Not-so-very special teams

While Nick Folk was kicking the laces off the football this season, the rest of the Jets special teams wasn’t all that special.  ESPN NY’s Rich Cimini wrote that …. ESPN.com – New York Jets

For the first time since 2001, the New York Jets didn’t return a punt or kickoff for a touchdown. The special teams lacked explosiveness under first-year coordinator Ben Kotwica, who replaced the venerable Mike Westhoff.

There was a decline in production for the punt- and kickoff-return units, perhaps because they cut top kickoff returner Joe McKnight in the preseason. Things started to perk up with Josh Cribbs around midseason, but they fell off again when he suffered a season-ending pectoral injury.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

The return game is never about one man.  While teams need a speedy returning with vision, they also need their blockers to set them up for success and a coordinator who can scheme those returners to daylight.  Kotwica was stuck with a special teams group that was limited when it comes to their talent level, but that should get better in 2014 by virtue of the additions that the team will make to the overall talent level.

As far as the returners, Gates might have been the best of the bunch, but after his injury the return game flattened out rather quickly.  Cribbs and others were not able to play to the level that the team needed them to which would lead us to think that the Jets should be serious about finding a third down back who can also contribute on special teams to add to the mix in 2014.

McKnight was a hot mess in 2013 and while he was a good returner, the team has moved on.  Of all the stuff that went down, the oddest single thing was when he claimed to reporters he had suffered a concussion, but the coaching staff would not validate his claim.

 

The Jets need to get younger and the best and cheapest way to do that is the draft.  While Chiefs WR/RB Dexter McCluster would be an intriguing free agent, but what might the money look like for McCluster?

Around the draft last year there were reports that the Jets were said to have interest in WR/KR Tavon Austin.  One would think that after Mike Goodson’s struggle to stay on the field this year the Jets will look to find a longer term solution at either the WR or RB spot who can also contribute on special teams.

As far as the draft?  There isn’t a huge list of ready made returners, but Sammy Watkins was successful in college as a returner, but might prove risky as a high draft pick. Further down, watch players like Oregon RB De’Anthony Thomas, LSU WR Odell Beckham, and Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis  during the pre-draft process and the Jets potential interest in them … 




15 comments
Jim Israel
Jim Israel

The Jets need to get 'younger'? I've read all year how the Jets are one of the youngest teams in the NFL.


Which is it? Are the Jets young or are they too old?

djf1
djf1

Carrying 3 OL roster deadweights sure didn't help ST flexibility.

juunit
juunit

Ha, please, again with Sammy Watkins being the second coming.


Watkins return avg.: 22.9, 1 TD.


Marqise Lee return avg.: 26.1, 2 TDs.


And that's with his avg. this year being 12 yards off his pace from the 2 previous years because of his knee injury. Eventually, people will learn.


Yeah though, I agree with both the idea that a high pick really shouldn't be returning kicks and the idea that kick returning is pretty much a lost art in the NFL at this point.

DrJonathanReefer
DrJonathanReefer

Actually I thought gates did better then cribbs, well he atleast almost broke 2.

But this is misleading considering there is like 2 kick returns a game now a days.

Nick Evans
Nick Evans

Dri archer kent st... Kid can play

harold
harold

Agreed that was a waste of space all year and something I will not be able to figure out about this season.  We cut Sapp when we needed OLB's rather than one of rookie OL who late in the season is not likely to be picked up.  Makes no sense!

a57se
a57se

@juunit 

I'm with you juunit. I really hope Lee is there at 18.....I hope the rest of the world keeps up the Watkins is the second coming hype train!

harold
harold

I like Lee, however I think Watkins will make the better pro.  He is a little bigger Ht and Frame and a little faster.  Lee is a little shifter and a little more polished (not much though).   I would be happy with either player.  However if we pick one of them I would think we would look at a big target in the second round.  Most likely a big TE's unless one of the big WR's is there like Benjamin. 

a57se
a57se

@harold 

I wonder who was responsible for all that?

harold
harold

Junnit and a57se

Lee would be a fine pick.  I watched his tape and think his ceiling is Reggie Wayne (I do think that is being very hopeful).  However, I think his floor is a Santonio Holmes type (more reasonable but not bad either).  Remember Lee is already 22 without any singular outstanding trait so I would not trade up for him, but would be happy if he is available

harold
harold

As I said below, Lee ceiling Reggie Wayne, Floor Santonio Holmes IMO.  But you can get a Holmes type player in the 2nd.  That is one I don't see Lee as a no-brainer although I like him.

harold
harold

That is pretty wild.

We are going offense but it will be a skill player!!

a57se
a57se

@harold 

Draftek currently has us drafting Taylor Lewan at 18......my head would literally EXPLODE if we did that!

a57se
a57se

@harold 

I think it is pretty obvious who is responsible....his reasoning for it is not so obvious.

harold
harold

I was trying to figure it out all season.  The only thing I can think of is he made a promise to their parents to take care of the like the movies or something...

As I have posted many times :can't make sense out of nonsense!!"