Jake Bailey Reveals Reason For Patriots Struggles After Joining Dolphins

'A lot of it had to do with squatting a ton'


Mar 22, 2023

Jake Bailey wouldn’t say much Wednesday about his grievance against the Patriots, only that it had been resolved.

But the 2020 All-Pro punter did share his side of why he struggled so mightily during his final season in New England.

In his introductory Miami Dolphins news conference, Bailey told reporters an increased emphasis on squat workouts led to back issues and ultimately derailed his 2022 campaign.

“A lot of it had to do with squatting a ton,” Bailey said, via the Palm Beach Post. “I did not grow up squatting, loading my back with back squats. I didn’t do it at all in college. I tried to be more a part of the program, and it just really backfired the whole season I was doing it.

“It really made my accuracy struggle. And it just was kind of a sad, sad thing to have happen. I haven’t squatted since really Week 15 or 16 and feel pretty good.”

Players have remarked in the past about New England emphasizing lower-body lifting more than other NFL teams. That struck cornerback Shaun Wade when he came over from Baltimore in 2021, saying early in his Patriots tenure that “every day is definitely a leg day here.” But it’s unclear why Bailey’s training plan evidently shifted in his fourth season with the franchise.

Regardless, it was clear all season that something was off with Bailey. Just two years after earning first-team All-Pro honors and months after receiving a lucrative contract extension, the 25-year-old ranked dead last among qualified punters in both yards per punt and net punting average.

Bailey ultimately was placed on injured reserve in mid-November, and the Patriots suspended him in January, prompting his camp to file a grievance against the team.

“While Jake Bailey was on IR, he never missed a single treatment, meeting or practice,” Bailey’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, said after the suspension was reported. “He was hoping to come off IR to play, but Jake was informed he was being suspended these last two games. This comes as a surprise given his full participation during injury reserve. We have filed a grievance to fight this unknown suspension.”

The Patriots released Bailey earlier this month. A week later, he signed with the AFC East rival Dolphins. He was asked about the suspension Wednesday.

“You know, there’s a lot to unpack,” Bailey told reporters. “And a lot of it is between them and me, partly. I’ve talked to Coach (Bill) Belichick about this and how, you know, we want to talk about all this stuff. Obviously, you don’t want to end up on a list like that, ever. And, you know, confusion was a lot of it. And I think we’re just past it, now at this point. It was something that happened. And it was something that was unfortunate for both sides. And you know, now I think both parties are in a better situation.”

He added: “The grievance is done. But everything surrounding it is in the past. I’m totally on a new team now and just looking forward to seeing how I can contribute.”

With Bailey’s ineffective late-season replacement, Michael Palardy, now a free agent, the Patriots do not have a punter under contract for the upcoming season. The odds of them targeting one in next month’s NFL draft are high.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images
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