New York Jets special teams continue to be a strength of the team
By Justin Fried
The New York Jets special teams continue to excel this year even despite an overwhelming disappointment of a 2019 season from the rest of the roster.
The New York Jets haven’t had the easiest season, but the continued excellence of their special teams unit is a silver lining amidst a rough year.
For years, the Jets’ special teams were the Achilles’ heel of the team. The franchise went years without a competent return game and went through a seemingly never-ending rotation of kickers and punters almost annually.
But last year, something changed. It’s unclear what that change was caused by, but the transformation has been magnificent.
The Jets finished the 2018 season ranked as the No. 1 special teams unit in the NFL by DVOA and sent two players from the unit to the Pro Bowl. Andre Roberts revived a stagnant return game and Jason Myers became one of the NFL’s best kickers seemingly overnight.
And much of the praise went to special teams coordinator Brant Boyer who had nearly played himself out of a job in his prior two seasons with the team.
But there was reason for doubt heading into 2019.
The Jets let both Roberts and Myers walk and opted not to re-sign numerous key special teamers from their 2018 roster including Kevin Pierre-Louis and Terrence Brooks.
On top of that, the team’s kicking situation remained a circus with the re-signed Chandler Catanzaro retiring in training camp before his second stint with the team could get underway.
Taylor Bertolet proved that he wasn’t the answer following a subpar preseason and the decision to bring in former Baltimore Ravens preseason standout Kaare Vedvik proved disastrous after he essentially cost them their first game of the season.
Vedvik missed an extra point and a 45-yard field goal while the Jets went on to lose 17-16 to the Buffalo Bills. He was waived two days later.
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And while his replacement, Sam Ficken, hasn’t been anything special, he’s at least been acceptable. But it’s really the rest of the Jets special teams that have truly shined this season.
At the moment, the Jets currently have the No. 2 special teams unit in the NFL behind only the Cincinnati Bengals. And in that unit, the team has seen a few of their players, in particular, stand out.
Punter Lachlan Edwards is having another solid season as the Jets punt unit is ranked second in the league behind the Jacksonville Jaguars. Edwards has developed into a really solid punter over the last few seasons for Gang Green.
Meanwhile, punt returner Braxton Berrios is currently first in the NFL in average yards per return out of qualified players. While he’s yet to break off the long one, Berrios has been the model of consistency averaging 11.1 yards per return on 19 attempts.
He rarely breaks one for a long gain, but he almost never gains just a yard or two.
Even kick returner Ty Montgomery is ranked in the top half of the NFL averaging over 20 yards per return.
It’s been another impressive season for the Jets special teams and Boyer continues to receive the praise he deserves.
In another difficult season, the Jets have once again found a silver lining in their special teams unit.