The New York Jets are getting closer to the start of the 2020 NFL season and all eyes are several key aspects of the team. Questions such as is Sam Darnold really the long-term answer at quarterback for the Jets, can the Jets defense still be as good as they were last season, even without Jamal Adams and lacking depth at the cornerback position? Another key question that remains to be answered is whether or not the Adam Gase was the right hire for the Jets when Mike McCarthy was willing and able to coach the Jets. While all of these questions are important, another question that surrounds the Jets this season is whether or not the Jets will improve or not on Special Teams.
First the good news. There is hardly much good news as it relates to the Jets and special teams heading into the season. However, one of the major holdover coaches that head coach Adam Gase keep from the Todd Bowles era when he became head coach was special teams coordinator Brant Boyer. Boyer is a good coach that seems to get the best out of his players, even on a special teams roster of the Jets that lacks major depth and talent.With regards to the special teams roster there is one position that the Jets can be hopeful about and that is at the punter position. General Manager Joe Douglas selected in the draft Braden Mann, who the Jets took in the sixth round out of Texas A & M. The good news with regards to Mann are his college stats which show that he set a NCAA record averaging 51.0 yards a punt. In addition, 19 out of 50 of Mann’s punts were inside the 20 yard line and 11 were fair catches. This is good news for the Jets as their punting game looks to be getting an upgrade with Mann this year.
Now for the bad news – the kicker position. While Joe Douglas has had a lot to address position-wise since becoming General Manager, one area that needed to be addressed that has yet to be effectively addressed is at the kicker position. The Jets went through several kickers last year and one could not forget some of the missed extra points that cost the Jets their season opening game last year against the Bills. The Jets current roster, before the start of this season consists of Sam Ficken and Brett Maher, neither of which are that impressive. There were other kickers available during free agency, including Stephen Gostkowski, who was released by division rival New England this off-season, who is still available and who the Jets should have signed.
Another option that the Jets should have went for is trying to get back Jason Meyers, the Pro Bowl kicker that the Jets lost to the Seattle Seahawks in free agency last year. It would have been great for Joe Douglas, in the Jamal Adams trade to the Seahawks, to try to get Meyers back to the Jets as part of that trade. Why Meyers was not signed to a long-term contract when he was a free agent last year by the Jets is beyond me. There are available kickers next year, via free agency, such as Matt Prater and Brandon McManus, who the Jets should make every effort to sign.
One other position to watch on special teams that the Jets should have addressed is kick returner. The Jets had a Pro Bowl kick returner, that like Meyers last off-season, the Jets let walk via free agency. Andre Roberts signed with division rival Buffalo, when the Jets should have made every effort to sign to a long-term deal. The jury is still out on who is going to be able to make some big plays on special teams for the Jets, which is a position on the depth chart that Joe Douglas needs to address via free agency next off-season, if the Jets are ever going to improve on special teams.