We will be providing position-by-position breakdowns leading up to Jets training camp this Thursday. For now, we focus on the specialists.
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comOn the roster: K Nick Folk, K Andrew Furney, P Ryan Quigley, P Jacob Schum, LS Tanner Purdum
2013 notes: After four seasons with the Jets, the team finally awarded Folk with a multi-year deal after posting a 91.7% field goal percentage. With a young quarterback, the kicking game can be invaluable. We don’t expect there to be a serious competition from Furney over the job. Also likely to retain his role unhindered, longsnapper Tanner Purdum.
Quigley seems likely to come out of camp with the job, but with a new special teams coach in the building, it is anyone’s guess. The Jets real problems were in the coverage units last year backing up the work of the kicker and punter. Due to the team’s depth concerns, kick and punt coverage became an issue.
The return game will most likely be up in the air this year for the Jets. Josh Cribbs was the returner for the Jets during much of the second half of the season, but his speed was a problem and the Jets didn’t do a great job of chewing up yards off punts and kicks as they have in years past.
Overall outlook: With Folk, Quiqley and Purdum, the Jets seem set. While always steady, Folk seemed to come into his own in 2013, with his kicks helping to win at least three of the team’s eight wins. Special teams should be better this year with an influx of draft picks to use and will allow the kicker and punter to better pin opponents. That said, it comes down to whether new special teams coach Tim McGaughey can scheme well enough. Folk’s mechanical adjustments that allowed him to be such a precise kicker in 2013 were noticeable, but based on his historical numbers we should assume some reduction in his completion percentage might be in store in 2014.
Camp competition: Finding their key special teamers for coverage will take training camp, but the real story will be who becomes the team’s returner. We likely won’t know for sure until the lights come on in preseason football, but look for rookie WR Jalen Saunders to be the hopeful solutiono on either punts, kicks or both.