Jets Camp Preview: Special Teams

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2015 Highlights:While the Jets failed to deliver momentum-changing plays on special teams last season, they finished in the NFL's top half in a number of categories. They ranked No. 13 in both team punt return offense (8.6 yards/return) and team kickoff return offense average return (22.1-yard line) and No. 14 in team kickoff return defense (23.8 yards/return).  Jets' opponents also had 21 inside-the-20 drive starts after kickoffs, which placed the Green & White No. 2 in the NFL. Nick Folk and Randy Bullock combined to connect on 82.4% (27-for-33) of their field goal attempts and LS Tanner Purdum extended his streak to 939 long snaps without an errant or muffed snap.

Usher in the New:Todd Bowles changed course in the offseason, hiring Brant Boyer after parting ways with Bobby April. Boyer was a linebacker with the Browns between 2001-03 when Bowles served as Cleveland's secondary coach.

"Very bright, very energetic, understands the game, probably has a lot of fire in him for what I'm looking for and getting things done and how I think the connection needs to be made between him and the players," Bowles said of Boyer.

The Jets won't don the pads until July 30, but you can expect Boyer's units to play with speed and ferocity.

"Part of my philosophy is 500 miles per hour all the time," he said. "We're going to play snap to whistle and we're going to punch first. That's how I think I'm going to coach."

 

On the Mend: Veteran Nick Folk, who was successful on 13 of his 16 field goal attempts before going to injured reserve in November with a quad injury, had a solid spring. Folk hit a few from 60+ and told us he'll be ready for the long shots should the opportunities arise. 

Keep an Eye On: Everything. There are vacancies all over the place. The Jets are searching for new return men and veterans Jeremy Ross, who carries career averages of 11.2 yards on punts and 25.1 yards on kickoff returns, and burner Chandler Worthy, who spent time last season on the Texans roster, will be part of the competition.  Rookies Jalin Marshall, who averaged 12.7 yards per return at Ohio State, and Romar Morris, a speedster from North Carolina, also figure to get their chances. Devin Smith, a second-round pick in 2015, is working his way back after tearing the ACL in his right knee last December and could join the fray when he gets healthy.  Then at punter, it's an Australian duel between Lachlan Edwards, a seventh-round pick from Sam Houston State, and Tom Hackett, a directional punter who was a two-time Ray Guy award winner at Utah.

Key Question: Who is going to step up as the Jets make their transition?  There is plenty of opportunity across the board as the Jets moved on from last season's leading punt returner (Jeremy Kerley, DET), kickoff returner (Antonio Cromartie, Unsigned) and punter (Ryan Quigley, JAX). Boyer referred to S Rontez Miles and LBs Erin Henderson and Trevor Reilly as "energizer bunnies" and he will count on that trio to take on a leadership role to teach the young kids how it is done.

"With a new scheme, we need to mentally have everything down," Miles said. "The mental aspect is more important than anything right now. The physical part will come along. Mentally we have to be sound because special teams can win or lose games."

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