Camp Countdown '08: Special Teams
What looked to be a somewhat interesting situation in May has pretty much already sorted itself out before camp even begins. The steady long snapper James Dearth was rumored to be injured and contemplating retirement, rumors that were given some credibility by the Jets signing long snapper Nick Jarvis out of Wake Forest. Dearth has been a fixture on the Jets since 2001 and is one of the best at his job. Losing Dearth would have been a blow for the team. Jarvis and since been waived and Dearth was 100% by Juneís minicamps. Punter Ben Graham was another player whose job looked to be in jeopardy coming into camp. Graham was terrible in 2008 as battles with inconsistency saw him deactivated for a regular season game in favor of Jeremy Kapinos. While Kapinos did not impress in his one game he reportedly had a strong offseason and looked poised to challenge Graham for a roster spot, but the organization released Kapinos on June 10th which looks to solidify Grahamís status as the teams punter. The team did sign Joe Smith, who played in a semi-pro league last year, but he looks more like a camp leg than a legit option. If Graham continues to flub crucial kicks he wonít last the season with the team. Kicker Mike Nugent is playing for a contract in 2009 as his contract expires after this season. While Nugent has not lived up to the 2nd round expectations, and seems to have one game every season where he just can not get it going, he has become one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL under 45 yards. He doesnít provide a big leg, but did improve his length on kickoffs last season and should be counted on to be the teams kicker for the foreseeable future.