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Brant Boyer & Co. Have Been Piecing Together Jets' Special Teams Puzzle

Veteran Coordinator: 'There Will Be a Lot of Unknowns ... It Wil Be Interesting to See How Things Shake Out'


This is one in a series of articles that will also appear in the New York Jets 2024 Yearbook, which will be published later this summer.

While kickoffs will look drastically different this season, the Jets' special teams will look very familiar. Brant Boyer is back for his ninth season as special teams coordinator along with the Green & White's reliable kicking duo of punter Thomas Morstead and kicker Greg Zuerlein.

Morstead led the NFL with 99 punts, was second with 36 inside-the-20 punts and first with 14 inside-the-10 kicks. Zuerlein set the franchise record by making 26 consecutive field goals and tied for the league lead in game-tying/-winning kicks.

"Getting those guys back were my No. 1 and No. 2 priorities this offseason," Boyer said. "But you have to talk about that whole trio, including [long snapper] Thomas Hennessy. They are all just great guys and great pros. You never have to tell them to lead or to get to work. They take care of it all. They perform at an elite level."

However, for all the familiarity in personnel, Boyer's creativity will be put to the test. Over the offseason the league approved new of kickoff rules similar to the XFL format that focuses on increasing the return rate while decreasing injuries. WR Irvin Charles and S Ashtyn Davis will see bigger roles after the departure of Pro Bowl gunner Justin Hardee in free agency.

"There is going to be a lot of wait-and-see," Boyer said. "We've been experimenting with what you can and cannot do and what will work and how we do it. We have been trying different strategies and different techniques. It's going to be really really interesting to see how it goes.

Boyer describes the life of a special-teams coach as "basically you're putting together a puzzle all the time because you never know because you never know who you're going to end up with. You have some idea for the most part but figuring it out is what I appreciate most about the job."

In addition, the Jets have an open returner spot with many candidates, including WR Xavier Gipson and RBs Tarik Cohen, Isaiah Davis and Xazavian Valladay. Whichever two win the jobs this summer, Boyer predicts the pair will touch the ball at least 120 times in the regular season.

"We're going to need more than one guy, wherever they come from, and we have a couple of really good guys," he said. "It will be interesting to see how things shake out."