Greg Zuerlein has ‘lot to prove’ as he looks to win Jets’ job

Greg Zuerlein has ‘lot to prove’ as he looks to win Jets’ job

Ed Sheeran sings that his unhealthy habits result in late nights ending alone and that he has nothing left to lose. 

Greg Zuerlein’s “unhealthy habits” led to the Jets and one thing to win. 

After biking by means of 11 kickers over the previous three seasons — together with a exceptional seven in regular-season video games — the Jets signed Zuerlein to a one-year, $2.75 million contract in March. For the primary time in an 11-year profession beforehand spent with the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys, Zuerlein is altering particular groups coordinators and studying below Brant Boyer as a substitute of John Fassel. 

“After I first began taking a look at totally different groups, Coach Boyer known as and I favored every part he was about,” Zuerlein instructed The Publish. “From the surface, I knew the Jets’ particular groups have been actually good below him and that was interesting. He and Coach Fassel are related in the best way they each go about teaching guys in what is predicted of them. I’ve been very impressed with what he’s educating and the way he handles kickers to date.” 

Greg Zuerlein is now competing to win the Jets’ kicking job. Getty Photographs

The Jets’ particular groups have positioned within the high 13 within the NFL in Rick Gosselin’s industry-standard rankings thrice previously 4 years (together with No. 1 in 2018), however kicking has been the weak hyperlink since Jason Myers left in free company earlier than the 2019 season. Signing Zuerlein appeared like a easy answer … however not so quick. 

The Jets had been sincere with the 34-year-old Zuerlein about their intention to additionally re-sign Eddy Pineiro — the transactions got here two days aside — and create a real place battle between two veterans, not like a 12 months in the past when Sam Ficken, Matt Ammendola and Chris Naggar (none of them on NFL rosters as we speak) had been up for the job. 

Boyer stated the competitors was “neck and neck” with no “front-runner” by means of organized crew actions. Pineiro transformed all eight of his discipline objectives for the Jets late final season. 

“It doesn’t matter who else is in camp: You might be competing in opposition to all different kickers within the league, all different kickers not within the league and most significantly in opposition to your self,” Zuerlein stated. “You might be at all times simply making an attempt to be the very best model of your self. This spring is all about enhancing. I really feel like I’ve so much to show.” 

Since he was named First Staff All-Professional in 2017 and kicked the Rams into the Tremendous Bowl on the finish of the 2018 season, Zuerlein has endured three inconsistent seasons and a second again surgical procedure. 

“I haven’t been my greatest for one motive or one other, however these are all simply excuses,” Zuerlein stated. “I do know I could be a lot higher than what I’ve proven lately.” 

Greg Zuerlein performed eight seasons for the Rams.AP

Nicknamed “Greg the Leg” for vary that included a 61-yarder in 2015, Zuerlein made 83.5 % of his discipline objectives from 2012-18. He slipped to 79.8 % from 2019-21, prompting his launch from the Cowboys in March. 

“Zuerlein matches proper into our room and has accomplished a unbelievable job to date,” Boyer stated. “I believe his again is okay. I don’t see any points that he’s had since he’s been right here. He’s accomplished every part I requested him to do.” 

Actuality is that again surgical procedures in 2018 and 2021 performed a significant function in Zuerlein’s downturn. 

“You get into unhealthy habits kicking by means of ache as a result of in the event you kick such as you usually do it’s going to harm, so you discover different methods to make the kicks,” Zuerlein stated. “I needed to have pictures to have the ability to play after I obtained harm mid-year [in 2020] and had two practices earlier than the primary recreation final 12 months. I really feel nice proper now. I’m making an attempt to get again to being my regular self, swinging with confidence and placing them by means of the pipes.” 

That’s trickier within the Northeast than outside in Los Angeles or indoors in St. Louis or Arlington, Texas. Besides, as Boyer was effectively conscious, Zuerlein arrives with the consolation of getting gone 13-for-13 on discipline objectives and 7-for-9 on PATs in his profession at MetLife Stadium. 

“It’s at all times windy out right here,” Zuerlein stated from the observe discipline. “That’s the very first thing I observed. It’s not going to be superb daily out right here and you’ll most likely miss some kicks. Having this problem, I believe, will assistance on Sundays.” 

If he wins the job.

About Muji Sakawari

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