One of the reasons the Jets have struggled this season is poor special teams play. In their last four games, the Jets have had a special teams turnover. They also lead the NFL in that category with six on the season. Three of them are muffed punts, and one of the issues has been the fact that Jim Leonhard was relieved of punt return duties. In fact, Rex Ryan promised Leonhard’s wife that he wouldn’t be returning punts this season. He now has to break that promise.
“I had to go about it and say, ‘Hey, have your wife call me,’” Ryan said on Thursday according to Newsday. “It’s one of those things.”
“My wife has let him hear it,” Leonhard added. “She’s let him have it a couple of times. She called him out on his lie, which is good. You have to do that, right? That’s how you keep people in check.”
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Jets have coughed up three punts, and Leonhard is their most trusted return man. I’m sure Rex had no intention of asking him to return kicks this year, but then again he didn’t expect Jeremy Kerley, Joe McKnight and Antonio Cromartie to struggle as much as they have. With a record of 7-5 and only four games remaining, the Jets are going to have to do a lot of things right if they want to clinch a wild card berth. Sorry Mrs. Leonhard, no more special teams fumbles can be afforded.