We’ve been breaking down this week’s game against the Panthers. We wrap up today’s analysis with a look at the special teams.
Let’s review the key contributions…
Kicking game – Ammending his job description
This was a bizarre game from the kicking unit, as punter Braden Mann suffered an early knee injury and placekicker Matt Ammendola – who never punted in college – had to take over.
Ammendola did a creditable job, with a 48.5 gross average and a 42.5 net average. To put those numbers into perspective, Mann only beat that gross average three times in his rookie year and only beat the net average twice.
With three punts of 50 yards or over, including 57 and 65-yard bombs, Ammendola definitely exceeded expectations and the coverage units did a great job to limit any return yardage. His only punt of less than 40 yards went out of bounds inside the 20. His last punt, however, was his worst with just a 27-yard net.
Ironically, while his punting was unexpectedly good, Ammendola’s kicking was poor. He didn’t get a chance to attempt a field goal or extra point and laid up one of his kickoffs inexplicably short to give Carolina good field position. His onside kick, in a situation where the Jets might have been better off kicking away, was also poor.
Prior to getting hurt, Mann’s first two punts looked pretty good. The injury occurred as Daniel Brown got lit up and pulled down the rusher, who rolled into Mann’s plant leg. Brown was called for a hold on the play.
That wasn’t the only penalty on the kicking units as both teams had multiple issues. Ty Johnson forgot he was supposed to be on the field on one punt, causing a delay of game. On another, it looked like Tyler Kroft was at fault on an illegal formation. Bryce Huff was also called for running into the kicker, although this was declined.
Kick coverage – Del’Shawn the Funky Homosapien
New gunner Justin Hardee, who missed preseason, made an immediate impact on the punt coverage teams, which did an excellent job despite Mann being out. Hardee was only credited with one special teams tackle but he beat his man down the field a few times to set up stops. The officials made the right call on the play where he was initially called for fair catch interference but then the flag got picked up.
Del’Shawn Phillips – having also improbably led the team with nine defensive tackles – also led them with three special teams tackles and Sheldrick Redwine added two. Each of them also had a missed tackle, but in Phillips’ case it was on a play where he got downfield to slow the return man up.
Thomas Hennessy and Adrian Colbert also had missed tackles but that didn’t prove to be too costly. Colbert was also in on a good special teams stop and got downfield well on another punt, although he was blocked out of making the play.
Brown, Hamsah Nasilirdeen and Blake Cashman were all also in on plays in coverage.
Return game – All Gas No Brax
The Jets didn’t even attempt to return a kickoff on Sunday, as it was mainly Braxton Berrios back there and he let a couple go over into the end zone that he easily could have fielded near the goal line and tried to run back. Ace Carter was back there to field one, with Elijah Moore also on the field – perhaps foreshadowing that they might attempt to run some kind of gadget-style reverse with those two involved at some point.
Berrios also handled punts and dashed up the middle for 15 on his only return. He had to take a fair catch on three others and left one to bounce near the five-yard line.
Bryce Hall and Javelin Guidry handled the vice role and each got beaten once. Guidry did a good job of staying on his block on the one Berrios return though.
That wraps up today’s analysis from the game, but we’ll be back with more over the next few days…