In his first season with the Jets, kicker Chandler Catanzaro rebounded nicely from a down year in Arizona. Catanzaro converted on 83.3% of his kicks in 2017 compared to a 75% mark in '16 and didn't miss an extra point this season.
"I hold myself to a really high standard," he told me as the team cleared their lockers out last week. "I want to make every kick when I'm out there. There are definitely a couple kicks I'd like to have back, but all in all, it was a pretty good season. Thomas Hennessy and Lachlan Edwards did a heck of a job snapping and holding for me, which made my job a lot easier. And the guys up front did a great job blocking for me. A lot of credit goes to them, too."
Catanzaro initially won the job in the summer not only because of his field goals but also because of his kickoff strength. Both his 45 touchbacks and 66.2 touchback percentage were the most for a Jets kicker since 1991.
"I think I have a good base, I just have to keep moving forward," said Catanzaro, who has an expiring contract. "It's really a next-kick mentality, just take it one kick at a time. There's maybe a couple things fundamentally that I need to work on to make sure I'm doing that for next season. All in all, it was a good season and there's a lot to build off."
The fourth-year vet is going to take the next couple of weeks to reflect on the things he did well and what he'd like to improve for next season. Catanzaro said he learned a lot this year under coordinator Brant Boyer, especially regarding how to kick in the wind at MetLife Stadium compared to the rather calm base of Glendale, AZ or Clemson, SC, where he played collegiately.
"There's a lot of places the wind swirls and MetLife is one of them," he said. "I really enjoyed kicking there this year. I learned a little bit about how the wind works. I learned how to hit a cleaner ball. There's a lot of stuff I can build on next year."
Perhaps the special teams highlight of the year came on a Catanzaro boot in Week 4 at MetLife Stadium. He connected on a 41-yard field goal in overtime to give the Jets a 23-20 win over the Jaguars, which brought them to 2-2. Other highlights in the running include the franchise-long 57-yard field goal in Week 5 and kicking Week 16 off, no pun intended, with a successful onside attempt.
"I think the Jacksonville game-winner was a lot of fun," Catanzaro said. "Just to come through for the guys on the team. That was a hard-fought battle and to end it with a kick was kind of cool. That was probably my favorite personal moment."
Best Images in Black & White from the 2017 Season