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Specialists Review: Pair of Pro Bowlers Headline Stellar Unit

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Kicker Jason Myers and returner Andre Roberts headlined the Jets specialists in 2018.

The season was a “whirlwind” for Myers, who lost the Seahawks training camp battle to Sebastian Janikowski. Myers was then acquired off waivers by the Green & White and eventually became the first placekicker to represent the Jets at the Pro Bowl.

The fourth-year veteran converted 91.7% of his field goals (33 of 36), tying Nick Folk’s franchise season accuracy rate set in 2013, and 90.9% of his extra points (30 of 33). He also set a franchise single-season record with 60 touchbacks.

Myers connected on an NFL-record five kicks of at least 55 yards and set a franchise record for most 50-plus-yard field goals in a season with six. Additionally, the Marist product became one of eight players in league history with at least seven field goals in a game (Week 6 vs. IND) and the sixth to hit seven without missing an attempt. He accounted for 24 points (7 FGs, 3 PATs) that game, the second most by a kicker in league history. His 274 combined yards on the seven kicks established a new NFL record.

“I’ve always known what my potential was,” Myers said in a first-person story chronicling his journey to the NFL and his 2018 season. “It’s nice to finally see it match my production.”

Roberts, who earned first-team All-Pro honors as a kick returner, had 10 returns of 40-plus yards while no other player had more than three. The nine-year veteran finished atop the NFL with a 14.09 punt return average and 1,174 kick return yards. He also finished second in both kick return average (29.4) and punt return yards (324).

While Myers and Roberts received the accolades, punter Lachlan Edwards continues to show growth in his third season with the Jets. Edwards improved both his gross and net NFL rankings for the second straight year in addition to setting the franchise’s net record for the second consecutive season.

“I think Lac is learning just like everybody else is,” special teams coordinator Brant Boyer said. “I think that he does really well in certain times and then at times he's inconsistent. But I think overall he's done well. … He's still an ascending punter. I think certainly he can improve every week but there are certainly some things, he hasn't punted in ideal conditions.

“I think he's going to continue to ascend. He's going to be a hell of a punter into the future.”

Boyer also believes long snapper Thomas Hennessy is a top-five snapper in the league and added, “He’s a consummate professional. He’s an awesome kid, great to have in my room. His snaps are right on the money.”

Rick Gosselin, the long-time Dallas Morning News sportswriter, Talk of Fame Network radio host and Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, has compiled special teams rankings over the last 39 years and ranked the Jets as the No. 1 special teams group in the NFL in 2018.

The Green & White have a pair of electric gunners in Trenton Cannon and Charone Peake, who finished first and third on the team in special teams tackles with 16 and 11, respectively. Cannon, the team’s sixth-round pick in 2018, was originally slated to become the Jets’ return man but instead blossomed into a special teams ace alongside Peake.

“If you ask me to go find two gunners, that's what I would find, our two guys,” said Boyer, who also added, “With two legit gunners that have been there, it’s made a huge difference.”

Look Ahead
Two-thirds of the Jets’ snap-hold-kick trio are locked up for next season – Edwards and Hennessy – and Myers has an expiring contract. The Jets have had three kickers in as many years, but perhaps Myers’ excellence in 2018 could extend his career in green and white.

Roberts is also set to become a free agent in March along with five of the team’s top nine special teams tacklers. However, a handful of the special teams core is under contract with the likes of Cannon, Peake and Terrence Brooks.

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