Patriots look to 'eliminate bad plays' in punting game

Patriots look to 'eliminate bad plays' in punting game
August 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
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FOXBORO – It was a bleak outing for the Patriots punt team Friday against the Eagles.

A punt block on Ryan Allen’s first attempt after a missed block by long snapper Tyler Ott (since released) and a bungled snap by Allen later in the first half brought that normally sound part of the Patriots special teams into the spotlight.

“Obviously the punt team, every play was a problem,” said Bill Belichick on Monday. “The execution, coverage, lane discipline. … Definitely could be better no question and the punting game was our biggest problem. There were some good in other parts of the game but not…still plenty of room for improvement (on the punt team).”

Allen, who unseated veteran Zoltan Mesko in camp last summer, was a little less than his customary upbeat self Monday after practice.

A goal on Monday was, “definitely going through my preparations more smoothly” Allen acknowledged. 

As for Friday night, Allen said he “wanted to speed things up after my first rep in Friday night’s game (the blocked punt). Going into halftime, I rushed things a little bit (on the mishandled snap) and I think I put a little too much in my head, a checklist of what to do when I was out there and the biggest thing is clear your head and stick to your technique. It was a good learning process and coming out here and fixing it.”

Belichick isn’t terribly tolerant of missteps but he did point out that now is the time to have issues brought to the fore. 

“That’s what preseason games are for,” he explained. “We had an interception for a touchdown, he had a punt block, breakdowns on defense. Those things happen in preseason. That’s what preseason is for is to get them fixed. Had some in practice in different phases of the game. We know we’re not there yet and we just gotta eliminate those bad plays. We had fewer this week than we had the first week against Washington. But there were still issues, sure.”

Allen does not want to be a repeat offender.

“We want to be as clean as possible in the situational part of the game,” he stated. “We can come in very handy or we can be very costly at times too.”