In his second season with the Patriots, Jake Bailey has built on a solid rookie year and has emerged as one of the top young punters in the league. Coming off a season-best 71-yard punt against the Rams, Bailey has helped flipped field position all season long, with the Patriots coming in with the second-best punt team in the league this season in DVOA.
Bailey was quick to spread the credit to his teammates.
"I just treat every game I get to play with this team as such a privilege," said Bailey. "I really think we have some of the best special teamers -- kicker, snapper, all assembled into one team. It's just been a huge blessing for me to play with them because it makes my job really easy."
A season after averaging 44.9 yards-per-punt and dropping the second-most punts inside the opponents 20-yard line (36), Bailey has seen his average jump to 48.8, while still being tied for fourth in the league with 23 punts inside the 20.
"I think anytime you go into year two, you're a little bit more comfortable with the whole process of being a professional football player," said Bailey. "Again, I can't understate how nice it is for me to play with these guys on special teams. It makes my job so easy and any success I have is a credit to them."
"I think Jake is as good as a punter as there is in the National Football League with some of the things he's able to do," Matthew Slater said after Bailey's performances in Los Angeles. "Obviously, his leg strength and hang time give us a huge boost when you talk about flipping the field. I thought he did that as well tonight as he's done all year long. He's been so consistent for us."
Bailey has also handled kickoffs this season, rounding himself into another versatile Patriot who can contribute in a number of ways.
"It's the same plan every week," said Bailey, keeping things simple. "Keep the ball out of the returner's hands, limit the returner's yardage and try to help field position as much as possible."
Webex Quotes of Note
Cam Newton to WEEI on the importance of complementary football:
"Any time you look at an offense and you're saying 'you had a lot of three-and-outs, you had a lot of opportunities missed. The defense upheld their end of the bargain.' But at the end of the day, we play the most ultimate team sport. That's football. We need all three phases to be in cahoots at the same time, offensively and defensively and special teams. And anytime that opportunity lax then you're going to have what you have seen on Thursday.
David Andrews on Brian Flores and the Miami defense:
"Flo's a great coach. Guys are drawn to him buying into him a lot, you could see that toward the end of last year and obviously this year how they're playing. They're a tough, physical team and an aggressive defense that's really challenging. Got a lot of different guys they can use in different roles so it's gonna be a challenge playing them, the second division games are always harder too. We've got to a heck of a challenge on our hands."
Terez Hall on how being a Patriots fan prepared him to meet with the coaching staff originally:
"It was funny sometimes but it was serious most of the time. Coming here, this was my favorite team so I'm looking at all the coaches, I knew everybody in the coaching staff, I knew them when they were players, I knew Coach Bill. I watched the whole thing, all the Super Bowls. What I remember from it is how serious and how organized the coaching staff was. And the thing about it I had to be on my p's and q's, just more so being organized myself, being firm on the questions and answering the questions, showing them that I know what I'm talking about, that I'm here to play.