2012 State of the Jets Address: Special Teams
By Alan Schechter
Sep 25, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jets 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
Before the Jets open camp for real, one more State of the Jets Address, and that is of the special teams.
One word can sum it up for now, questions. Mike Westhoff(right), may be coming back, but that appears to be the only constant. Let’s take a look at his unit:
We have talked about this one at length, so not going to spend a lot of time here. Josh Brown vs, the incumbent Nick Folk. Folk has made a lot of big kicks for the Jets, but has been the cause for a lot of nerves as well. Brown is a career 80% field goal kicker, and is quite consistent. This will be an interesting battle, and one as I have stated that I think Brown will end up winning.
This is another position that causes the Jets great concern. The Jets felt they would get by without Steve Weatherford, letting him go to the Giants last year. That didn’t work. TJ Conley had a very rough season, with a net average of 38.8 yards per kick. He just couldn’t be counted on to pin an opponent back when necessary.
In comes Travis Baltz, second year punter out of the University of Maryland. He was a candidate for the Ray Guy award, and as we have profiled, is a terrific directional punter. He will give Conley a heck of a competition in camp coming up.
There have been a lot of tryouts coming at this position as well.
The incumbents are still here, Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley. McKNight blossomed into quite the kick returner in 2011, a year that included a 107 yard TD return.
McKnight should be pretty safe, but punt returns have seemed to be another story. Jeremy blossomed well also, averaging over 10 yards per punt return. However, the Jets are taking a look at a lot of guys here. At least they have during minicamp.
McKnight was back catching a few, as was newcomber Royce Adams. Adams has turned a lot of heads so far this offseason, and being able to return punts will help his chances of making the team.
We even saw undrafted rookie Royce Pollard returning some kicks, and it’s not even something he did during college!
Could they be looking at returns by committee? A definite possibility, we will just have to wait and see.
So there you have it, the state of the Jets, special teams edition. Camp is almost here, football is back!