BGA: Special Teams – Ding dong merrily wide right

It looks like Nick Folk will miss out on going to the Pro Bowl after all, due to the recent heroics of Justin Tucker and the ongoing consistency of Stephen Gostkowski. Folk had his first “proper” miss of the year when his 49-yard field goal in the third quarter doinked off the right upright. His only other miss was a kick that went straight down the middle before being swept wide by a freak gust of wind.

For Folk, it has been easily his best season as a Jet and should earn him a bigger contract at the end of the season. I’d imagine the Jets would like to bring him back, but it remains to be seen how much of a financial priority the special teams unit is.

That unit was depleted because their top coverage guy and primary gunner, Ellis Lankster, was inactive having been listed as probable with a jaw injury. We are told this was injury-related and not a strategic decision. With Lankster out, the Jets gave up a 50-yard kickoff return and a 29-yard punt return. His absence was felt on the punt in particular as Isaiah Trufant got down there first, but missed the tackle, allowing Jordan Poyer to break into the open field. Josh Bush, Alex Green and Saalim Hakim were all guilty of missing tackles and Jaiquawn Jarrett was blocked out of the play on one return.

Hakim did make up for his missed tackle with a saving tackle from behind on the long kickoff return and Green did also have a special teams tackle earlier in the game. Nick Bellore stepped up in Lankster’s absence with a couple of special teams tackles.

The most memorable play from a special teams standpoint was the fake punt. Tanner Purdum’s snap went directly to the upback who was then going to throw it to one of the gunners. Perhaps more by coincidence than design, Joe Haden dropped off into the right flat just at the exact moment Purdum snapped the ball. Bush looked right and saw Haden dropping off (to his credit) and then reverted to the second, open option, which was Isaiah Trufant in the left flat. This should still have been an easy first down, but Bush (who did play quarterback as a high school senior) underthrew it badly and Trufant slipped over. Like most fakes, that play had a good chance of working. If only they had an established quarterback to put back there as punt protector…

Ryan Quigley had to punt just three times, with the long return knocking him down to a 33.0 net average. In the return game, Darius Reynaud was back, but had zero return yards.


Next up…tis the season for wrapping…up, not wrapping presents.




2 comments
djf1
djf1

Special teams definitely gets the worst grade.  Some very forgettable performances this season.

a57se
a57se

Bent, did the rules change about the Kick-off being a live ball? I've seen refs blowing their whistles for touchbacks BEFORE the ball leaves the playing field and without being touched by the receiving team. On one kick off to the Jets yesterday Raynaud was actually running to the bench when the ball hit 7 yards into the end zone and you can see the ref signalling for a touch back before the ball bounced out of bounds!