The Jets have released punter Ben Graham following an abysmal performance against the Patriots. The Aussie averaged only 27.4 yards on four punts. This follows a shaky 2007 where things got so bad for Ben that the team deactivated him in Week 16 at Tennessee. This move had to be made. The team gave him the start of the year to straighten things out due more to loyalty than anything, but after another shaky outing in a big spot, the Jets had to make this move.
This brings a sad end to what seemed like a promising relationship. Replacing the painfully inadequate Toby Gowin in 2005, Graham became a fan favorite. There was a lot to love about a punter as tough as Ben, a former superstar in Australian Rules Football. He averaged 43.7 yards per kick. While his average stayed fairly level, his consistency left in 2007, when he started shanking punts at bad moments.
The Jets have not released any word on who will punt this Monday in San Diego. There will likely be an audition like there was last week to find a kicker. It might not even be a bad idea to make Ben part of that audition to give him a chance to win his old job back. Perhaps losing his sense of security will motivate him to regain his old form.
Edit: The Jets have signed former Ram and Eagle Reggie Hodges. He has also spent time with the Colts, Seahawks, and Patriots without appearing in a game for any of those teams. He has a horrific 37.4 yard career average on punts. This was hardly an inspired pick, but the pickings were slim. The punter situation is going to be an issue for this team all year. There are few quality guys available on the open market.