When it comes to wide receivers near the back of the depth chart, you frequently hear that their path to the roster runs through special teams. With that in mind, I took note that the New York Jets were utilizing both Jalin Marshall and Charone Peake as gunners on the punt team Saturday night. Let's examine how they looked in the role. As depth pieces their impact on Sundays would likely come primarily from work on special teams.
I would like to start with a disclaimer. Without knowing exactly how these kick coverages are designed, I can only provide my best guess as to whether these guys performed their respective roles well.
Let's start with Marshall.
I think what happens here is in a situation where the Jets are trying to pin the New York Giants deep, the Jets send Marshall for return man Dwayne Harris and the other gunner deep going for the pin. Marshall assures Harris won't catch it if the punt doesn't go deep enough.
This second one isn't so good. Marshall takes a bad angle and goes flying past Harris as the return man takes it back for 10. Truth be told, this isn't totally Marshall's fault. He is starting for the right side and has to get to the left, which is Darryl Morris' side. This still doesn't look like great stuff.
This third one is just a silly mistake. He takes a penalty because he goes out of bounds covering the kick, which is a no-no. The Jets rekick, and the penalty ultimately costs the Jets over 10 yards of field position.
Now let's talk Charone Peake.
On this first one, it looks like Peake beats his man on an outside release. He ends up on the ground after it appears he is blocked in the back, which isn't called. Up until the point of the no call, he seems like he is going to end up in good position to make a tackle.
This next play is in my opinion a terrific job by Peake. He fakes his way past a double team and gets a free release. Then he doesn't go down out of control at a bad angle that would let Harris return the ball up the sideline. He forces Harris to take the ball back inside. Yes, he does miss a tackle, but there is plenty of help to clean this up. Your result is a net gain of 50 yards for the Jets on this punt.
On this next one, I went back and forth, but I think this was another good play by Peake where he was hurt by a block in the back that didn't get called. He again gets a good release down the field and seems to be heading to the return man. He then flies past the returner. I was back and forth about whether he was out of control or whether he was blocked in the back because the contact didn't seem too heavy. I think it was a foul, though. When you are going at that speed, even a slight shove can send you way off course. That's why the penalty exists.
On this final one, Peake again gets a release on a double team and sets the edge, so to speak. The return man's path right is sealed by Peake so he takes the ball left. He does take it for a big return, but that's on the rest of the coverage team. I think Peake did his job.
Every piece of extra value matters when it comes to the bottom of the roster. I think for this area of special teams that I would give Peake the edge over Marshall on Saturday.