FOXBORO, Mass. — Two years in the past, Jake Bailey was a first-team All-Professional punter — the one finest participant within the NFL at his place.
To date this season, the numbers point out he’s been one of many worst.
Seven video games into the New England Patriots’ 2022 marketing campaign, Bailey ranks thirty first in common yards per punt and thirty second — lifeless final — in internet punting common. The superior stats paint an solely barely extra optimistic image. New England ranks twenty third in Soccer Outsiders’ punting DVOA, and Bailey is the NFL’s Twenty eighth-highest-graded punter by Professional Soccer Focus.
In final week’s blowout loss to the Chicago Bears, Bailey’s punts traveled 33, 36, 44 and 44 yards, with none of these impacted by New England’s area place. It has not been the beginning the Patriots have been hoping for after they signed the 2019 fifth-round draft choose to a four-year, $13.5 million contract extension earlier than the season that made him the league’s third-highest-paid punter by common annual worth. (Detroit’s Jack Fox later signed an extension that bumped Bailey right down to fourth on that record.)
Regardless of these struggles, Patriots particular groups coordinator Cam Achord gave Bailey a public vote of confidence Friday.
“Proper now, we’re working by some issues and every part, however Jake’s going to be OK,” Achord mentioned. “Jake’s a professional. We’ve seen Jake hit the freaking 5.0, 5.2(-second hangtime) 70-yard balls. These are nonetheless there. He nonetheless has all of the expertise proper now. Jake’s doing job in apply, and that’s the largest factor that we go off of. Each day in apply, that’s what we’re taking a look at, and so long as we’re exhibiting up on the market in apply, we’re going to work ahead.”
Achord mentioned the timing of Bailey’s punting movement hasn’t been an issue, however his “ball contact” has been spotty, leading to extra shanks than the crew is used to seeing from the standout specialist.