Patriots May Be Searching for a New Punter

Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko injured his knee Sunday during the game against the San Diego Chargers when James Ihedigbo was blocked into him. Mesko’s injury was serious enough for Bill Belichick to go for it on 4th & 4 in the 4th quarter, and Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston noted that Mesko looked “uncomfortable” at Jerod Mayo’s charity event Monday night. While it’s still early in the week, the Patriots are weighing their options and dealing with the fact that they may have to sign a new punter, at least temporarily, to fill in for Mesko. That would mean cutting a player on the roster at a position that has a higher “value” because Mesko’s injury is likely not long-term, so he would have to remain on the roster. That cut player could very likely wind up elsewhere after being released, which then means the Pats will have to make another pick-up, or promote someone from the practice squad, when Mesko is ready to return.

Here are some names being kicked around as possible Mesko replacements, including their career stats:

  • Matt Dodge: Averaged 44.8 yards per punt with a net of 34.8 yards. Formerly played  for the New York Giants.
  • Nick Harris: Averaged 42.5 yards per punt with a net of 35.5 yards. Formerly played  for the Detroit Lions.
  • Robert Malone: Averaged 41.5 yards per punt with a net of 36.5 yards. Formerly played  for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Ben Graham: Averaged 44.2 yards per punt with a net of 37.8 yards. Formerly played  for the Arizona Cardinals.
Numbers are only one piece of the punter pie, so don’t get too wrapped up in the stats. Other factors, such as ability to execute directional kicks, handling wind conditions, what they do when they’re backed up in the end zone, even possibly holding for Stephen Gostkowski, all factor into the decision on which punter to sign.


Stay tuned.


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Tags: New England Patriots NFL Patriots Injuries Patriots Personnel Moves Zoltan Mesko

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