PATRIOTS SPECIAL TEAMS
Reliant on some old, young legs
Punter: Lee Johnson
Placekicker: Adam Vinatieri
Kick returner: J.R. Redmond
Punt returner: Troy Brown
Long snapper: Lonie Paxton (Backup: Jason Andersen)
Lee Johnson and Adam Vinatieri should continue in their roles. Johnson, who leads all active punters with 1,074 attempts, averaged 41.5 yards last season, but is now 38 years old. Vinatieri missed three makeable, game-winning field goals that could have turned the fortunes of the Patriots in 1999, but hit 26 of 33 field goals and ended the season with 107 points. Troy Brown is likely to remain as the team's primary punt returner (10.7 yard average), but if his role expands on the offense, look for Kevin Faulk or J.R. Redmond to take over.
Pretty nice story with Lonie Paxton. He's come out of nowhere and impressed with very precise snaps. He wouldn't have made the team had Lance Scott stayed healthy, but now the job is his. If you're a long snapper, you have a chance to play for a long, long time.