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Kicker Greg Zuerlein: New Kickoff Rules a 'Work in Progress'

Brant Boyer, Zuerlein Plan to Use Preseason Games to Test Kickoff Strategies 


The NFL's new kickoff rules led to a spring of experimentation for Jets' veteran K Greg Zeurlein.

Heading into his 13th season in the league, Zuerlein spent significant time during OTAs and mandatory minicamp working closely with special teams coordinator Brant Boyer on new kickoff strategies.

"You always want to be as good as possible and set goals for yourself, sometimes on a daily basis, sometimes on a weekly basis, sometimes on a monthly basis or for the whole season," Zuerlein said. "But this spring there has been a lot of experimenting going on as well. We are working hard and just want to hit the ground running come fall camp so we're ready to go."

This offseason, Jets general manager Joe Douglas retained the team's specialists in Zuerlein and P Thomas Morstead intact, re-signing both to two-year deals.

See some of the best images of the Jets in the new Legacy Uniforms at 2024 Multimedia Day.

Last season, Zuerlein set the franchise record for consecutive field goals made (35). He connected on 26 straight attempts between Weeks 4 and 17. Morstead had an equally impressive season, leading the NFL with 54 punts of 50-plus yards and landing six punts inside the 5-yard line, while they both benefited from the consistency of long snapper Thomas Hennessy.

"Both Hennessy and Morstead are great, great football players, better dudes," Zuerlein said. "They're fun to be around. And so, it's a joy to come into work each day. And I think that shows on the football field. Hopefully we can keep that same success. At a high level go into this upcoming year."

In addition to field goal duties, Zuerlein, nicknamed "Legatron" and "Greg the Leg," handled kickoffs last season and finished fourth in the NFL with a 90.6% touchback rate. Heading into the 2024 season, the job won't be as simple as booting the ball through the end zone with the new rules in place.

"To completely honest with you, it is all a work in progress," Zuerlein said. "We did some practicing this spring and it didn't go as you would expect, so it's going to be a work in progress this summer figuring out what kicks work and taking them into the preseason games and seeing if you kick it like this, what's the result. It will be a lot of trial and error from there and is going to be very interesting preseason, so stay tuned."

Among other nuances, under the new rules, the kicker will have more opportunities to put the ball in play depending on where kicks land on the field. While Boyer and Zuerlein are still working to figure out what the best course of action will be, Zuerlein is looking forward to having a bigger impact on games.

"It opens up so many more opportunities to impact the game," Zuerlein said. "It also takes some away because you're not going to have surprise onside chances, but it also opens so many new opportunities, which I'm sure I haven't seen and everyone else around the league hasn't seen. It's just so unknown as of now."

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