be in it. You always want a shot at it, even if it's a 10 percent chance of success. It's worth it. That's when you know you're living life, giving it your all, and you have no regrets."