Special Teams Review: Jets-Browns

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

Let's review the key contributions...

Kicking game - What on earth were you Ficken?

In our game preview, we wrote how the Jets should pay special attention to Vincent Taylor due to his penchant for blocking kicks. As it turned out, Sheldon Richardson was the one who did the damage, albeit aided by Taylor penetrating alongside him.

The Jets did an awful job all day of preventing pressure with Richardson blocking a field goal and an extra point and multiple examples of players flying in off the edge to pressure kicks with Daniel Brown and Trevon Wesco failing to slow them down. Connor McGovern and Nathan Shepherd were responsible for the penetration that led to the two blocks.

Sam Ficken otherwise made two extra points and an important late field goal, but put the Jets in a hole when his kickoff went out of bounds to give the Browns great starting field position on their final drive. He also only had one touchback.

Braden Mann's punting was disappointing too, as he got multiple chances to pin the Browns deep from near midfield but couldn't get it much closer than the 10-yard line on four such attempts and then had a horrible 13-yard shank on the fifth. He did have one good 49-yard punt that was fair-caught inside the 20 but otherwise was pretty bad.

Mann was also responsible for a delay of game penalty on a field goal attempt but did draw a roughing the kicker penalty on one of his punts. The pressure on that play came off the edge where Wesco was blocking, but it looked like perhaps Matthias Farley should've diagnosed it sooner and dropped back to pick it up.

Kick coverage - Corey Allthetime

Corey Ballentine might have been disappointed not to get any defensive reps with Javelin Guidry out, but he made up for it on special teams. On each of the Browns' first three returns, he was the one who made the tackle. In fact, Neville Hewitt was the only other Jet to be credited with a special teams tackle, although Josh Adams and Brady Sheldon each got credit for an assist.

The Jets allowed a 31-yard return on the opening kickoff as Adams, Ty Johnson, Brown, Bryce Hager and Noah Dawkins all got blocked out of the play. They didn't give up too much after that though, although Brown and Elijah Campbell had missed tackles later on.

Ballentine and Jeff Smith did a solid job as the gunners, as each forced a fair catch and Smith also got downfield well to contain a return so Ballentine could clean up.

Return game - Brax to Basics

The Jets didn't have much success on kickoff returns, with Ballentine stuffed near the 20 on both his runbacks. Vyncint Smith was ineffective as a lead blocker and Chris Herndon allowed his man to get off his block to make a play.

On punt returns, Braxton Berrios actually had his most productive game with 21 return yards on a season-high three returns. In fact, that's the first time all year he's had more than one return, although he felt he had made a fair catch signal on one of them which saw him immediately cut down by the gunner.

On one return, though, Berrios took a fair catch near midfield when it looked like he had plenty of room to run. Clearly he doesn't trust his vices, in the same way a quarterback might not trust his protection. Campbell and Lamar Jackson had earlier messed up on a double team to force one fair catch.

Later on, the Jets dropped Jeff Smith and Campbell deeper to assist the vices, which was something they did a few times to good effect earlier in the season. Again this worked well on Berrios' longest punt return - a 12-yarder.

Berrios did also return a missed field goal but, despite breaking two tackles, he only got as far as the 20 before he was unceremoniously taken down by a guard. There was virtually no blocking on the play, suggesting the Jets have never practiced this and perhaps weren't even aware Berrios was back there in some cases.

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