2013: State of the Jets’ Address: the Special Teams
By Alan Schechter
Oct 20, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets kicker Nick Folk (2) celebrates his game winning field goal during overtime against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. The Jets won the game 30-27 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
It’s Sunday of the bye week. One more day before the Jets officially get back to work. With that, let’s finish our “State of the Jets’ Address” with part three. So far, we have looked at the offense on Friday, and the defense on Saturday.
Today, let’s finish it up by taking a look at the special teams.
What is there for us to see about the guy to the right? Nick Folk, or “Folk Hero” as the case may be, has just been awesome. 23-23 is an amazing run of field goals in its own right, but add in the fact that he has kicked multiple game winners already? Forget about “Matty Ice”, I think we have “Nicky Ice” on our team. There are few kickers that are as automatic as Nick Folk these days.
Is there room for him to improve? Sure there is. Barely half of his kickoffs have gone for touchbacks, so he is allowing too many to be returned. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll exchange a few kickoff returns for a perfect field goal kicker any day of the week. I am just stretching to figure out what Folk needs to improve on.
Ryan Quigley has done a nice job coming on as the punter in replacement of Robert Malone. He has come on the scene and done a far better job at hanging the punts up in the area, averaging over 40 net yards per punt, as opposed to Malone’s 37. He has also had 12 go for fair catches, tied for fifth in the league. It seems small, but a punter that can minimize punt returns is a major factor in field position.
Josh Cribbs has only come on the scene in the last few weeks, but he has been a big upgrade in the return game. On kickoff returns, he is averaging over 25 yards per kick return, which is more than two yards better than the great Clyde Gates. It doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up as a season goes along.
Cribbs has been far better than Jeremy Kerley in punt returning as well. Cribbs is returning at nearly 11 yards per return, while Kerley was only at nine yards per return. Furthermore, out of 12 punt returns, Kerley called for a fair catch on five of them, nearly half. Cribbs has only called for one out of five punt returns. Much better.
Let’s hope the special teams continues to excel in the second half.