The NFL preseason is here which means that football is officially back. Thursday night was the Patriots’ first preseason game of the year and it saw a couple of Michigan State rookies take the field for the first time in Bryce Baringer and Ameer Speed.
Baringer was the first punter selected in the 2023 NFL Draft which didn’t come as a major surprise even though he didn’t win the Ray Guy Award (I’ll avoid going off on a rant over this) while Speed was selected in the later rounds by New England to play primarily special teams.
On Thursday night, we saw both in NFL uniforms for the first time.
To no one’s surprise, Baringer was a star. He was blasting punts 50 and 60 yards and pinning the Houston Texans deep in their own territory, flipping the field with regularity.
It’s no surprise that Baringer is going to be a stud in the NFL. He just has the tools to be one of the league’s best punters for years to come.
But Speed made a play of his own that turned some heads.
Ameer Speed in space
Speed was on special teams, appearing on the punt unit on Thursday night alongside Baringer and he made a tackle in space on one of the punts that really caught the attention of teammates and coaches.
It seemed like a typical tackle on a punt, but Speed was patient, got down there in a hurry, and made a perfect form tackle on the return man. His teammates were pumped.
It’s the little things on special teams that will help Speed make the final 53-man roster and plays like that go a long way. You know that Bill Belichick noticed and will probably take that into consideration when he makes his final cuts.
Overall, it was a solid night for Baringer and Speed.