Perhaps the most important positional group, the special teams unit for the New England Patriots has consistently been one of the better groups in the league during head coach Bill Belichick’s tenure in New England. While it may be considered the most “boring” out of the traditional offensive, defensive, and special teams units, it may be the most important.
Special teams players have the ability to change the momentum of the game more so than any offensive or defensive player. The explosive returns, clutch field goals, and the defense of both of those often become key points in almost every NFL game. The punter for the New England Patriots, Ryan Allen, knows better than anyone that allowing a team to make a key special teams play can completely change the tide of the game, regardless of the score. As the Patriots’ punter, his job is to make sure that doesn’t happen.
As an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech, rookie Ryan Allen joined the New England Patriots ahead of the 2013 season. During training camp and the preseason, Allen established himself as the best punter on the team, and won himself the starting job that he has been able to keep for all four of his seasons in the NFL.
He has been able to keep healthy as well, playing in every game of the season each year. He has also been able to play in key postseason games, notably last season’s Super Bowl victory against the Atlanta Falcons.
Punting statistics are one of the most overlooked stat lines in the NFL, but Ryan Allen’s accolades and stats show that he is not just some average punter that the Patriots keep around.
Throughout his career, Allen has punted the ball 287 times, averaging 47.5 yards per punt, a 9.1 touchback percentage, and a 37.6 inside 20 percentage, meaning that out of the 287 punts, 108 of them have landed inside the 20 yards line. Allen also has been naed the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice in his career, first in week 14 of the 2014 season, and then again this past year in week 3 of 2016.
This Oregon native may not be the best punter in the NFL, but he can hold his own with the best of them, which shows by the lack of legitimate competition brought in by the Patriots. Allen is here to stay, and, at just 27 years old, it would not be surprising to see Allen as part of the team for years to come.
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