The Patriots are always looking for ways to improve their roster and build the bottom of the depth chart, this week was no different when they brought in 5 players for workouts.
In addition to DB Alex Carter, P Matt Darr and G Cole Toner, Patriots also had T Storm Norton and DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa in for tryouts.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 9, 2017
For the most part, this is a group of players that Belichick is looking as potential practice squad or emergency signings. Darr is the most interesting name, getting released on final cutdowns after losing his job to a rookie. Curiously, the other 4 players are at positions where the Patriots have some questionable depth although none of these players will likely make an impact on the 53-man roster.
Ryan Allen came into the season with no competition because of his reliability the last 3 seasons in that role. However, a weak start to the season has the Patriots potentially looking at ways to improve their field position game. I think personally this is a message for the Patriots punter to improve his game. I don’t think his job is in jeopardy right now, especially when considering how well the field goal unit has also performed with him as the holder.
In 2017, Allen has punted the ball 22 times. He’s averaging about 38.5 net yards per punt, pinned Patriots opponents inside the 20 7 times, and had 1 punt go into the end zone. Opponents also averaged a paltry 5.0 yards per return when returning punts. Last year, 27 of 72 punts were not returned or marked down in the end zone. This year, that number is 8 of 22, with 13 return attempts for 100 yards (7.7 yards/return). The Patriots spent the first 4 games without their special teams ace, so teams may be more willing to take a chance on the return.