Patriots special teams just proved they are very much BACK this season

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders / Chris Unger/GettyImages

As the Patriots attempt to come back from a 14-point deficit against the Dolphins, there is some light at the end of the tunnel regarding one of their weakest units of the 2022 season: special teams.

The Patriots were known for having the best third unit in the National Football League for several years, which in turn emphasized the importance of special teams when building a legitimate team. It was clear improving that part of the game was a priority this offseason, as Bill Belichick moved Joe Judge from the position he filled last year as the quarterbacks coach and moved him back to where he has seen the most success.

The combination of Judge and Cam Achord appears to be working well so far and brings back some hope that New England won't be beaten solely due to the failures of the punting or kicking teams.

Fortunately, it appears the emphasis to improve has paid off, as Brenden Schooler impressively blocked a punt at the perfect time in the third quarter. It was a move that even commentators Cris Collinsworth and Mike Tirico flabbergasted.

The play swung momentum back in the Patriots' favor and set a successful start to their following drive.

It's another example of how important it is to have an overall well-rounded team, and it's apparent how beneficial Matthew Slater's mentorship to Schooler has been.

Because the long-trusted veteran is likely playing his final season in the NFL, seeing this kind of effort and execution from the second-year special teamer is exciting. It has the potential to help ease the pain a bit when Slater inevitably retires.

Since it is just the second week of the season, whether or not the special teams can keep this going for the next 16 weeks will surely be a focus for the team. With a much better unit from kicker and punter to those on the return teams, there's no reason we won't continue to see this kind of play from them from now on.