New England Patriots rookie punter Ryan Allen beat incumbent Zoltan Mesko in training camp, and his excellent leg and cheap price tag were the two main reasons why. Mesko has been cut from the Pittsburgh Steelers since and currently plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, and it’s clear that Allen isn’t just cheaper and younger than Mesko; he’s also better.
Allen, who was a two-time Ray Guy winner at Louisiana Tech, has had a terrific rookie campaign for the Patriots, but he did suffer an injury in yesterday’s win over the Indianapolis Colts. Long snapper Danny Aiken totally muffed a snap in the second quarter, and the ball sailed well over Allen’s head. The punter chased down the ball in the end zone and secured it for a safety, but he injured his shoulder on the play and was subbed out after the safety free kick. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski became the punter, and he actually did well in his stead. While the Patriots could survive without Allen, it would definitely be a tough loss and another injury to add to the Patriots running total.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Allen will undergo an MRI on his shoulder today, but nothing is expected to be broken. That said, other shoulder injuries that don’t include breaks- such as SC and AC sprains- can cause players to miss a week. I don’t anticipate Allen missing any time, but his status is in question.