We're still breaking down how every Jets player performed in last night's game, wrapping up with the special teams units.
Kick Coverage - Cobra Kai
Seven different Jets were credited with a tackle in kick coverage, including two each for long snapper Thomas Hennessy and linebackers Del'Shawn Phillips and DQ Thomas. Hennessy and Phillips combined to stop the return man for a loss on a punt return with Hennessy initially missing the tackle but then hustling back into the play after Jason Pinnock helped stretch it out. Denzel Mims, playing the gunner position, was the first guy down on that play.
Thomas, Micheal Clemons, Justin Hardee and Hamsah Nasirildeen each had a missed tackle but these mostly just slowed up the return man so they could bottle him up.
Lawrence Cager and Elijah Riley were also credited with tackles on kickoff returns while Kai Nacua and Ashtyn Davis were credited with tackles on punts. Nacua's came on the longest punt return of the day, a 13-yard runback, as he cleaned up following two missed tackles by his teammates.
Hardee forced a fair catch on one punt, although it looked like the return man had some room to run. On another, Irvin Charles failed to get downfield fast enough to prevent the touchback.
Return Game - Ham Fisted
The Jets didn't have much success in the return game but one highlight was Zonovan Knight's 38-yard return which saw him elude a couple of tackles and finish strongly. Thomas and Charles had good blocks on that runback but the likes of Will Parks, Jeremy Ruckert and Nasirildeen all let their man past them. That was one of at least three plays where Nasirildeen got beaten by his man.
Knight's other return and both of Tevin Coleman's were blown up near the 20. Jabari Zuniga and Kwon Alexander also missed blocks.
On punts, Braxton Berrios came in and took a fair catch near midfield, doing a good job of coming up fast so the short kick couldn't take an Atlanta bounce. Otherwise, Calvin Jackson took over as the punt returner but didn't have much success.
Davis had a good block on Jackson's first return but Tony Adams and Riley were beaten when the next one was blown up. He also had to take one fair catch as Bryce Hall compounded his tough day on defense by getting burned by the gunner. Interestingly, Adams and La'Mical Perine were both on the field together for one return play, which is strictly speaking illegal because they both wear the same jersey number.
Finally, Mims and Knight were each called for an illegal block in the back penalty on the same return.
Kicking - Putting his life on Zuerlein
The battle continues between Eddy Pineiro and Greg Zuerlein to be the kicker with Zuerlein making a 44-yard field goal and an extra point and Pineiro making two extra points. One of Pineiro's made kicks was close to hitting the upright which doesn't seem significant until you consider how close this battle is.
Interestingly, Pineiro kicked off twice. This is notable because punter Braden Mann had been kicking off in preseason and also the whole time Pineiro was on the roster last year. One of Pineiro's kicks went through the back of the end zone but the other was laid up short near the 10-yard line and returned out past the 25. Zuerlein did not kick off.
Mann did kick off twice, with both being returned from a couple of yards deep and stopped near the 25.
In terms of punting, Mann did well but ruined his numbers by putting one in the end zone from the 44-yard line. That one did bounce near the pylon but took a heavy bounce into the end zone. He boomed 53 and 61 yard punts though, the latter getting the return man backpedalling.
Finally, Brandin Echols got good pressure on a Falcons field goal attempt coming off the edge.