There are several reasons behind the New England Patriots' disappointing 3-4 start, but at least they're taking steps to address one of them.
No, we're not talking about the quarterback controversy between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. We're talking about the team's punting situation, which has been pretty underwhelming this year thanks to Jake Bailey's mediocre performance.
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Once a strength, New England's punting game has become a weakness. Two years after earning All-Pro status, Bailey is averaging a career-low 43.2 yards per punt -- well below his career mark of 46.7 coming into the season. Bailey's been more bad than good this year, averaging less than 42 yards per punt in four of his seven games this season.
After Bailey's latest poor performance during the team's blowout loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, the Patriots are finally considering alternatives. It was reported on Thursday that New England is expected to explore other options by working out free-agent punters this week.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, the Patriots could opt to sign a punter to their practice squad and elevate him to the active roster if necessary. That could be a worthwhile move, as Bailey's poor punts have been costing New England on the margins.
Bailey and the Patriots will try to bounce back on Sunday against the New York Jets. New England is currently listed as a 2.5-point road favorite for this AFC East clash on FanDuel Sportsbook's NFL odds.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.