Jacksonville Jaguars Training Camp Preview: Special Teams

The Jacksonville Jaguars are weeks away from kicking off Doug Pederson’s first training camp at the helm, giving us plenty of time to take a look at each of the team’s position groups. before the 2022 season.

Jacksonville hasn’t been afraid to make a number of big moves on both sides of the ball this offseason, both through free agency and the draft. Now they have a new roster of players which contrasts dramatically with the roster we saw on the team pitch in Week 1 of 2021.

Related: Jaguars Training Camp Preview: Quarterback

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Related: Jaguars Training Camp Preview: Safety

Next step: the special teams. What does it look like today, what changes have the Jaguars made and what needs to be sorted out before camp?

The depth chart

P: Logan Cooke

Age/Experience: 26/fifth season

2021 statistics:

  • 26 beautiful captures
  • 44.3 net average
  • 47.3 yards per punt
  • 42.9% touchback percentage

Logan Cooke has had an incredible 2021 season. His 44.3 net average was second only to Dallas Cowboys’ Bryan Anger and he recorded a career-low 42.9% touchdown rate, including 28 punts inside the line 20 yards. Cooke was the only Jaguars player to earn All-Pro votes in 2021 and finished fourth in the league for the punter position despite the Jaguars team’s lack of success. Cooke is about to enter training camp as the only bettor on the roster, and the starting point is his to lose.

K: Ryan Santoso

Age/Experience: 26/second season

2021 statistics:

  • 4-5 on field goals (80%)
  • 6-8 on extra point opportunities (75%)
  • Average of 64.3 yards at kickoff
  • 12 touchdowns

Santoso spent the 2021 season rotating between teams, starting with the New York Giants, who had him on their practice squad for the 2020 season. He was later traded to the Carolina Panthers in August, appearing in a game for the club where he went 2-2 on field goal attempts and hit 1-2 extra point opportunities. Santoso was agitated in September and the Tennessee Titans claimed him for their practice squad. The Detroit Lions caught him quickly in their quest to find an answer to the position, but Santoso only appeared in 3 games where he converted on 2 of 3 field goal attempts and 5 of 6 point opportunities additional. After his brief stint in Detroit, Santoso finished the 2021 season with the Los Angeles Rams practice squad before Jacksonville signed him to a one-year contract. Santoso plans to compete with 2022 undrafted free agent Andrew Mevis for the starting kicker position entering training camp.

K Andrew Mevis

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Age/Experience: 22/first season

Statistics 2021 (college):

  • 100% on extra point opportunities (32-32)
  • 20-23 baskets scored (87%)
  • 25 punts (40.6 yards per punt)

A 2021 third team All-American and an honorable mention All-Big 12, Andrew Mevis marked what has been a memorable college career. His 2021 season at Iowa State saw him tie the most field goals made in a season in Cyclones history (20) and consecutive field goals (15). Mevis was also the first Cyclones player since 2001 to take on all kicking duties, as he was also the team’s leading punter, averaging 40.6 yards per punt on 25. attempts. Mevis plans to compete for the starting kicker position with journeyman Ryan Santoso entering training camp.

KR/PR Jamal Agnew

Age/Experience: 27/sixth season

2021 statistics (special teams):

  • 11 punt returns for 74 yards (6.7 average)
  • 22 kick returns for 525 yards (23.9 average)
  • 1 touchdown return kickoff

Jamal Agnew is absolutely electric as a returning man. The fast wide put together some of the best moments of the 2021 season for the Jaguars, when he took a 102-yard kickoff at home against the Denver Broncos and another touchdown return on a field goal attempt missed against the Buccaneers for a whopping 109 yards. Agnew plans to keep many of the snaps from those posts as the fall approaches. Chris Claybrooks is also a name to watch for kick returns, but the majority of opportunities go Agnew’s way barring injury or a sudden drop from the game. Leviska Shenault is another name to watch for return snaps punt.

KR/RP Chris Claybrooks

Age/Experience: 24/third season

2021 statistics (special teams):

  • 5 kickoff returns for 88 yards (17.6 average)
  • 2 returns over 20 yards

A valuable special teams contributor and backup cornerback, Chris Claybrooks played in 16 games last season, recording 5 kickoff returns, including two for 20+ yards. The seventh rounder of 2020 was a punting unit gunner in Memphis and served as the first man kickoff return. Expect Claybrooks to compete for a special teams spot again before training camp, and potentially relieve Agnew for pushes as a kickoff returner.

LS Ross Matiscik

Age/Experience: 25/third season

2021 statistics:

  • 2 combined tackles in defense
  • Appeared in all 17 matches

Ross Matiscik, a 2020 UDFA from Baylor University, appeared in all 17 games last season for the Jags as the leading long snapper. Given the Jags didn’t choose to host a competition for the position this offseason, it looks like Matiscik’s job is safe heading into training camp. Finding a reliable long snapper is a difficult task, but the Jags have found a good one in Matiscik.

How the room has changed this offseason

Despite all the off-season signings and drastic personnel changes, the special teams unit has retained some vital pieces from last season’s squad. Agnew, Matiscik and Cooke should all return to their roles, the only change being the kicker position. As a unit last season, the Jags finished 24th and struggled to cover special teams, allowing three return touchdowns by Jags Wire’s Tyler Nettuno. This unit is in desperate need of improvement and felt like it lacked an identity last season under the guise of Urban Meyer. All eyes will be on them ahead of training camp and on new head coach Doug Pederson’s plans to get the most out of the unit in the 2022 campaign.

The biggest storyline surrounding the group post-offseason

Who will win the kicker battle? There is no doubt that the Jaguars have one of the best punters in the league in Logan Cooke and a dynamic return man in Jamal Agnew, but the kicking situation last season left a lot to be desired. Veteran Josh Lambo was the main option at the start of the 2021 campaign, but quickly fell apart after missing three early field goals and two extra points. The Jags then signed Matthew Wright, who was serviceable but also missed three kicks and two extra points.

Wright finished the season strong, but never showed signs that he was the future of the position. As training camp looms on the horizon, journeyman Ryan Santoso and rookie Andrew Mevis are expected to fight for the vacant spot. Are they the long term answer? Will the Jags add another veteran to the competitive fold? The kicking situation in Duval County remains uncertain and training camp will be the first real test to see if Santoso and Mevis are the guys who will improve the performance of the kicking unit heading into the 2022 season.

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