The 2020 New England Patriots special teams unit was one of the best in the NFL in 2020 and three members were recognized for their successful year last week.
On Friday, punter Jake Bailey and punt returner Gunner Olszewski were named to the AP 2020 All Pro First-Team and Matthew Slater was named to the AP’s All-Pro Second-Team.
Bailey, who also earned his first Pro Bowl honor in 2020, 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 meanwhile led the NFL in punt return average (17.3 yards), punt returns (1) and punt return yards (346).
Over the final six games of the season, Olszewski returned 16 punts for 316 yards and a 19.75 return average. Olszewski led the NFL with a 17.3 average overall and had more 40-plus returns (3) than anyone.
In week 13 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Olszewski scored his first career punt return touchdown.
That’s wassup ! Appreciate my teammates and my family . Wouldn’t be here without em pic.twitter.com/hJTB04hw0M
— Gunner Olszewski (@Gunnerolszewsk1) January 8, 2021
Lastly, special teams captain Matthew Slater earned his second selection to the AP Second-Team, a first since 2017. Over his career, Slater has earned five AP First-Team honors to go along with nine Pro Bowl invitations.
Heading into 2021, Bailey and Olszewski will look to continue their dominance into their third pro season’s on special teams while Slater’s NFL future, remains unknown at this time as he concluded his 13th season.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Gunner Olszewski Jake Bailey Matthew Slater