Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
Since everyone seems to be doing Patriots opinion questions these days, I’ve got one for you that’s probably original: Who is the best punter in Patriots history? That’s right, punter. Give the punter some respect! I’ve got Ryan Allen. You? – Pete B.
Well, if this isn’t a sign that your Sports Q submission has a darned good chance of running, I don’t know what is. Keep ‘em coming, people.
Actually, I like the question, because it’s kind of a tough one. Rich Camarillo, who punted for the Patriots from 1981-87 and made the Pro Bowl in ’83, was the choice on the franchise’s 50th anniversary team selected in 2009.
He might still be the choice, but the position has changed, and punters have become more and more effective through the years. Consider: In Camarillo’s 1983 season, he set a franchise record with an average of 44.6 yards per punt. That season now ranks 10th, with Zoltan Mesko’s 2011 average of 46.5 yards per punt in the top spot.
Ryan Allen, who eventually took Mesko’s job, has three of the top four seasons and five of eight.
In context of what was expected of punters at the time, the choice is probably still Camarillo. That’s who I’ll go with. But Allen – who actually may be in for a fight for his job this summer – has been the most successful punter they’ve had, and he’s come through in plenty of big games.
Honorable mention goes to Josh Miller, who played for the Patriots from 2004-06 and had a crucial punt the pinned the Eagles at the 4-yard-line late in Super Bowl XXXIX. Huge play. We should also note that Ken Walter wasn’t much of a punter, but he was a world-class holder during a couple of memorable Adam Vinatieri field goals.
What does everyone else think? Who is the best punter in Patriots history? I’ll hear you in the comments.