The New York Jets have had a chronic kicking problem and a few times over the years they have found a short-term antidote to minimize the effects, but nothing to cure it completely.
That has continued to be the case in 2021.
After bumbling their way through much of the offseason without a plan at kicker, the Jets took a flier on an unknown rookie named Matt Ammendola out of Oklahoma State right at the start of training camp.
He had a huge pop in the season opener when punter Braden Mann was injured and the Jets turned to their rookie to perform double duty. Not only was he able to execute both roles, but Ammendola thrived.
It was a cool story that provided hope to Jets fans that maybe they had finally found the answer to their prayers. Unfortunately, it was just another tease, but there is hope that another talented rookie could step up to the plate.
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Things Went South Pretty Quickly
Ammendola on the year is 11-for-16, a 68.8 percent conversion rate. That includes missing two kicks on Sunday in a close loss to the Miami Dolphins, 24-17.
After the game Jets head coach Robert Saleh couldn’t hide his frustration with all the points that were left on the board:
“I don’t care how good your f****** football team is, if you’re losing points and not scoring when you get a chance, you aren’t going to win.”
Where Ammendola has had most of his struggles is from deep, he is 2-of-7 from 40 yards and beyond.
Which seems incredibly strange because his most attractive quality was his powerful leg. Obviously things haven’t been working and it sure sounded like during the Monday presser that Saleh was open to a change.
“Every position is going to be looked at every week and [the kicker position] obviously notwithstanding. I’ll have a discussion with Joe Douglas, myself, and special teams coordinator Brant Boyer to see what the best direction is.”
That wasn’t exactly a glowing endorsement for his rookie kicker and likely spells the end for this Cinderella story.
It’s Time to Make a Move Right Now
Normally when you try to replace this position in the middle of the year, your options are old, limited, and overall unappealing.
That isn’t the case this year.
On the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad is a hidden rookie gem that has totally flown under the radar.
José Borregales is a former Lou Groza award winner, an annual achievement that is doled out to college football’s top placekicker.
The 23 year old went undrafted this past April and immediately signed with the Bucs, but didn’t make the 53 man roster. He was able to clear waivers and was then added to the teams’ practice squad where he has been cryogenically frozen since.
It’s time to bring out the space heater because they need to get him warm and ready for the rest of 2021.
During his final college season at Miami, the youngster was 20-of-22, good for a 90.9 percent conversion rate.
If the Jets sign him they could immediately upgrade the kicker spot for the rest of 2021 and for the first time in a long time could have their long-term answer at an incredibly volatile position.