Special Teams Review: Jets-Saints

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

Let's review the key contributions...

Kicking game - Rock Steady Eddy

It's probably too soon to suggest that the Jets have finally found a kicker, but Eddy Pineiro made all three of his field goals in his first game with the team. All three kicks by Pineiro were noticeably low but perhaps that just goes to show how accuracy is more important than having a big leg, and all were comfortably good anyway.

Another sign of Pineiro's lack of a big leg, or perhaps just the Jets' concern that his injury issues could resurface if they overtax him, was the fact the Jets used Braden Mann on kickoffs. Mann has had this role in the past and is generally pretty decent at it. All three of his kickoffs were touchbacks on Sunday.

Mann perhaps needs to add value by being a good kickoff specialist because his punting has been a disappointment. With that said, the Saints twice used timeouts to force him to punt into the wind at the end of a quarter and he unleashed two of his best punts of the year - 60 and 54 yards. He also had one superb punt that he kicked out of bounds at the 7-yard line. Perhaps he's coming around.

He did allow 54 yards of returns, but overall his numbers - 52.2 yards per punt gross and 43.3 net - were decent, especially in the rough conditions. He was also under pressure a couple of times, with Kenny Yeboah getting beaten once in punt protection. There was also one uncharacteristic high snap from Thomas Hennessy.

Finally, something to watch: Brandin Echols is getting really good at flying off the edge to pressure placekickers. He got close on two extra points and a field goal. Hopefully he'll get one at one point and perhaps even set up a return. On the other hand, hopefully teams don't notice this and use a hard count on 4th-and-short.

Kick coverage - What can Brown do for you?

As usual, Justin Hardee was in the thick of the action from the gunner position. He got downfield to make his team-leading ninth special teams tackle, was called for fair catch interference on a terrible call and got downfield first on another punt where the return man slipped his tackle but Dan Brown was right there to make the play after he got slowed up.

Del'Shawn Phillips also combined with Hennessy to make a good tackle in punt coverage. The longest return of the day saw Ryan Griffin credited with the tackle after Vyncint Smith and Phillips both overpursed badly.

Obviously there were no returns on kickoffs because of Mann's perfect record on touchbacks.

Return game - Phony Braxton?

Braxton Berrios entered this week first in the NFL in kick return average and third in punt returns but he may have damaged his chances of making the pro bowl off the back of these numbers on Sunday because he had a few shorter returns on plays where he ordinarily probably wouldn't have run it out.

Berrios was perhaps believing his hype a bit too much as his first four returns averaged just 24.3 yards per return, bringing his average down. That included one play where he was blown up at the 18.

However, he pulled out a 42-yard return with his last runback of the day to restore his average somewhat.

On punts, Berrios was also keen to run more back, as he had three returns, including a season-high 28-yarder which saw him break a tackle in the open field. This was actually the first time all year he's returned more than two, again trying to rack up more yardage and ensure he has enough returns to qualify for the leaderboards.

Hardee had a good block on his long kickoff return and another to spring him for an 11-yard punt return. His longest punt return was thanks to great work from Hardee and debutant Rachad Wildgoose at the vice position with another good block downfield from Hamsah Nasirildeen. Yeboah also had a good block on one of Berrios' other kick returns.

On some of the less successful returns, there were missed blocks from Hardee, Ty Johnson twice and Jarrad Davis. The gunners also got downfield well against Jason Pinnock and Bryce Hall on the two punts Berrios couldn't return.

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