Despite the chaos and uncertainty for the New York Jets leading up to the September 11th season start against the Baltimore Ravens, one roster spot is now decided and that should be good news for the Jets and their fans -I hope. There are pessimists and optimists but I’m going to hold out and be a optimistically pessimist or a pessimistically optimist on this roster selection and have the wait-and-see response.
Greg Zuerlein is the new Jets kicker.
Okay, most football fans don’t get overly excited about special teams and who they heck their team’s kicker is but if you followed any of the Jets circus that was called the 2021 season, the Green and White couldn’t find a decent kicker to stay with for more than a few weeks at a time which is a sure recipe for disaster. How many kickers did the Jets have last season? The answer to that question is three kickers which certainly is two too many. Eddy Pineiro came in during the 2021 campaign and at least brought some consistency and stability to the Jets kicking game and was brought back for training camp this year.
However, most teams know that the best way to get kickers to kick their best is to make them uncomfortable and bring in intense competition. The Jets brought in released K Greg Zuerlein to training camp to give Pineiro a run for his money and challenge for the kicking role this season. Of course, Zuerlein himself was released by the Dallas Cowboys this past spring. Zuerlein has spent many years in the NFL kicking ranks from the St. Louis and now Los Angeles Rams to the Dallas Cowboys. It should be noted that Zuerlein was cut by the Cowboys after missing six FG’s and six extra points last season and his accuracy no doubt came into question within the Jets front office. Jets GM Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh gave the nod to Zeurlein and at least settled the kicking position for the start of the regular season.
The Jets went with kicking experience.
Pineiro kicked well for the Jets last season and was successful on all of his FG tries and was perfect on extra point kicks in the latter part of the 2021 season. The Jets used Pineiro and Zuerlein interchangeably during the preseason with Pineiro making his lone FG attempt and converting both extra points. Zuerlein also was perfect on his FG and extra point attempts in preseason so far. In terms of accuracy during the preseason, both kickers were dead even.
Nevertheless, Zuerlein showed greater accuracy in training camp enough to seal the deal and the Jets cut Pineiro as they pared down their roster to the NFL mandatory 80 players this week. In a sad side note, the Jets will open up with a new kicker for the seventh year in a row. Well, things could be worse. . .the Jacksonville Jaguars currently don’t have a kicker on the roster so at least the Jets made sure that this spot is filled. Let’s see if Zeurlein can make things happen in close games for the Jets this year.