Jets special teams coach Brant Boyer spoke to the media today and provided a progress report on many of the unit’s key players.
The Jets will have a new punter this year. Lachlan Edwards was not retained, and the team used a late round pick on Texas A&M’s Braden Mann. The coach says he is happy with the punter’s progress so far.
Jets ST coach Brant Boyer says rookie punter Braden Mann: “He’s done a great job thus far.” #nyj— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) August 24, 2020
Jets STC Brant Boyer on rookie P Braden Mann: Satisfied with hang time, still tinkering with some things. Will "expand tool box" as time goes on. Says he has soft hands and will be a good holder. #Jets— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) August 24, 2020
I have heard knowledgeable people talk about how underrated a good holder is in the success of kickers. I couldn’t tell you what makes a good holder, but I do believe it matters. It is good to hear that Mann is effective in the role.
The Jets also have a position battle at placekicker between incumbent Sam Ficken and former Cowboy Brett Maher. It sounds like this competition is too close to call.
Ficken vs. Maher kicking battle: Boyer says it will go down to the end. "Solid percentages" in camp. "Neck and neck." #Jets— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) August 24, 2020
In general I think the lack of preseason games is overrated, but I could see the kicking competition as an area where preseason games would be useful. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard about some kicker having a great camp who suddenly loses his accuracy once he’s in a stadium in a game situation, even in the relatively low pressure environment of preseason.
One might wonder whether a tie goes to the kicker with the stronger leg, Maher.
Boyer is also looking for a kickoff return man with Vyncint Smith out for the start of the season.
Ashtyn Davis and La'Mical Perrine, both rookies, can help on special teams, per Boyer. Davis in the mix for KOR job. #Jets— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) August 24, 2020
We can hope for the best here. I can’t tell you how many times I have had my heart broken by a rookie returner lacking ball security. This might be another area where the loss of preseason is meaningful. It’s very difficult if not impossible to simulate a return situation in practice.