Zuerlein enters his first training camp with the Jets in competition with the incumbent Eddy Pineiro, and the early signs are that he's the favorite. Although Zuerlein has been dealing with a toe injury, he's outplayed Pineiro to this point.
Pineiro and Zuerlein took turns kicking field goals during Monday's practice with attempts from 28, 32, 40, and 46 yards out. Zuerlein made all four of his kicks while Pineiro missed from 28 and 32.
Pineiro bounced back after Zuerlein's absence, but it's clear that the former Pro Bowler has the early edge. That was the sentiment shared by The Athletic's Zack Rosenblatt who proclaimed Zuerlein as the "favorite to win the job" this summer.
Could Greg Zuerlein finally solve the NY Jets' kicking woes?
The Jets have cycled through a litany of kickers over the last few years, although none have managed to stick.
From afterthoughts like Kaare Vedvik and Chase McLoughlin to others who spent slightly more than a cup of coffee with the organization like Sam Ficken and Matt Ammendola, the Jets have swung and pissed at the kicker position for years now.
To his credit, Zuerlein comes with more NFL success than all of his predecessors combined. The 34-year-old was once one of the best kickers in the league, having made the Pro Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams back in 2017.
Since leaving the Rams, Zuerlein has found moderate success with the Dallas Cowboys, connecting on 82.9 percent of his field-goal attempts in consecutive seasons. However, he has also missed nine extra points over the last two years.
Zuerlein still has one of the strongest legs in the NFL — an ability that should give him the edge over Pineiro — but he's struggled with consistency. The Jets are hoping that he can return to his All-Pro form in 2022.
At the very least, the Jets just want a semi-consistent kicker. They want someone who isn't a liability and doesn't rank among the worst players at his position.
Perhaps Greg Zuerlein can be just that. First, he'll have to earn his spot this summer, however.