Last week, the Jets added placekicker Jason Myers to their roster to compete with Taylor Bertolet. The expected starter - Cairo Santos - was injured throughout camp and released the next day. We’re going to take an in-depth look at Myers to assess whether he can beat out Bertolet and if he’s a viable option to be the Jets’ kicker this year.
The 27-year-old Myers is listed at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, and was an undrafted free agent out of Marist. He took an unusual route to the NFL but eventually ended up with the Jaguars with whom he made 81 percent of his field goals over the past three seasons.
Myers’ numbers at Marist were not particularly good, as he only made 16 of 27 field goals over three seasons and also missed 10 extra points. His best season was his junior year where he made six of seven field goal attempts.
After going undrafted, Myers didn’t get much interest from NFL teams but he kicked in the AFL and the IFL in 2014. The Jaguars discovered him in a workout prior to the 2015 senior bowl and he won the job as their kicker when the team opted to trade Josh Scobee for a draft pick.
Myers’ rookie season was his best, as he made 26 of 30 field goals. However, he missed a league-high seven extra points.
In 2016, he wasn’t as accurate but he had an 80 percent touchback rate and led the league with 12 attempts and seven made field goals from beyond 50 yards.
He still had the job in the 2017 season but lost it six games into the year after missing six kicks.
He began this year with the Seahawks after having signed a futures contract at the end of the season. However, they released him after the first couple of preseason games when it became clear that Sebastian Janikowski was going to win the job.
Now let’s break down Myers in more detail, divided into categories:
The Mendoza line for kickers at the NFL level these days is probably right around 80 percent and Myers is just above that for his career, although he’s been below that in each of his last two years. That’s an improvement from his college days, though, and his preseason numbers have not been great either.
Extra points have been an issue throughout his career as he’s only made 86 percent. His 12 misses included a league-leading seven in his rookie season. Those all came under the new rules, but he had issues in college too with the shorter extra points, missing 10 in three years.
Myers’ best season was his rookie year, but even then he was only 13th in the league for accuracy. This was where he got into the best rhythm of his career, though, making 15 in a row.
At times, he has an issue with the trajectory of his field goals, which can make him susceptible to having kicks blocked.
Myers has a big leg and has connected on 10 of 19 field goals from beyond 50 yards in his career. However, he’s only made two of seven from beyond 50 yards in preseason action. He has had a longest of 58 yards, which happened in his second ever NFL game.
Last year, he seemed to regress in this area as he missed both of his kicks from over 50 yards in preseason and then all three of his kicks from 50+ over the first six games.
Myers has never played in a cold weather game at the NFL level. However, he played college in the state of New York, so hopefully the conditions at Metlife Stadium will not be too alien to him.
Myers has made some clutch kicks during his career, but ultimately his record in pressure situations has not been very good.
He had two game winners in his rookie season - a chip shot in his second game to beat Miami 23-20 and a 53-yarder to beat the Ravens 22-20. The latter kick came after he’d missed a chip shot earlier on which looked to have doomed the Jaguars to a certain defeat.
However, he also had a game where he missed a potential game winner from 53-yards despite getting two shots at it. He had already missed but it didn’t count due to the Colts calling a time-out at the last moment. He got another chance to win it in overtime, but missed that too and the Colts went on to win 16-13.
In 2016 he had a game where he made a 49-yarder to give the Jaguars the lead with seven minutes to go, but then he got a chance to extend the lead with three minutes to go and his kick was blocked, setting up the Ravens’ game-winning field goal. He did make the game-winning extra point with under three minutes left in their 17-16 win over the Bears though.
Last year, he didn’t have any game-winners but did send the Jets game into overtime with a short field goal as time expired. However, he had already missed one fourth quarter field goal in that game, which the Jets won in overtime. That miss might have been a factor in their decision to punt from the 43 in overtime. A few weeks later, he doomed Jacksonville to another loss when he missed a kick that would have made it a one-possession game in the closing stages.
Myers apparently struggles with the mental side of the game and has been working hard to try and keep his technique sound.
He made just one game winner at Marist, in his freshman year.
Myers’ career touchback percentage is 72 percent but it was below 70 percent in two of his three seasons.
In 2017, the Jaguars coaching staff was said to have been disappointed with his hangtime on kickoffs. The opponents’ average field position was the worst of his career, although that was skewed by a 103-yard touchdown return where the coverage was more at fault than the kick as Myers himself was unable to get off a block.
In his first game as a Jet, Myers had a touchback on each of his three kickoffs.
Myers is 0-for-10 on onside kicks in his NFL career and has also put seven out of bounds.
Myers also did some punting in college. He posted an average of 39.0 yards in his senior year, with 16 punts landed inside the 20 and only two touchbacks. That’s obviously not to an NFL standard, but he could probably do it in an emergency.
He has three tackles in regular season and preseason action but missed this tackle badly against Jalin Marshall a few years ago.
If the choice was between Myers and Bertolet, then Myers probably gets the edge because Bertolet has no regular season experience in his career. However, the downwards trend since Myers’ rookie season is worrisome.
Nevertheless, Myers seems like the favorite to win the job, especially after Bertolet’s missed kick in the Giants game. However, his body of work is not that impressive so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets cut both their kickers and pick up someone after final cuts instead.