Recently, Pro Football Focus ranked all of the special teams units in the NFL. Where did the New England Patriots rank?
The New England Patriots have been one of the best teams in the NFL for many years now, as their consistency is unprecedented. While a lot of the attention will go to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick for that success, football is a team game, and plenty of other good players have come through New England.
Early on in the dynasty, it was Adam Vinatieri who was the hero for them. If not for some clutch kicks from Vinatieri, the Patriots might not have the dynasty that they do today. Since then, the Patriots have always stressed the importance of special teams.
This season, the Patriots did see the unit surprisingly struggle at times. Recently, Pro Football Focus released their final rankings for all 32 NFL teams special teams units. For the Patriots, they came in ranked at 13th. Here’s what they had to say about the special teams for the Patriots.
"While special teams are normally in the plus column for Bill Belichick and the Pats, they were let down a bit against the Eagles in the Super Bowl, with Stephen Gostkowski missing an extra point and a field goal (the latter coming after a bad snap). Ryan Allen was our second-lowest graded punter this season, averaging just 43.4 gross and 40.5 net on 58 regular season punts."
Against the Eagles in the Super Bowl, the special teams certainly let the Patriots down. Gostkowski missing an extra point and then the missed field goal after the poor snap. Losing points certainly had an effect on the game, as leaving points on the table is never a good thing.
Even though the special teams were not ranked as well as they usually are, the Patriots were still able to have a great season. One area that the Patriots might look to improve is at punter, as Ryan Allen did not have a very good season. As one of the lowest graded punters in the league, the Patriots could look to replace him.
As they head into the offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the Patriots look to bolster their special teams unit, as it has been an underrated part of their success all of these years.