The end of the offseason is finally upon us as the New York Jets report for training camp on July 23rd. The early outlook for Gang Green is encouraging as the team added several playmakers to a group that went 8-8 in 2013. Will the Jets be able to make a run at a playoff spot in 2014? The team will have to answer several questions on the field before that thought can be entertained.
The New York Jets locked up kicker Nick Folk early in the offseason with a 4-year $12 million dollar deal. Folk is coming off of a career best season where he went 33/36 on field goals, along with 30 touchbacks. If Gang Green is going to have any chance at a postseason run Nick must remain a consistent and clutch (3 game winners in 2013) kicker in 2014.
Ryan Quigley returns as the punter for the Jets following a season where he averaged 45.5 yards a punt, with a net average of 38.9 yards. Jacob Schum is the training camp leg that will be competing with Quigley.
One of the biggest changes to the Jets’ special teams units is the infusion of speed to the return game. Heading into camp Jalen Saunders, Jacoby Ford, and Saalim Hakim will be amongst several players competing for return duties. The common denominator for all of these players is explosiveness and dynamic playmaking ability. When was the last time you could say that about a New York Jets return game?
Improved Special Teams Play
The improved speed and athleticism of the Jets roster will trickle down to special teams, a unit that has struggled in years past. New York should be much improved on kick coverage and will now be a threat to score in the return game. The hidden yards gained and prevented on special teams will be an added benefit to a team that could find themselves playing several close games in 2014.