The Jacksonville Jaguars kicking game is broken.
It's rare that a team has major inefficiencies at both placekicker and punter at the same time, but the Jaguars find themselves in that position.
It was a somewhat controversial move when the team traded 10-year veteran Josh Scobee to the Pittsburgh Steelers during the preseason to go with rookie Jason Myers. The move was made more palatable with Scobee's struggles as he missed four of his 10 field goal attempts along with an extra point in "The 'Burgh," and was promptly released.
Myers has a great leg, but the job appears to be too big for him. On the season he's missed the most extra points (three) of any kicker in the NFL to go along with the fifth-worst field goal percentage (72.7) which includes a pair of missed game winning kicks against Indianapolis, a game if the Jaguars had won would have them in first place in the AFC South.
"When you get an opportunity to score points, you have to take advantage of it," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley explained. Just like everywhere, we’ll continue to look at it and see. We have competition, we’ll look at some things there and analyze it.
Are the Jaguars going to bring in some kickers, possibly Josh Scobee, to compete with Myers during the bye week? Bradley eluded to that possibility.
"Whether there’ll be guys coming in or not, Dave will take a look at that. Even if guys do come in, does that mean we’ll go differently? No. I think you always want that competition,” the Jaguars head coach stated after the team's 34-31 victory in London over the Buffalo Bills.
Although Myers mistakes directly takes points off the scoreboard, punter Bryan Anger's futility has arguably hurt the team just as much.
“We don’t talk much about special teams in this meeting," Bradley explained. "Guys running on the field, there’s a couple communication errors. We did some different packages on defense to get some things going. The communication that took place based on who was on the field and who was not, there’s a couple of times. We have to get that corrected. That part is right. I thought that with our kicker, even the kickoffs, they’re a little shorter. We’re trying to get it seven yards deep. I think all of them were under that. Now, we did ask him to directional kick it, we did ask him hang time. He had a couple of them that were placed good and they had two returns inside the 20. So the coverage is pretty good. I think placement of that can better."
Anger is known amongst fans everywhere as being the punter selected before Russell Wilson. That gaffe, among numerous others, will forever be attached to former Jaguars general manager Gene Smith. The former third-round pick has always had to live with a nearly impossible task, trying to justify a draft selection that would take near perfection to accomplish. Unfortunately, Anger has been terrible in 2015. Although his punting average is a respectable 18th in the NFL (45.5 ypp), he has hurt the Jaguars coverage team with a lack of hang time and outkicking his coverage. His net average is just 38.8 yards per punt, good for 27th in the NFL.
"Punt, I think we’re protecting very well. Field goal, extra point game and punt protection, very good. Coverage, a little bit of an issue on punt return. They had 36 yards or something. When you look across the board, did we break even on special teams? I’d say they won it this week. They won the special teams battle,” Bradley said following the Bills victory.
The Jaguars punter continues to put the team in bad positions, and his draft position, although to no fault of his own, is a further insult to the front office, one that didn't select him.
To put it simply, the Jaguars are 2-5 and they could very easily be 4-3 or 5-2. There's not much of a talent disparity across the board in the NFL and when one unit is so dysfunctional as the Jaguars kicking game is, they're making it very difficult for the rest of the team to overcome those regular, weekly mistakes.
The Jaguars need a change at both kicker and punter. What's the worst thing that can happen? The new guys fail? If so, it seems more than likely that both Myers and Anger will still be available to pick back up.