Should the Buffalo Bills have two punters active against the Patriots?

Matt Haack, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
Matt Haack, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /

Could the Buffalo Bills actually have two punters active this weekend against the New England Patriots?

The last time the Buffalo Bills played the New England Patriots, they didn’t attempt one punt. That streak would continue the following week against the Atlanta Falcons. However, in the regular-season finale, the Bills offense struggled at times and they were forced to punt seven times.

Unfortunately, the results were not great and Matt Haack struggled mightily with an average of only 33.9 yards per punt. This helped the Jets control the field position battle and while they couldn’t move the ball much at all, they were seemingly always just on the edge of field goal range.

The margin of error Saturday night is going to be very small as the New England Patriots are a good team and the field position battle could end up being the deciding factor. That is why the coaching staff may want to consider going into Saturday night’s game with two punters available.

Comparing Matt Haack and Jamie Gillian’s season stats

The option to have two punters available Saturday night is there as they have Jamie Gillian on their practice squad. Gillian was cut by the Cleveland Browns earlier this season after being the starting punter since the 2019 season. The Buffalo Bills shortly after signed him to their practice squad.

As a member of the Browns, Gillian averaged just around one yard more per punt than Haack. They both had a similar percentage of punts downed inside the 20 with Gillian at 35.71% and Matt Haack at 34.62%. The biggest difference between the two is that Haack is struggling to keep his punts out of the end zone with seven touchbacks this year while Gillian only has one.

Why the Buffalo Bills should have two punters active

The question becomes why would the Bills even entertain the idea of having two punters active. The reason is that Haack’s responsibilities go beyond just punting the ball as he also has the important role as Tyler Bass’ holder on field goals and extra points.

This is something that is often overlooked but is incredibly important because of the detail that goes into it, like the angle of holding the ball. Bass was on The Pat McAfee Show and talked about Matt Haack and how well they work together.

After all the time these two have worked together over the year, it doesn’t make sense to jeopardize that at this point in the season and with the playoffs just starting. Tyler Bass has had an excellent season and the coaching staff can’t afford to disrupt that.

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However, they also can’t afford to have another game like the one Matt Haack had against the New York Jets. This is why it makes sense for the team to have two punters active on Saturday night and if Haack struggles, they can turn to Gillian to take over the punting duties.