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The upcoming training camp battle of Jets kickers

By Luis Tirado Jr.
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 14: Kicker Cairo Santos #5 of the Kansas City Chiefs kicks a 45 yard first quarter field goal as punter Dustin Colquitt #2 holds against the Denver Broncos during a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 14, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 14: Kicker Cairo Santos #5 of the Kansas City Chiefs kicks a 45 yard first quarter field goal as punter Dustin Colquitt #2 holds against the Denver Broncos during a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 14, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Besides all the other big competitions set to hit training camp for the New York Jets this summer, the battle of kickers will also be important.

I know, I know. Kickers in the NFL tend to get no love but in the grand scheme of things, they hold very important positions. If you’re about to tie or win a close game towards the end of the 4th quarter and it comes down to a field goal as the game is to expire, ideally, you’d want one heck of a kicker to get the job done. The New York Jets are hoping to find such a kicker heading into training camp.

During the offseason, the Jets acquired two kickers to have competition for the starting kicker job. Kickers Cairo Santos and Taylor Bertolet are set to compete for the starting job as both bring an interesting skill set to the table but at this point in time, only one has a slight advantage.

Santos is clearly more experienced as he’s started in a lot of football games with the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears so far in his NFL career. Bertolet? He’s yet to play in a regular season game in two years of being in the league as the Jets brought him just for competition in training camp.

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Ideally, Santos should be able to beat out Bertolet but is entering training camp rehabbing a groin injury he suffered last season. Bertolet is relatively healthy but the odds are against him in beating out a veteran with such experience, especially in scoring situations where it matters most on the gridiron.

Last year’s kicker, Chandler Catanzaro, bolted via free agency to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, mostly because he didn’t like playing in cold weather. Either way, he was a decent kicker for the Jets but if Santos can stay healthy and earn the starting kicker job, he would be an upgrade over Catanzaro.

Overall, one never truly knows what can transpire during training camp but the upcoming battle of kickers should be a good one. Especially since the Jets will have a new kicker in 2018 that should hopefully be able to come through consistently when it comes to field goals, point after touchdowns, and kickoffs.

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