The New York Jets have put together an impressive roster of skill players this past offseason but have neglected their kickers.
As the preseason rolls on for the New York Jets, they picked up their first victory over the Atlanta Falcons last night. The 22-10 victory showcased another great opening drive for starting quarterback Sam Darnold and inconsistent play in the kicking game.
Currently, Taylor Bertolet is the lone kicker for the Jets, but it’s not by any form of merit. Bertolet has the job during preseason because veteran kicker Chandler Catanzaro retired after struggling last week against the New York Giants and throughout training camp. Catanzaro was favored to win the kicking battle because of his past experiences in the league, but Bertolet becomes the default kicker for now.
In his first game as the sole kicker, the 26-year-old didn’t do himself any favors with a subpar performance. Bertolet went 1 of 3 on extra points but salvaged the night with a 49-yard field goal completion. The inconsistency with converting extra points is troubling considering the Jets’ new weapons on offense scoring touchdowns.
The Jets decided to pass on bringing back Pro Bowl-caliber kicker Jason Myers due to money differences are feeling the effects of that financial decision. Bertolet spoke about his mindset before Thursday night’s game.
“Pressure situations is what I do as a kicker,” Bertolet said. “Your job is to handle pressure. So, I think it’s helped me to be prepared to be in those moments, have a routine and have a process that you can go into and buy into. That’s going to help you be more successful and be more consistent in your performance.”
“I’m a guy who’s been trying to break in and get into regular-season games. It’s helpful to know that there’s a lot of other guys who’ve been through this experience. I’m not the only kicker who’s had trouble getting into regular-season games and has done well in the preseason.”
The Jets haven’t announced plans to try more kickers before the regular season begins, but anything can happen midway through the preseason. Bertolet was a member of the Salt Lake Stallions of the briefly run Alliance of American Football league earlier this year. The experience put him back on the Jets radar before training camp. He briefly battled last preseason for the starting kicker spot eventually losing out to Myers.
The possibility of going into a pressure late game regular-season matchup with an unproven kicker will have Jets fans undeniably frustrated.