Mesko optimistic about playing Sunday

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Mesko optimistic about playing Sunday

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
FOXBORO New England Patriots punter Zelton Mesko is feeling a lot better now than he did on Sunday when a teammate was pushed into his leg in the third quarter of New England's 35-21 win.

Feeling better is one thing.

Good enough to play?

You can file that one under 'wait-and-see' as the Patriots put the finishing touches on their preparation for Sunday's game at Buffalo.

Mesko was limited in practice on Friday, but the Patriots say he's questionable for Sunday's game.

He may not have the high profile position of quarterback or star receiver, but his value to the Patriots can not be overlooked.

New England faces a Buffalo Bills squad that has the highest-scoring offense (39.5 points per game) in the league, blending an efficient spread offense that's equally challenging on the ground or through the air.

Dealing with a team that explosive, the battle for field position becomes even more vital to success.

That's where Mesko comes in.

Although he's only averaging 39.5 yards on six punts, the Patriots understand all too well the impact he can make on a game.

And while it's still unclear if he'll play Sunday, the Pats would likely have kicker Stephen Gostkowski pull double-duty as the team's kicker and punter.

"I don't know," was Bill Belichick's response when asked about having Gostkowski handle both duties. "Whatever we do, we'll do what we think is best for the team. Whether that's to bring in a punter or not bring in a punter. However we handle the situation, we'll look at our options and try to pick the best one. The best one would be Zoltan doing what he's here to do. But if he can't do it, then we'll have to figure something else out."

The fact that Mesko did practice with the team on Friday was encouraging, but the ultimate decision on whether he'll play will come from the Belichick and medical team.

"I'm looking forward to helping the team out," Mesko said. "I'm going to do what it takes to get out there, and give it all I got."

Not only does Mesko punt for the Patriots, but he's also the holder for kicker Gostkowski.

After the injury occurred, Mesko did not kick again, but he did resume his role as holder.

"It was a weird feeling," he said of the injury. "I knew I had a duty to Steve and try to make it a go."

That was Mesko's mindset on Friday, which is similar to his approach to Sunday's game.

Feeling more like himself certainly bodes well for his chances of playing.

But Mesko, much like Patriots fans, will enter Sunday's game in 'wait-and-see' mode.

"I'm the eternal optimist," Mesko said.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

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