In-depth Analysis: Jets-Eagles Preseason Week 1 - Special Teams
The Jets' win last night was overshadowed by the Zach Wilson injury but we're still breaking down how every Jets player performed today, wrapping up with the special teams units.
Kick Coverage - King Charles
A variety of players contributed in kick coverage, with seven different players credited with a special teams tackle each. However, one surprising player that wasn't credited with a tackle, but impressed by getting downfield well and constantly being around the football was Micheal Clemons. The rookie also contributed in punt protection.
Two other players that impressed with their ability to get downfield were undrafted rookies DQ Thomas and Irvin Charles, who were each the first to get downfield on a punt. Charles was a good gunner in college and he blew past his man here, slowing the return man up to help blow the play up even though he wasn't able to finish the tackle himself. Javelin Guidry also got downfield well to force a fair catch.
Justin Hardee was in on the tackle on the opening kickoff and fellow defensive backs Ashtyn Davis and Tony Adams were also credited with tackles. Linebackers Jamien Sherwood, Hamsah Nasirildeen and Kai Nacua were also credited with a tackle each.
There was, of course, one breakdown in coverage with the return man brought down at midfield. This was because of missed tackles by Adams and Elijah Riley. Sherwood and Davis also missed tackles.
Return Game - Having a 'shard time
Braxton Berrios remains the top option to return kicks and punts. He returned the opening kickoff to the 34 and was in there for a punt, although he didn't field it, letting it land inside the 20. After this, he stepped aside for some others to get a chance.
Newcomer Rashard Davis got a lot of work as the punt returner but had a torrid time. He muffed one badly, getting lucky when the ball ricocheted right back to him for the recovery. He also looked shaky on the other three that he fielded, juggling each of them on the catch. His last return saw him make a nice cut for 14 yards, though.
Nobody else got a chance to field a punt although Calvin Jackson, Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore have taken reps there during camp so we could see one of them get a shot.
Rookie Zonovan Knight also got a chance to return kickoffs. One was a short return on a short kick, but the other was a 50-yard return from deep which set up the winning score.
Finally, in his only action of the night, Tevin Coleman took a kickoff back to the 27.
In terms of blocking, Bryce Huff and Del'Shawn Phillips each had a good block, but Adams and Jason Pinnock missed their blocks on a return.
Kicking - The Mann of the Moment
The battle to be the placekicker remains neck-and-neck as both Eddy Pineiro and Greg Zuerlein scored three points yesterday with Pineiro hitting a short field goal and Zuerlein converting three extra points, with all four kicks down the middle.
Interestingly, the Jets seem to be sticking with Braden Mann as their kickoff specialist no matter what. It's good that he was out there too, because he had to make a touchdown saving tackle near midfield on one of them. Generally, his kicks were nice and deep, with two touchbacks and one returned from five yards deep.
As a punter, Mann was solid. Three of his five punts were inside the 20, there were no returns to speak of and his overall numbers were solid with a net of over 45. His best one was a 59-yarder that got the return man backpedalling so he had no momentum once he fielded it.