New York Jets punter Braden Mann takes home Special Teams Player of the Week honors
Players of the Week – Week 2
Offense: QB Tua Tagovailoa, MIA
Defense: CB Jaylen Watson, KC
Special teams: P Braden Mann, NYJ
Offense: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET
Defense: CB Darius Slay, PHI
Special teams: K Graham Gano, NYG
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 21, 2022
Mann’s contributions in multiple areas were essential pieces of the Jets’ 31-30 comeback victory.
As a punter, Mann punted four times for a gross average of 47.3 yards and a net average of 44.0 yards. He dropped two punts inside of the Browns’ 10-yard line.
More important than his punting, though, was his work elsewhere.
The Jets’ offense was struggling in the first quarter and looking for a spark. They called on Mann to execute a fake punt in a fourth-and-1 situation. Mann threw a perfect pass to Jeff Smith for a 17-yard gain. The Jets eventually scored a touchdown on that drive.
The highlight of Mann’s day was the most pivotal play in the Jets’ two-minute rally at the end of the fourth quarter. Mann delivered a beautiful onside kick that settled in at the perfect location for multiple Jets players to rally around it.
Braden Mann took the Jets' Ty Long signing PERSONALLY.
– 4 punts for 47.3-yard average
– 17-yard first down pass
– Good hold on low snap
– Incredible onside kick pic.twitter.com/zo4eXBHCXQ
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) September 19, 2022
It was as good of a bounce-back performance as Mann could have dreamed of after he was scrutinized for his Week 1 showing. Mann launched multiple ugly punts as he finished with the second-worst net average of any NFL punter with at least two attempts in Week 1 (39.3 yards). His 20-yard shank in the third quarter set up a Baltimore touchdown drive.
Additionally, Mann was listed on the Jets’ injury report with back issues ahead of the Browns game. These back problems, coupled with Mann’s season-opening woes, prompted the Jets to add competition/security in the form of Ty Long, who was signed to the practice squad.
Mann’s production and health in Week 2 prompted the Jets to release Long from the practice squad after the game.
This was a fantastic game from Mann, but he’s got to keep it up going forward. His game against the Ravens was poor and cannot happen again.
However, Mann is coming off a 2021 season in which he played better than many fans give him credit for. He ranked 14th out of 33 qualified punters in Punting EPA per Punt Above Expected (which adjusts for factors out of the punter’s control like field position and coverage team performance).
This was a big step forward for Mann after he ranked fourth-worst in the same category as a rookie in 2020.
If Mann can maintain that top-15 placement this year, the Jets will gladly take it. Still, the former Ray Guy Award winner has the talent to be so much better than that.
Perhaps Mann’s explosion in Cleveland can be a springboard for him to take a leap similar to the one he took from Year 1 to Year 2.
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