We have entered the deepest depths of the NFL offseason. Free agency and the draft are behind us, while minicamp and training camp won't start until early June and late July, respectively.
However, while the football world seemingly turns slower these days it does not stop. After all, by late August, each team has to start making its roster cuts. Until then, players have to secure their spots on the team; they need to do their jobs (well) or someone else will.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we will take a look at the men fighting for those spots on the 2016 New England Patriots. Today, we'll continue this series with punter Ryan Allen.
Name: Ryan Allen
Jersey number: 6
Size: 6'2, 220 lbs.
2015 review: After signing a three-year contract extension last offseason, Allen proved why the team invested in him by being a solid and very consistent punter in 2015. He attempted the 18th most punts in the NFL last year; his 46.0 yard average per punt ranked 13th in league, while his net average of 39.9 ranked 16th.
Allen's overall numbers are far from spectacular but, for the third straight season, he was able to improve his kicking performance, be it in terms of hang-time, consistency or ball-placement: while he had 12 touchbacks in his 2013 rookie season, he had six in 2014 and only three this season.
Furthermore, Allen is an integral member of the Patriots' field goal and extra point operation. Together with kicker Stephen Gostkowski and rookie long snapper Joe Cardona, Allen helped make 92 of 96 attempts (95.8%).
2016 preview: Thanks to his recent contract extension and modest $1.7 million cap hit, Ryan Allen will be the Patriots' punter in 2016. If he continues to improve his kicking, the 26-year old might very well become one of the top punters in the game next season.
While Allen is an unspectacular punter, he does his job well. He is consistent while having both the leg strength and accuracy to pin opponents deep into their own territory. Hopefully, though, he won't have too many opportunities in 2016 to showcase his skills.