Return game will be vastly improved with Lucky Whitehead
By Jack Monaghan
The New York Jets need help bad when it comes to the return game of their special teams. The addition of wide receiver Lucky Whitehead should greatly improve field positioning.
On July 25th, wide receiver Lucky Whitehead was falsely charged with shoplifting at a convenience store in West Virginia. Despite the Dallas Cowboys knowledge regarding the truth behind the allegations, they choose to release Whitehead, a move that surprised many. After all, these are the same Cowboys that employed Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory who were both found guilty of far worse crimes than what Whitehead was wrongly accused of. This is where it benefited the New York Jets.
The Jets wasted no time jumping at the opportunity of adding Whitehead to their roster, signing him a little over 24 hours after his release from Dallas. The move immediately improves a unit that was historically awful for the Jets last season. In fact, Gang Green’s special teams have been ranked in the bottom third of the league ever since the retirement of legendary coach Mike Westhoff. Since then they’ve have had four different coaches with Brant Boyer currently the man in charge.
Meanwhile, Whitehead has been one of the most dynamic and consistent kickoff (where he’s been more productive) and punt returners in the NFL. Averaging 28.3 yards per kick return in his breakout season back in 2015, Whitehead’s production fell off slightly in 2016 but he still posted a solid 23.2 yards per return. His ability to return both punts and kickoffs is an extremely valuable asset and is what makes Whitehead such a unique talent.
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The speedster could also add an additional dynamic to the Jets offense as he’s extremely effective on end arounds out of the backfield.
With his play making ability the object is to get him the football in space and allow him to make guys miss. This should enable the Jets to find creative ways to do so this upcoming season.
The addition of Lucky Whitehead could very well signal the end to Jalin Marshall‘s career with the Jets, especially considering the four game suspension he must serve to start the regular season.
The Jets had high hopes for Marshall after signing him as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State, but he struggled as a returner and didn’t do much with his reps as a slot receiver either. With a more proven commodity now in the fold the Jets have made themselves a better team, and there’s nothing that can help a young and undermanned offense more than good starting field position.
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