The New York Jets are putting pressure on Braden Mann
Is another 2020 New York Jets draft pick about to bite the dust?
The Jets worked out four punters today and wound up signing Ty Long, the former Chargers punter. Long will join the Jets’ practice squad.
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) September 13, 2022
This move comes on the heels of a poor opening-week performance by Braden Mann. Mann punted six times on Sunday, averaging 42.2 yards per punt. The average was the fourth-worst among all punters in Week 1. Although Mann did down two punts inside the 20, one of them was the result of a kind bounce after the Ravens’ returner failed to field a short boot.
The worst of Mann’s kicks occurred following the Jets’ first drive after halftime. With the score still 10-3 and following a three-and-out, Mann punted from the Jets’ 24-yard line to their 44, out of bounds. The referee kept running up the sideline, ultimately settling down in Jets’ territory with a 20-yard shank.
Baltimore promptly took the strong field position and drove down for a touchdown, which widened their lead and ultimately put the game out of reach.
Mann is in his third year in the league. In his rookie season, he averaged 43.9 yards per punt, ranking 28th among all punters with at least 40 attempts. That is particularly bad considering that the Jets’ offense was so putrid in 2020, leading to increased opportunities for long drives rather than attempts to down punts inside the 20. His average hangtime ranked 13th at 4.39 seconds. Pro Football Focus ranked him the 19th-best punter in the NFL with a 64.4 punting grade.
Mann’s yards per attempt improved to 45.7 in 2021, good for 17th among punters. He was 18th in return percentage at 39%, but the average on those punt returns was 9.4 yards, tied for ninth-highest among punters. Mann’s average hangtime on punts was actually the fifth-best among punters at 4.33 seconds (ironic considering that it was lower than in 2020). His PFF grade went down to 57.1, 21st in the NFL.
Overall, Mann’s results have been uneven. His Pro Football Focus grades have been ranked 19th and 21st among punters in his first two seasons in the NFL. That is certainly disappointing for a punter who was drafted.
However, the question is if Long is any better than Mann. He was worse in 2021, as his 50.9 PFF grade while a member of the Chargers ranked 29th among punters. He was actually just below Mann with 45.5 yards per attempt; however, his other numbers were putrid. Long had the worst net average (37.6), return rate (63%) and fair catch rate (11%) among qualifiers.
Well okay then. Will be interesting to see if this makes things any better, because Long was pretty bad last year.
Was the league's worst punter out of 35 qualifiers in:
– Net average (37.6)
– Percentage of punts returned (63%)
– Percentage of punts fair caught (11%) https://t.co/p6mXFZ1Zi0
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) September 13, 2022
Long also had the worst net average (35.9) and return rate (65%) in the 2020 season.
Joe Douglas‘s first draft with the Jets continues to get worse. No. 11 overall pick Mekhi Becton’s future with the team is iffy after his second consecutive season-ending knee injury. Denzel Mims, the team’s second-rounder that year, was inactive for Week 1 following a terrible 2021 season and an unfulfilled trade request.
Third-rounder Ashtyn Davis has not developed into a decent safety thus far. Quarterback James Morgan was released before ever suiting up for the Jets. Cameron Clark retired. Now Mann may be on the chopping block.
The only saving grace from that draft class is fifth-round pick Bryce Hall, who started at cornerback for the Jets last season and had a stellar year. However, Hall lost his starting job when the Jets drafted Sauce Gardner, and he had an abysmal preseason this year, getting torched in all four games. In Sunday’s loss to the Ravens, Hall had just four coverage snaps but allowed a 17-yard touchdown to Devin Duvernay (although his hand was right there).
It remains to be seen whether the Jets will actually cut bait with Mann. Joe Douglas has seemed highly reluctant to let go of his own draft picks thus far. But if Mann does remain, the Jets need him to get it together in a hurry so as not to damage them in the field position battle.