The Patriots placed two second-year special teamers on the AP 2020 All-Pro First Team, as both punter Jake Bailey and punt returner Gunner Olszewski were named to the roster, while Matthew Slater was named to the AP's second team.
Bailey, who also made the Pro Bowl, finished the season with a 48.7 yards-per-punt average, fourth in the league, while putting 31 punts inside the 20-yard line, second-best in the league. Bailey improved his punt average by 3.8 yards and set a new career-long with a 71-yard punt against the Rams. He also performed almost all kickoffs (72) for the team.
Olszewski came on strong at the end of the season, finishing with the best punt return average in the league. That was powered by a hot streak against the Cardinals, Chargers and Rams. A week after seeing his first punt return for a touchdown called back against the Cardinals, Olsewski responded with a 70-yarder that would stand in Los Angeles, putting an exclamation point on the hot streak.
He finished off the final six games of the 2020 season with 16 punt returns for 316 yards and a whopping 19.75 return average. He led the league with a 17.3 average overall and had more 40-plus returns (3) than anyone.
Slater was once again the heart and soul of the Patriots team, and a dominant force for the best special teams in the NFL, highlighted by the selection of three Patriots. This is his second time on the second team (2017) while he has been a five-time first-teamer (2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2019).
Bailey and Olszewski are two bright spots and building blocks who took big steps forward in their sophomore seasons and should only gain more confidence with their first All-Pro nods.