New York Jets Special Teams coach Brant Boyer may be the best in the NFL.
The Jets hired Brant Boyer to be their special teams’ coach in 2016. It was his first coordinator job in the NFL. He had spent four years with the Colts as the assistant special teams’ coach but had no other coaching experience.
It was a surprise hire, but nobody thought much of it. Special teams don’t really matter in the NFL is a prevailing thought amongst most fans. The Jets and their fans are different though.
They know what it’s like to have an elite special team coach, and how that can change the game. Mike Westhoff is a legendary special teams coach who was with the Jets for 12 seasons. He helped change the culture during his time with the team.
He lived through three coaching changes but retired in 2012 during Rex Ryan‘s tenure. that was the first year of the Jets long playoff drought.
After Westhoff, the Jets went through three special teams’ coaches in three years. In 2016 Boyer became the fourth special teams coordinator in four years. He was tasked with fixing a broken unit. Since Westhoff left the Jets ranked 10th, 16th, and 25th the following three years.
A far cry from the glory days of Westhoff’s unit. When Boyer was brought in for 2016 the Jets lacked so much on special teams. His first move was to fight to get a punter in the draft. He somehow convinced the Jets to draft Australian punter out of Sam Houston State Lac Edwards.
A move that has turned out to be phenomenal. Under Boyer’s guidance, Lac Edwards has developed into a top 10 punter in the NFL. He is also statistically the best punter in New York Jets history. In 2019 Edwards is fifth in the NFL in net punt yards and fourth in punts pinned inside the 20.
Even more impressive is his work with kickers. He has made every kicker he’s worked with over-perform their career averages. Including getting a scrap heap pickup in Jason Myers to second-team all-pro.
After the disaster that was finding a kicker and returner for the 2019 season, Boyer deserves credit. It’s easy to be the top team in special teams DVOA when you have an all-pro kicker and returner in 2018 as Boyer did.
However, it’s another to rank third in special teams DVOA despite losing those players. Not only that, but the guys brought in have equaled or outperformed his former all-pros.
In 2019 Jason Myers has hit just 73.7% of his field goals and 93.1% of his extra points. Meanwhile, the Jets kicker Sam Ficken has hit 70% of field goals and 100% of field goals. Ficken has also not missed a kick of less than 53 yards this year, while Myers is just 81% from inside 50 yards.
As for returners Jets punt returner Braxton Berrios is averaging 7.4 yards per punt return compared to Andre Roberts 6.9 yards in Buffalo this year. On the kick return front, Andre Roberts is averaging 28.4 yards per return, compared to the Jets primary kick returner Vyncint Smith who is averaging 37.8 yards.
It’s time that Brant Boyer got his due. He’s been overlooked for far too long. This man is one of if not the best special teams coach in the NFL.