NY Jets: Kicking competition is currently ‘neck and neck’

NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets’ kicker battle in training camp is apparently “neck and neck” at the moment.

This time last year, the NY Jets were struggling to find a suitable kicker before the start of the season. One year later and while some things may have changed, others have stayed the same.

The Jets certainly appear to be in a better position now than they were last year at this time. At the same time, it isn’t difficult to do better than the likes of Taylor Bertolet and Kaare Vedvik.

The duo of Sam Ficken and Brett Maher has been competing for the kicking job in training camp. And while neither has done much to stand out, neither has made a fool of themselves either.

For that reason, it’s hard to predict who will emerge with the job come Week 1. And that’s a sentiment that special teams coordinator Brant Boyer seems to agree with.

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Boyer complimented each of them on a good camp thus far and called the competition between the two “neck and neck.”

Neither of the NY Jets’ kickers has an extensive track record of success.

Ficken served as the Jets kicker for all but the first game of the year in 2019. While he provided stability to an otherwise unstable kicking rotation, he wasn’t exactly very good either.

The former Los Angeles Rams’ kicker connected on just 70 percent of his field-goal tries making 19-of-27 kicks. Meanwhile, he also missed three extra points throughout the season. Ficken was below-average in 2019 and statically one of the worst kickers in the league.

Maher, on the other hand, spent the last two seasons in Dallas after a stint in the CFL. A successful rookie campaign in 2018 saw the Cowboys bring him back the following season, but after making just 67 percent of his field goals, Dallas opted to swap him out for veteran Kai Forbath.

Neither Ficken nor Maher has made much noise in training camp so far, but the Jets are said to be higher on the latter because of his powerful leg. Boyer was complimentary of both of them insisting that each has had a good camp.

“They both have more than adequate legs. I think Sam did a solid job last year and Brett definitely has experience and everything like that. I see these guys neck and neck. They’ve both had good camps and we’ll see who shakes out.”

It remains to be seen if the Jets will opt to bring in a more experienced, proven option either through free agency or the waiver wire. They still have time to figure that out just as there’s still time for either Ficken or Maher to emerge as the better option.

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But as it stands right now, it’s too close to call.