PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 09: Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer of the New York Jets looks on from the sideline during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 9, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Jets 31-13.
(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

New York Jets special teams coach Brant Boyer is thinking of rookie Ashtyn Davis and praising punter Braden Mann. 

Robby Sabo

Brant Boyer understands the deal. As an NFL special teams coordinator, he cannot pick and choose the talent. He instead needs to mold his special teams unit around what’s available.

One man who’s no longer making his summer home Northern New Jersey is Trenton Cannon, a Mike Maccagnan sixth-round selection in 2018 who was quickly scooped up by the Carolina Panthers after the New York Jets decided to cut ties earlier this summer.

This means Boyer’s special teams took a hit. Cannon was one of Boyer’s “special” special teamers.


“When you lose a guy like that, it hurts,” Boyer admitted to reporters on a Monday conference call.

Cannon, 26, took on a gunner role on the punt team for Boyer in addition to returning kicks at times. A year ago, he racked up 96 yards on five kick return attempts in this new NFL that’s discouraging any kick return opportunities.

One man who can help fill the Cannon void is rookie Ashtyn Davis. Boyer recognized that immediately.

“I really liked Ashtyn (Davis) coming out,” Boyer said.

Citing toughness and speed, the Jets special teams coach absolutely believes Davis is a candidate to kick return for the Jets. A couple of players will need to step up in that spot without Vyncint Smith‘s services.

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Braden The Mann

Boyer also spoke of his new punter, rookie Braden Mann. The sixth-round Joe Douglas selection this past virtual draft has, thus far, pleased his coach.

“He’s displayed really soft hands as a holder,” Boyer said. “(He) does everything you ask. He’s a great kid. Fast learner. His hangtimes are really good. There (are) some things we can work on … but he’s come in and done a great job.”

Boyer made sure to compliment the kid while also keeping him grounded (in the media’s eyes). From the looks of things in practice, Mann’s hangtime is extremely proficient, and he’s excellent when directing a punt to either sideline.

The Jets special teams boss wants to “expand his toolbox” as things progress.

The Kicking Competition May Come Down to the Wire

Perhaps the most critical special teams topic deals with the placekickers. The incumbent, Sam Ficken, is currently battling it out with the newcomer, Brett Maher. The competition is as close as it could possibly be little over a week into camp and Boyer does not see things budging anytime soon.

Boyer labeled the competition “neck and neck” and believes it may “come down to the end.”

In 2019, Ficken drilled 19 of 27 field goal attempts including a 44-yard game-winner at home against the Miami Dolphins, a 22-21 Jets victory.

Meanwhile, Maher served as the Dallas Cowboys placekicker for the majority of the past two seasons. In 2018, he finished a solid 29 of 36 before struggling a bit the next year (20 of 30 in 13 games). Dallas cut Maher in early December in favor of Kai Forbath.


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