In-depth Analysis: Jets-Panthers (Part 3 - Special Teams)

Over the course of today, we've been breaking down the performance of every player that took the field in the Jets' preseason game against the Panthers. We'll conclude now with the special teams.

Kicking Game

Greg Zuerlein continues to look great, with all five of his kicks right down the middle, including 47 and 45-yard field goals. On kickoffs he had three touchbacks and one fielded in the end zone but returned. The other two he laid up short of the goal line. None of the returns reached the 25.

Punter Thomas Morstead also looked good when he first punt rolled all the way down to the two-yard line where it was downed by Dane Cruikshank. His next punt was just a 39-yarder out of bounds and the one after that was a better one, also near the sideline, but with a 10-yard return.

Return Game

Undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson got all the return work this week, which perhaps means the team has seen enough from Alex Erickson to view him as a fallback option. Despite being listed as the first-string kickoff and punt returner, Mecole Hardman - who was active - did not get a chance.

On his lone kickoff return, Gipson was stopped at the 20 as Zaire Barnes' man got off his block. Another punt return was blown up immediately as Barnes and Craig James got beaten. Derrick Langford got away with a blatant block in the back as he allowed the gunner to get the wrong side of him too.

His one good return was a 14-yarder where the punter outkicked his coverage on a 60-yarder and he slipped a couple of tackles going laterally but wasn't able to turn it upfield.

Gipson also took three fair catches including one where it looked like he might have a chance to field the ball cleanly and try to make the first man miss. Ultimately his lack of production as a receiver so far could hurt his chances of winning this role.

Kick Coverage

As noted, the Jets stopped every kickoff short of the 25 and gave up 10 yards on the only punt return. They didn't have any missed tackles on these plays.

In coverage, Caleb Johnson became the first player this preseason to be credited with multiple special teams tackles in a game. He got in front of the punt returner with the second wave and blew up a kickoff return at the 20.

Pita Taumoepenu also impressed with a good hit short of the 25 on a kickoff while Kenny Yeboah, Marquis Waters, Ashtyn Davis and Thomas Hennessy were all credited with assists.