Jets kicking competition far from decided
Of all the position battles currently going on at One Jets Drive, the kicker competition between Sam Ficken and Chris Naggar might be the most open of all.
Ficken only appeared in nine games for the Jets last season due to a lingering groin injury. He went 13-15 on field goal attempts and 12-15 on extra point attempts. Naggar, an undrafted free agent from SMU, is an unknown commodity in the pro ranks. He went 17-21 on field goals and 43-46 on extra points in his last college season.
The Jets know better than anyone the importance of having a reliable kicker on board. New York has been burned by a lack of consistency in the post in recent years, making it all the more important for special teams coach Brant Boyer – the lone survivor of Adam Gase’s coaching staff – to install on the voucher before the start of the regular season.
However, it will be some time before the Jets decide on their kicker. After OTAs, training camp and preseason will provide the best insight into which kicker most deserves the job.
“I think it’s a good competition so far,” Boyer said on Friday. “I think they’re both doing a good job. There is so much to talk about from here to training camp and from training camp to preseason. We’ll see what happens. They are both doing a good job so far. You sort of take it as you see it from there.
With Ficken healthy again, he stands as the frontrunner to win the starting position against Naggar, even after New York’s new regime introduced the SMU product. According to Boyer, Ficken hit his goals with a 92% offseason rate last and could lock in lower position with a similar performance at training camp this year. Ficken also has the experience factor working in his favor.
Nonetheless, Naggar will give Ficken a run for his money. The Texas native has the ability to systematically drain field goals from a distance and carries the kind of intangibles that Robert Saleh and his company are looking for.
“I really liked his interview when we interviewed him and spent about 20, 30 minutes with him in Zoom meetings,” Boyer said. “I really liked his rise on the ball he has. He has next level leg strength. He has good spin on the ball he kicks.
“I think that says a lot, to be a guy in Texas who was behind two fellows who come back and fight and don’t give up and everything like that. He transferred to SMU and comes out and earns the job and does a hell of a job the year he got the chance. I think that says a lot to one person.