Ex-Patriot Looking to Stick It to Bill Belichick in Revenge Game

Getty New England Patriots, Bill Belichick

Revenge games haven’t gone well for NFL players this year. Baker Mayfield couldn’t knock off the Cleveland Browns, and Russell Wilson came up short in Week 1 vs. the Seattle Seahawks. The Pittsburgh Steelers are likely hoping things will be better for non-QBs in similar situations.

Gunner Olszewski takes on the New England Patriots in Week 2. The former Pro-Bowl return man wants to stick it to his former team. Olszewski went to the Pro Bowl as a return man for the Patriots and played the same role for New England in 2021.

The Patriots didn’t bring Olszewski back to start this season, and the 25-year-old landed with the Steelers. Ahead of the Week 2 clash between Olszewski’s current team and his old one, the Texan is predictably feeling some additional motivation.

“Anytime you play the ex, you want to show out,” Olszewski said via Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. “Any time I get the ball, I want to do something with it. Playing the old team, the team that didn’t want you, sure I want to go out there and show what I can do.”

Olszewski had one punt return for 20 yards in the Steelers’ 23-20 overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. At least for Steelers fans, the hope is that Olszewski makes an impact for Pittsburgh similar to the one he had with the Patriots in 2020.

In 2020, Olszewski’s 346 punt-return yards and a TD that was good enough to send him and Patriots punter Jake Bailey to the Pro Bowl to represent the Patriots as the only guys to make the team from New England.

Which Patriots Player Has the Best Chance to Make an Impact as a Return Man?

In Week 1, Ty Montgomery and Myles Bryant handled returned duties for the Patriots in their 20-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Montgomery and Bryant both fielded a kickoff with the former returning his opportunity 28 yards.

Bryant handled punts alone, and he had a 12-yard return. Montgomery was placed on injured reserve and will miss at least four weeks. His absence will cause a slight change to the Patriots’ special teams unit.

While Bryant may continue to be the man returning punts, it’ll be interesting to see who steps in for Montgomery as a kickoff returner. The obvious option is explosive rookie Marcus Jones. In college, Jones was arguably the most dangerous return specialist in the nation.

That skill set was believed to be a major reason the Patriots drafted him in the third round. Unfortunately, the rookie only played four snaps in his NFL debut. Perhaps he’ll get more of an opportunity to make an impact against the Steelers.

The Patriots Are Still in Search of Playmakers at WR

We’ve talked about Olszewski’s impact as a returner, but the fourth-year player is a wide receiver by trade. The Patriots are also searching for a player who can be a playmaker in that role.

In Week 1, Jakobi Meyers paced the Patriots’ wide receivers with just four receptions for 55 yards. Meyers is one of the hardest working and sound receivers on the roster, but the fact that he’s still the team’s most productive option in the passing game is concerning.

With Kendrick Bourne perhaps graduating out of the coaches’ doghouse in time for the battle with Pittsburgh, there is a chance New England’s passing game could have a bit more punch in Week 2.

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Ken Pittman
Ken Pittman
10 days ago

And Gunner did remind the Patriots why he was let go. A guy on ice that thin should just keep his mouth shut and play the game.

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