It’s been quite some time since the New York Jets had an explosive kickoff/punt returner running up and down the field against special teams. Finally addressing this need, the Jets have signed Jacoby Ford to fill both roles with his incredible speed and versatility.
Primarily brought in for being the main returner on special teams, Ford now has a great opportunity to do what he did best with the Oakland Raiders, except now in a green uniform. In his career, Ford has four touchdowns from his contributions on special teams. He’s incredibly talented considering that in his rookie season back in 2010, he set a Raiders record for most kickoffs returned for a touchdown at three.
The only concern most will have with Ford is his health. He’s missed quite a few games the past couple of years, including the entire 2012 NFL season when he needed foot surgery. Ford did pass all of the Jets’ physical exams, however, so he will be good to go this upcoming season.
Ford is easily an upgrade over Josh Cribbs since he didn’t really create good field positioning and wasn’t considered a true threat. Besides, Cribbs is better suited as a slot wide receiver, and now doesn’t have to worry about special teams with Ford being brought in.
Most people forget that special teams plays an extremely important role in the outcome of football games. Great field positioning combined with the possibility of scoring a touchdown on returns alleviates so much stress off a football team. Defenses get their well-deserve rest while offenses can come up with better plays due to the extra time. Putting points on the scoreboard also breeds confidence in a victory.
Hopefully, Ford will bring his talents to the Jets’ special teams because they need playmakers at every position if they are serious to contend in the AFC East. Ford has the potential to be the difference-maker, and can turn the Jets from being an 8-8 team to a 10-6 team or even better in the future.