Special Teams Review: Cardinals at Jets

We've been breaking down this week's game against Arizona. We wrap up today's analysis with a look at the special teams.

Let's review the key contributions...

Kicking game - Ficken keeps on ticking

Five games into the season, Sam Ficken remains perfect on the year with his only miss having been negated by a penalty. Right now, Jason Sanders is the only other AFC kicker without a miss, so can we say Ficken is building a case to go to the pro bowl yet?

Interestingly, over in the NFC, only two other kickers haven't missed yet, one of whom is Jason Myers.

Of course, Myers tends to get much more work than Ficken does, as Ficken just made a short field goal and an extra point on Sunday. He also had two touchbacks and the only other kickoff was returned from a yard deep.

As for punter Braden Mann, he arguably had his best game so far. Mann put up a 45 yard net where his previous best had only been 40. He also landed four kicks inside the 20, matching his total from the first four games, including one that bounced inside the five and was eventually downed at the 11 and one that had good hang time on it and was muffed for a near-turnover.

This game did also include perhaps the worst punt he's had so far, a kick from near midfield that went out of bounds at the 19. However, that wasn't entirely his fault as Frankie Luvu allowed unblocked pressure off the edge so Mann had to rush to get the kick off.

For the Cardinals, Andy Lee also almost had a punt blocked on a rush by Matthias Farley. Also, Lamar Jackson flew off the edge a couple of times and got close to blocking a field goal and an extra point but he knocked the kicker over each time and was lucky to only be flagged once for running into the kicker.

Kick coverage - Farley impressive

The Jets did a good job in punt coverage, limiting the Cardinals to two short punt returns, forcing two fair catches and pressuring the return man into a muff.

Farley stood out with two excellent open field tackles. The first came as Ashtyn Davis did a good job of getting downfield as the gunner but rather than overrunning the play as he has tended to in the early part of the season, he broke down and forced the return man to change direction. On the second one, both gunners were double teamed and barely got downfield at all but Farley and Thomas Hennessy were unencumbered down the middle of the field to again surround the return man.

Javelin Guidry got downfield well on the play where the return man muffed the ball and was only prevented from recovering it near the goal line because one of the blockers grabbed his jersey. Quincy Wilson got downfield well to force a punt and drew an illegal block in the back on the play where the muff occurred.

On their only kickoff return of the day, the Cardinals ran it out to the 30 before Bradley McDougald forced the return man out of bounds. Wilson was blocked out of the play.

Return game - Benign Perine

Josh Malone had broken two 40-yard returns as the Jets' kickoff returner but somehow was only averaging 20 yards per return, so it wasn't a surprise to see him let go this week.

Clearly believing it can't be too hard to find someone who can emulate such low level production, the Jets turned Sunday's game into a sort of open audition.

First La'Mical Perine booted a squib kick and got blown up at the 12-yard line, then returned one from the end zone and got blown up at the 15.

Next, Jamison Crowder fielded a kick near the goal line before half time and just decided to flop to the ground at the seven-yard line, almost as if he wanted to sabotage the return unit's numbers.

Finally, Braxton Berrios fielded a shorter kick and got blown up at the 17-yard line.

In all three cases...it's a no from me, dawg.

Some bad blocking was responsible for these plays with Chris Herndon, Trevon Wesco and Farley all missing assignments. This also bled into the punt return unit and there is no better example than on Berrios' only return of the day. He slipped the first tackle but then got swallowed up by the second wave as all three vices - Pierre Desir, Jackson and Guidry - got beaten but then stood around assuming Berrios would be tackled rather than blocking someone else which could have sprung a long return.

Guidry got burned one other time by the gunner and Davis fell over as his man beat him downfield, so Berrios was unable to return any of the other three Lee punts. Sadly, this is another unit that's underperforming as badly as the offense and defense are.

That wraps up today's analysis from the game, but we'll be back with more over the next few days...