The offensive and defensive guys aren't the only ones who appreciate trading thuds with bodies in slightly different green uniforms in Green Bay this week. Brant Boyer and his special teamers value these two days of joint practices before Saturday's second preseason game as well.
"Everybody's tired of leaning on each other out there," Boyer told newyorkjets.com's Eric Allen, "so it's always good to see different rushers and different looks and practice against other people who may run double-teams a different way than we're teaching it. I just think the competition aspect can do nothing but make you better. I really like this format."
But while Boyer has many "teams" members who also play on O and D, he's got a host of issues that are peculiar to him as the Jets' special teams coordinator now in his sixth season. Most recently was the decision to have Matt Ammendola handle the placekicking while waiving goodbye to Chris Naggar.
"Matt's got elite leg strength, elite rise," Boyer said. "His kickoffs are fantastic. He's done a really nice job since he's been here. You're just looking to see the progression of just getting better every day and the slow progression to hopefully being that guy to solve this situation that we've been in."
Punter Braden Mann, on the other foot ... er, hand ... seems to making progress in his second year on the Green & White.
"I have some pretty good expectations for him," Boyer said. "I think you've seen a glimpse of what he could be with his locations this past week, and I think he's much more consistent than he was. I think you're going to see some big upside with him, I really do."
Some of those glimpses indeed came in the preseason opener against the Giants. Mann put up nice averages of 46.2 gross yards and 40.0 yards net on five punts. He unofficially notched a 4.86-second hangtime on a second-quarter punt that produced a fair catch.
And the "location" kick in the fourth quarter, batted from over the end zone back to the Giants 1 by Vyncint Smith, was a thing of punting beauty.
"It was a heck of a kick by Braden. The protection was solid," Boyer said. "It's a kick we've been trying to work on here and it's the first time we tried it in a game. It showed out pretty good for the first time. Vyncint had a heck of a play to tap it out there and Braden did a nice job executing it. It provides a lift, and it shows the young guys how it's supposed to be done, right?"
Another young fellow got his feet wet in the punt return game — Michael "O" Carter (as opposed to Michael "D" Carter or MC II) returned two punts for 14 yards vs. the Giants.
"I think he's got a ways to go returning the ball," Boyer said, "but to his credit, I'll tell you what, he has worked and worked and worked. And I absolutely love the kid. He is a heck of a kid to have in the room. I think he's got a unique skillset that we could possibly use in the future. It's just a matter of he's never had to do something like that, he's never been asked to return punts or kicks very often. ... He is coming along, making progress every day."
As for the exact depth chart at both returner spots, who'll line up opposite Justin Hardee as the other punt-cover gunner, and assorted other special teams questions, the coach said of the Giants game, "We've got a ton of young guys. I thought they competed — that's all I can ask them to do. I thought they played hard."
But the Jets specialists need more situational work, and Boyer is very happy to see they're going to get it against the Packers and Eagles in the next two weeks of joint practices.