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1 – Kicker: Newly signed Cairo Santos is coming off a season shortened by multiple groin injuries, prior to that he had a solid 2016 for the Kansas City Chiefs, going 31/35 on field goal attempts including 8/9 on kicks over 40 yards. Chandler Catanzaro was better than expected for the Jets last year but if Santos is healthy and back to the player he was in 2016, there should be no drop-off.
2 – Punter: Third year punter Lachlan Edwards responded to a disappointing rookie season with a strong 2017, improving his consistency and average distance on his kicks. Nobody is getting excited about punters (sorry Lachlan) but the Jets should be in decent to slightly above average shape here.
3 – Long Snapper: GET HYPED! Thomas Hennessy will be back and the best thing about him is that he did absolutely nothing of note last season…the way it should be for a long snapper.
4 – Andre Roberts: The most experienced returner on the roster, who was signed this offseason as a free agent. Roberts has more return touchdowns (3) in the past three seasons than the entire Jets organization. He is capable of handling both punts and kicks. Most fans get annoyed at the thought of him making the roster but nobody cares about having a proven, capable returner until they have to watch JoJo Natson for a few weeks or Jeremy Kerley muff a punt to lose a game like happened last year versus Carolina. There is a good chance Roberts finds a way to stick, unless a rookie pops this preseason in the return role.
5 – Trenton Cannon: The Jets 6th round pick. Cannon is a small school burner who will get a chance to return kicks this summer. If he wants to stick on the roster as the fourth running back, he needs to make a big special teams impact but will have an uphill battle to beat out Roberts.
6 – Lucky Whitehead: After missing most of last season with an injury, Whitehead will also be in the mix for the return job. There is nothing we have seen over the past few years to indicate he is any more qualified for the role than Roberts.
7 – Josh Martin: Tentatively a starting outside linebacker in the Jets 3-4 look but also generally considered their best special teams player alongside safety Rontez Miles (who is currently banged up and in danger of missing the 53 man roster at a crowded position). The Jets will be counting on him as a leader on their coverage units.
8 – Parry Nickerson: The rookie corner is going to stick on the roster and maybe push Buster Skrine for playing time in the slot this year but he will also be in the mix as a gunner on the punt team and asked to contribute on the other special team units. Outside of Nickerson, the Jets will be counting on whoever ends up on the roster at corner besides Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne to make an impact on specials.
9 – Brant Boyer: Back for his second season as the Jets Special Teams Coordinator, a coaching position that has been a revolving door since Mike Westhoff retired. The Jets finished 25th in special teams DVOA last year and were disastrous in the return game, so there is nowhere to go but up.
10 – Scary Stats: Removing Doug Middleton’s fluky fumble recovery in a a glorified week 17 preseason game against Buffalo to end the 2016 season, the Jets have not scored a special teams touchdown since Joe McKnight took a kick back in 2012. The Jets were 32nd in DVOA in 2016, 25th in 2015 and 16th in 2014. NOT GOOD.
11 – Other Depth Players To Watch On Specials: Kevin Pierre-Louis, JJ Wilcox, Lawrence Thomas, Neville Hewitt, Dylan Donahue, Terrence Brooks.
12 – Better Days (RIP)