Jaguars earn favorable spot in recent special teams rankings

Carlos Sanchez
Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson (10) at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson (10) at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

There are several reasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ fantastic turnaround in 2022. One that isn’t mentioned nearly as often as Trevor Lawrence or head coach Doug Pederson is their special teams play but the unit has certainly done their part, which is why they are among the top 12 in the NFL.

Rick Gosselin recently shared his special teams rankings for the 2022 season and Jacksonville landed at No. 11. Gosselin has put together 22 kicking-game categories, including kickoff coverage, opponent starting point, and takeaways, and assigns points according to their standing“: One for best, 32 for worst.

While Jacksonville didn’t rank at the top of any category, they must’ve graded fairly well in most of them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have gotten a spot in the top half of the league.

The Jaguars special teams played a crucial role in the 2022 turnaround

Special teams are in a way similar to the offensive line. Not many people will pay too much attention unless you make a big play or a head-scratching mistake. Having said that the Jaguars had a pretty solid group in 2022.

Riley Patterson has brought stability to the kicker position for the Jags and put a stop to the revolving door they endured in the offseason. Despite the fact that Patterson was in a funk at the midpoint of the season, he finished the year with an 85. 7 percent completion rate in field goals and has come through in the clutch, most recently in Super Wild Card Weekend, when he made the game-winning kick that sent the Jags to the Divisional Round of the Playoffs.

Moreover, Patterson was named the AFC Special Team Player of the Week after nailing four of five field goals against the New York Jets in Week 16. Having said that, the former Memphis Tiger isn’t the only Jaguars player who has become a key cog on special teams. Enter return specialist Jamal Agnew, who’s often giving the offense a favorable field position.

While Angew hasn’t had a return for a touchdown like he did in 2021, he was recovering from a hip injury he suffered in 2021 and might not have been 100 percent early in the 2022 season.

To make matters worse, Agnew sustained a knee injury that sidelined him for two games. However, he got better and looked like his old dynamic self as the season progressed. He was an important contributor in the Jags’ win over the Chargers, registering four kick returns, one of them for 52 yards, and posting a 33.5 average.

Then again, Patterson and Angew aren’t the only ones that become important pieces in the Jacksonville special teams puzzle. Safety Daniel Thomas and cornerback Chris Claybrooks (both members of the 2020 draft class) and Andrew Wingard have also filled in crucial roles in return coverage.

The Jaguars will have to revamp several position groups in the offseason, but one group they won’t have to worry about will be their special teams unit.

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