One thing we know about Lachlan Edwards is that he'll work hard to improve. He did that in between his rookie and sophomore NFL seasons.
"I knew the Jets would bring me back, but I knew there wasn't a guarantee they were going to keep me," the punter said as he and his teammates were clearing out lockers and scattering from the Atlantic Health Training Center at the conclusion of the Jets' season Monday. "I needed to get better because they invested in me, so I needed to prove I was worth what they invested. I think I showed a bit of that this year and there's still a lot of room to grow."
Yes, Edwards did improve, to the point where his key metrics set franchise records. Still, when I told him he now holds the Jets' season marks with his 46.6 gross punting average and 40.5 net, he was surprised.
"No," he said in mild disbelief. "All right. I didn't know that."
It sounds odd that, with punting averages rising ever higher every season, Edwards is the first Jet to clear 46 gross yards and 40 net yards with his kicks, but it's true. Curley Johnson set the standards with his 45.3/39.7 averages in 1965, and they weren't surpassed until Ryan Quigley's 45.9/39.9 in 2014.
The Jets Wrapped Up the 2017 Season at 1 Jets Drive on Monday
Another milestone for Edwards came with inside-the-20 punts. His 33 this season are the most in franchise history behind only Steve Weatherford, whose 42 I-20s in 2010 set the then-NFL record.
Edwards, the Australian by way of Sam Houston State, accurately assessed his second season in green and white.
"By no means is that my best," he said. "There were a lot of times throughout the year where I could've done even better. And there are still probably 10 to 12 punts that I wish I could get back. Whereas in my first year, when I had multiple bad punts in a game, this year there was maybe one. Most games I didn't have really any. That was a positive we built on from the previous year. And I'm going to take this offseason the same way."
Other than a short return Down Under to party with his brother, who's just gotten engaged, Edwards said it's all business, and that means another stretch in San Diego working with Darren Bennett, who's been dubbed the patron saint of Australian punters. Lachlan said kicker Chandler Catanzaro and snapper Thomas Hennessy are even planning to join him for a two-week stay.
The objective is to make a tighter drivetrain for the Jets' kicking game and to maintain and improve those punting numbers. As good as Edwards' season was in franchise annals, he still ranked 11th in the NFL in gross and 19th in net. He'd like to climb the rankings ladder but knows his net and the punt coverage team's stats are most important with ST coordinator Brant Boyer and will keep him employed.
"Overall, I was happy," he said, surveying the just completed season in his mind's eye. "Just if I can get maybe 10 percent of the punts back, I think there's no reason why we cant have a Pro Bowl year coming up in a couple of years."