What has been an achilles’ heel for the New York Jets in the recent past is shaping up to be a problem yet again. Since the departure of Mike Westhoff in 2012, the Jets special teams unit has been a consistent headache. This season, the outlook is not much brighter.
At kicker, the Jets essentially held an open tryout for the job just days before the Week 1 opener. They settled with Jason Myers, who was claimed on waivers after the Seahawks released him when he lost their kicking battle. Myers nailed 43- and 58-yard field goals in the last preseason game which was a promising sign, but his job security will be in question as soon as he starts missing kicks. Lachlan Edwards returns for his 3rd season at punter after an improved sophomore campaign.
The Jets hoped rookie Trenton Cannon could provide a burst on kickoffs and punts, but after he muffed multiple returns in training camp, Andre Roberts will take over the role. Roberts, who served as the Falcons’ returner last season, should be an upgrade over the Jets’ disastrous 2017 trio of Kalif Raymond, Jeremy Kerley, and Jojo Natson.
The coverage unit has been equally troubling, and it was evident in Week 3 of the preseason as the Giants amassed 145 punt return yards, including a touchdown. Rontez Miles, the team’s best special teams player, is recovering from a torn meniscus that will leave him sidelined until October at the earliest.
After years of incompetence there is no excuse for the Jets’ special teams unit to be in this position. The middle rounds of the draft are where teams can shore up special teams, and the Jets have been noticeably poor in that area.
Since Westhoff’s departure, games in which the Jets don’t have a special teams blunder feel like a win on that side of the ball. Who knows, maybe this is the season the Jets break their 5-year kick return touchdown drought…but don’t hold your breath.