Gano and Zuerlein Will Provide An Added Boost


As mini-camps have concluded, there are still enough questions surrounding the Jets and Giants for the 2022 season.

Those questions mainly deal with roster positions, as neither team can honestly lock in all 22 positions on the field. It will be an interesting summer camp on both sides to see how the battles evolve.

However, one position seems to be a lock for both teams – placekicker.

The Jets signed veteran Greg Zuerlein, while the Giants have Graham Gano in the stable.

For the first time in a while, both teams can feel secure about their placekickers. It has been more of a consoling feeling lately for the Giants than the Jets.

Remember the Jets’ Pat Leahy  –all-time team points leader – and the Giants’ Lawrence Tynes? They were two of the recent most productive kickers for their teams. Pete Gogolak is the all-time Giants’s leader, but he also made 57 percent of his kicks.

Gano easily has been one of the best pickups the team has made – credit ex-GM Dave Gettleman – over the past two years. Since The G-Men inked him two seasons ago, Gano has made 60 of 65 field goal attempts, several that have been game-winners.

Gano was Gettleman’s kicker when the former GM held the same job with Carolina, and Gano missed all of the 2019 season with a knee injury.

Wisely, the Giants extended his current deal through 2023. He hasn’t shown any signs of losing his touch.

On the other hand, Zuerlein should be able to fill a void since 2018 when the Jets let Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers walk in free agency. Zuerlein 63 of his 76 attempts with Dallas for an 82.9 percent clip over the last two seasons.

They did the same with Nick Folk, who spent seven years in Green and White before they released him to clear salary space in February 2017.

Sam Ficken was effective early in his tenure, but he wasn’t overly reliable in his two-year stint. Matt Ammendola appeared to have the job, but he suddenly was released last December, and ex-Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro stepped in over the last month and went 8-for-8 in field goals and 9-for-10 in extra points.

Pinerio was the new savior until the Jets signed Zuerlein –”Greg the Leg” from his reliable Rams’ days – who was the first player to make a 50-plus and 60-plus yarder in the same game. That’s a comforting thought for Jets’ fans.

Yet, Pinerio is still under contract, and reportedly will get a fair shot to win the job. Unless he flops, Zuerlein likely will handle the Jets first kick in their season opener against Cleveland. Pinerio is a good insurance policy.

With the uncertainty still surrounding the Jets’ Zach Wilson and the Giants’ Daniel Jones, Zuerlein and Gano can relieve some of those pressures.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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