The Patriots like to build competition at all roster spots, but the punter position is especially important. After last year's starter, Chris Hanson turned in a pedestrian performance (statistically), New England special teams coach Brad Seely found himself in the market for another punter. The team had three punters in camp last year, Danny Baugher, Tom Malone and incumbent Josh Miller. Miller was released, then Malone with Baugher the last man standing. After an abrupt turn of events, Baugher was released just before the start of the regular season and Hanson was handed the job. It now appears, Seely was a bit hasty in naming Hanson the starter.
Scott Player is a talented specialist who was brought in to compete with Hanson. Undrafted out of Florida State, Player bounced around the league before settling in to a starter's role in Arizona. After making the Pro Bowl in 1999 Player remained a fixture in Arizona for nine seasons (1998-2006). He filled in for injured Browns punter Dave Zastudil last year in Cleveland, making three appearances.
|Arizona Cardinals punter Scott Player kicks during drills at afternoon practice at football training camp at Northern Arizona University Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2007, in Flagstaff, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)|
Barry McBride covers the Cleveland Browns for Scout.com Here's what he had to say about the player New England just signed:
McBride: Scott Player is a steady punter, who was brought in by the Browns due to a back injury to their regular punter Dave Zastudil in the ore-season, and after a disastrous game from fill-in Paul Ernster against the Steelers in Week One. He had been cut by the Cardinals after nine years there, and brought stability to the Browns punting game until Zastudil recovered. He was reliable and effective in his time with the Browns, and was cut simply because Zastudil got healthy and was able to return.
Player is steady
you know what youre going to get from him, and he can be a capable punter. Fans in Cleveland also warmed to him immediately because of his tough-guy appearance and his use of the rarely-seen single-bar facemask, but there was never any doubt that he was simply filling in for Zastudil.
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