The New York Jets have one significant advantage over almost every single team in the NFL: special teams coach Mike Westhoff. Every time the team loses a major kick returner, like Leon Washington or Brad Smith, Westhoff finds a way to replace them. Joe McKnight showed amazing flashes in 2011 and should improve with more time as the starting kick returner in 2012.
Punter T.J. Conley is an above average punter and newly acquired kicker Josh Brown has performed well during OTAs, making last year’s starter Nick Folk potentially expendable. The Jets special teams coverage unit should continue to be one of the best in the NFL especially with ace Eric Smith leading the way.
Not surprisingly the most intriguing news story relating to special teams for the Jets is Tim Tebow‘s time spent in practices as a punt protector. According to CBS Sports Rex Ryan has stated that he believes Tebow will cause opposing teams to fear the possibility of a fake punt on every fourth down. Tebow definitely has the size and quickness to be a dangerous weapon on fake punts.
The only concern fans should have is the fact Tebow has never played the position before, at any level, and could struggle with the new role. His exceptional work ethic should help minimize the risk of him making any major mistakes during regular season games.
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