Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mesko prepared for 'healthy competition' in camp


In the NFL, ranking near the bottom of the league in your respective position will usually get you competition for your job in the offseason.

Such is the predicament of New England Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko, who will need to defend his spot on the roster after the team signed undrafted free agent punter Ryan Allen from Louisiana Tech University. (photo: Karen Cardoza, Flickr)

And at least at this stage, Mesko welcomes the pupil with open arms.

"If Ryan has any questions, I'll be happy to answer them," Mesko said, according to "Get him caught up to things."

Naturally, when the balls start getting kicked, Mesko hopes to assist the rookie in finding the door. But Allen will be no pushover; he won the Ray Guy Award in back-to-back seasons, given each year to the nations best collegiate punter. Such a feat has not been accomplished since 2000.

Mesko, in the meantime, ranked a putrid 29th in average yards per kick in 2012. Though not the true measure of a punter's skill, Pro Football Focus has not ranked Mesko higher than 17th in any of his three seasons.

His job on the team is in jeopardy, but Mesko will be going into the competition with a level head.

"I'll control what I can control," Mesko said. "It's healthy competition and that's what got us here in the first place. So I welcome whatever the coaches feel is best for me."

The competition may not be the most compelling one during New England's training camp, but has the prize of perhaps the cushiest job in all of sports: punting for a Tom Brady-led offense.

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