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Jets ST Look Ahead | 'Not Good Enough' Yet Still Pretty Good

One Analyst Ranked Them 9th in the NFL but Coordinator Brant Boyer Wasn't Totally Happy with '22

Table inside Article
Jets Player Exp in '23 GP-GS-DNP-IA O/D-ST-Total Snaps
Braden Mann (P) 4th 17-0-0-0 0-172—172
Thomas Hennessy (LS) 7th 17-0-0-0 0-155—155
Greg Zuerlein (K) 12th 17-0-0-0 0-123—123
Justin Hardee (ST) 7th 17-0-0-0 0-367—367


Unrestricted: Zuerlein

'23: Climbing Back into the Top 10
Brant Boyer's tough on his guys and tough on himself. The ST coordinator's assessment of '22 late in the season: "I think our penalties went down this year and guys have been in generally better spots, sustaining blocks. Giving up two big [punt] returns this year, things like that, I obviously haven't been happy with. The bottom line is we haven't been good enough on special teams, and it starts with me."

Yet the numbers, and specifically Rick Gosselin's annual NFL teams rankings, don't judge the Jets quite as sternly. They went from 30th his first year at the helm in 2016 to first in the league two years later. They slipped to 26th two years after that, but clambered back to No. 9 this past season.

Boyer coached another Pro Bowl player in coverage star Justin Hardee and got three monster field goals from Greg Zuerlein and another solid season of returns from Braxton Berrios. Only Zuerlein can become an unrestricted free agent next month.

'22: Quick Look Back
The "drive train" worked fairly well. Zuerlein converted 30 of 37 field goals, including the franchise-record-long 60-yarder at Minnesota, and also led the league with an 83.9% touchback rate. P Braden Mann had an up-and-down year, but some key numbers were solid — his 46.9 gross average set the franchise record and his 40.5 net marked his second time over 40, and let's not forget his perfectly executed onsides kick at Cleveland. Thomas Hennessy was called for his first penalty, at Buffalo, in six seasons as the Jets' long-snapper but atoned with another year of near-flawless snapping.

Berrios' return averages weren't quite where they were in his '21 PB campaign but still weren't bad: 23.1 on kickoffs, eighth in the league, and 11.4 on punts, seventh among all with 15-plus returns. Hardee is listed with the specialists because for his first time as a Jets, he had zero defensive snaps, and this past season he led the Green & White in both ST snaps (367) and tackles (14). Other Jets with 200-plus ST snaps: Jamien Sherwood (309), Ashtyn Davis (278), rookie Micheal Clemons (235), Brandin Echols (224) and Kenny Yeboah (213).

ST Trivia
One area of strength for Mann was dropping his punts close to the goal line. At one point in the first half of the season he had the longest current streak of touchback-less games in the league. And for the year he had five punts downed inside the 5, the most by a Jet since Steve Weatherford's remarkable 2010 with seven punts inside the 5. Making artful stops at the 1- or 2-yard line to prevent touchbacks on some of those nifty kicks were Davis, Echols and Hardee.

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