Friday, October 11, 2013
Green Day: Starting to get special
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Overshadowed by Geno Smith's late-game heroics Monday night was the performance of the New York Jets' special teams.
In many ways, it was the breakout game under new special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica.
There was Antonio Allen's blocked punt in the first quarter (the Jets' first since Week 1, 2011), there was Clyde Gates' 36-yard kickoff return (a season best) and there was Jeremy Kerley's 24-yard punt return (another season best). And, of course, there was Nick Folk, who was 3-for-3, including the game-winning field goal.
The Jets' once-vaunted special teams (save for last season's blooper reel) had been unusually quiet in the first four games, not counting Folk, who hasn't missed a field goal. Maybe Monday night was a turning point under Kotwica, who has the huge task of replacing Mike Westhoff.
"I was happy for the guys in that we could have a positive impact on the game," Kotwica said.
The Jets need more of those games from the special teams, which can help offset the growing pains of the offense by winning the field-position battle. ESPN Stats & Information has a category called "total expected points added by special teams," based on a complicated formula that incorporates all aspects of special teams. Right now, the Jets rank 26th in the league -- minus-8.14 points. At least they're on the climb.
Then again, anything has to be better than last season, which turned into a comedy of errors.
ICYMI: David Garrard -- remember him? -- is back, claiming his balky knee feels fine. Can he help Geno Smith as a mentor? ... Check out the Week 6 edition of "Gang Green Report," breaking down Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. ... Veteran G Willie Colon is preparing to face his former team -- and he has a colorful way of expressing his feelings.