FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Jets took a chance on Chandler Catanzaro this year and it has paid off.
The team got rid of longtime kicker Nick Folk in the offseason and signed Catanzaro, who was coming off a rough 2016 with the Cardinals, in which he missed seven field goals.
The Jets viewed that as a product of him playing with several different long snappers and holders and thought he could bounce back. He has. Heading into Sunday’s season finale against the Patriots, Catanzaro has made 23-of-27 field goal attempts this season, with all four misses coming from beyond 40 yards and two coming on a rain-soaked day against the Falcons. He has made all 29 extra point attempts and had 63.2 percent of his kickoffs go for touchbacks.
“We’ve been pleased with him,” coach Todd Bowles said. “Obviously, he’s been kicking the ball deep in the end zone. He’s been making most of his field goals. He missed a couple. It may have been the Atlanta game and the weather, but we’ve been very pleased with him.”
Catanzaro admits how difficult last year was for him and said he lost his enjoyment for the game while going through it. But it has come back this year with the Jets. He will be a free agent after the season. Does he want to return?
“I’ve had a lot of fun this year. I’ve really enjoyed kicking again,” Catanzaro said. “It means a lot for coach Bowles to say that. I was just trying to do my job and help this team win some ballgames this year.”
“It’s out of my control,” Catanzaro said. “I’m focused on kicking in New England and finishing strong. I will say I’ve really, really enjoyed kicking for this organization. I think it’s a great franchise. … We’ll see what happens.”
Bowles gave his assessment of rookie safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye this week with their first seasons almost complete.
“Marcus has played extremely well in the back end,” Bowles said. “Obviously with rookie safeties, experience teaches you to be more vocal. That’s the biggest thing they’ll get in the offseason, learning each other and being more vocal with the scheme as far as talking to each other.
“Jamal is the same thing. He’s down in the box more, but they’re making their plays at their position.But as you get experience, you have to be more vocal as far as yelling things out and that type of deal, but they get it as they go and they’ve gotten it every week. From that standpoint, I think both of them will get better in year two. That’s been the biggest thing that they need to get better at. ”
RB Matt Forte was placed on injured reserve. The veteran rushed for 381 yards and two touchdowns on 103 carries in 12 games this season. He also caught 37 passes for 293 yards and one score. RB Akeem Judd also was placed on IR.
The Jets activated WR/KR Lucky Whitehead and RB Jahad Thomas off the practice squad.