USA Today Sports

Patriots need a punt returner, and Bill Belichick could do the job if he had to

John Tomase
September 14, 2018 - 2:07 pm

The Patriots had so much trouble fielding punts in a Week 1 win over the Texans, they cut returner Riley McCarron.

Whoever replaces him this week should be able to get the job done. Hell, head coach Bill Belichick is pretty sure he could do it.

"We don't want that," Belichick said with a smile.

Speaking to reporters in Foxboro on Friday, Belichick noted that he caught hundreds of punts on the practice field back in his playing days.

"It's easier for some people than others, but in the end, you can learn how to catch punts," Belichick told reporters. "I feel like I can catch punts because I can know where the ball is going to go. I might drop it, but I can pick up the direction, I can get under the ball. I think it can be a learned skill. I don't think you have to have had a lot of experience doing it."

With McCarron cut and Julian Edelman suspended, safety Patrick Chung could get the call on Sunday in Jacksonville.

Belichick has been known to cut training camp practices short if a lineman like Vince Wilfork or Isaiah Wynn can field a punt. Even though Belichick never did it in a game at Andover or Wesleyan, he still had plenty of reps.

"On the practice field? Yeah, hundreds of them," Belichick told reporters. "That's what I'm saying, I certainly think it's a teachable skill. It's a learnable skill."

('s Ryan Hannable contributed to this report)