New England Patriots News: Alfonzo Dennard, Ryan Allen


New England Patriots starting second-year cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was able to return to practice today, albeit on a limited basis once again, after missing out on Friday’s preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Fellow CB Ras-I Dowling also returned, and both of their absences gave the younger guys some reps at corner. The Patriots are faced with losing Dennard for a few games to start the season, and their depth at the position could be really tested if the chronically injured Dowling misses time once again.

New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard runs during minicamp at the practice fields of Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

According to CSNNE, Alfonzo Dennard’s DUI hearing has been rescheduled to the eighth of October, but he will still have to appear in court on the 27th of this month for his probation revocation hearing. Prosecutors in Lincoln are trying to revoke his probation for assaulting a police officer prior to the 2012 draft, and a successful revocation would lead to immediate jail time for Dennard.

The New England Patriots have several position battles, and one of the more underrated ones is at punter where two lefties are duking it out. Zoltan Mesko has been a solid punter for the Patriots for a few seasons, but he is coming off of a down year by his standards. More importantly, the accurate punter doesn’t have contractual terms on his side, as Ryan Allen would be the cheaper option and doesn’t have just a one-year deal.

Both he and Mesko have been in a neck-and-neck competition, with the only discernible differences being that Mesko gets better hangtime whereas the back-to-back Ray Guy winner at Louisiana Tech has the more powerful leg. A close competition favors Allen more than Mesko due to finances, which dictate the NFL more than the dependability of a punter like Mesko. It is possible that Mesko keeps his job and Allen finds himself on the practice squad to take over for Mesko in 2014, but it is more likely that the loser ends up being the starting punter for another team. And yes, Ryan Allen is fully legitimate.

Bill Belichick believes that Allen still has some work to do as a holder but has been “OK” in that regard, and he also had this to say about the competition, “I think he’s had a solid spring and training camp. It’s a competitive situation.”

“He does a lot of good things. Like everybody, we’re all striving for more consistency. He’s had some good plays, good punts [and] he’s very competitive.”

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