After a strong year in 2018, the New York Jets will be forced to replace some key players on special teams if they want to maintain that level of success in 2019.
It was a banner year for the New York Jets special teams, as the kicking game and the return game gave the team two areas they rarely had to worry about last season.
But with kicker Jason Meyers and return specialist Andre Roberts, both Pro Bowlers a year ago, playing elsewhere in 2019, the Jets will have to regroup and find replacements who can keep giving the Gang Green what last year’s studs made a weekly expectation.
Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer isn’t shying away from the challenge, though. He knows his units have big shoes to fill, but he’s ready to meet the high expectations head-on (via team reporter Ethan Greenberg):
One of the first meetings I had, the first thing I stressed was there are no steps back. I think we set the bar pretty high last year and I’m going to coach like it. I’m going to draw the best out of them. That’s my job no matter who we have, and I feel real confident with this group that we can go in and play anybody. We’re good.
Boyer knows replacing any top talent can be a challenge, whether it’s on special teams or elsewhere on the roster. Instead of familiarity in 2019, his unit won’t be alone in having to find fresh faces to step up and fill key roles:
Every position is a challenge that you have to replace whether that is a core linebacker or whether it’s a safety or whether it’s a kicker. Whatever it is, those challenges are always hard because you have a familiarity with those guys, you know exactly what they can do and what they can’t do , and you figure out what they do best and you tried to tailor everything that you do around them.
The task of replacing Meyers will likely fall to Chandler Catanzaro, who returns to the Jets after splitting the 2018 season between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers. After spending his first three NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, Catanzaro made his first stop with the Jets in 2017, making 25 of his 30 field goal attempts and converting all 29 of his extra points.
In the return game, Roberts’ absence should give way to a fairly open competition for both punts and kickoffs, with Trenton Cannon and Quadree Henderson the front-runners heading into training camp.
The challenge is clear for Boyer and his crew, but he’s confident his players will rise to the challenge and give the Jets another successful season in all facets of special teams play.