Quigley seeks to improve on record-setting season

QuigleyIt says something that one of the best punters in Jets history has a whole lot to improve on to keep his job in 2015. So say the punter and his coach.

New York Jets punter Ryan Quigley grew up in the Little River Area. The North Myrtle Beach High School alumni set records at Boston College, and eventually landed the starting job with the Jets as their punter.

“I think the way the season went as a team last year was similar to what I thought individually,” Quigley said. “There were a lot of good things and a lot of bad things, too many bad things. So for me it’s just motivation for this year.”

“There’s always competition … so no one’s ever guaranteed anything,” special teams coach Bobby April has said, adding about Quigley, “He just needs to be more consistent.”

To be sure, both had a lot of good to say about Quigley’s 2014, and why wouldn’t they? After all, Quigley (whose locker is next to Quinton Coples and who playfully refers to himself as “the real Q”) broke Robert Malone’s single-season gross average record of 45.8 yards per kick with last year’s 45.9, and he surpassed the almost-five-decades-old net mark of 39.7 set by Curley Johnson in ’65 with his 39.9.

But one reason for the hard assessment of last season has to do with the nature of punting in the NFL. Quigley’s gross came in a mere 14th overall among the league’s punters a year ago, and while he flirted all season with trying to become our first 40.0 net punter, he was only 13th in the league, with 11 punters checking in with 40-plus nets last year.

Q has a theory about his consistency, which is why he’s still seen around the Atlantic Health Training Center now even though most veterans left for parts unknown following the June 11 end of the full-squad minicamp.

“I feel good, and I feel stronger now. Justus [Galac] has a great strength program and I actually spent most of the offseason here. I didn’t go anywhere, so I was able to see some gains there,” he said.

“And basically I’ve just stayed around it more this year. I felt like I got away from it a little bit last year, where I wasn’t around it long enough. This season I’m really trying to stay focused, stay around football as much as I can.”

Perhaps that inconsistency came through in these statistics: While he hit at least one 50-yard punt in 14 of last season’s 16 games, he also had 13 games in which he hit a punt that didn’t travel 40 yards. By an unofficial timer, he had 10 punts with a 5.00-second hangtime or longer, but 13 of 3.99 seconds or shorter.

“I’m always working on all of it, but this year for me it’s consistency,” he said of his stress points. “Just be consistent, get rid of those bad balls, and take each day like it’s gameday.”

“Ryan’s gotten a lot more consistent on striking the ball,” April observed. “That’s his only deficiency from a year ago because his talent level is there and his ability to hit a big ball is there. He just needs to be more consistent. And he’s demonstrated that so far. So he’s done well.

“Jacob Schum has done real well, too, so we’ll see what happens under duress and under competition, but I think both of them are doing a good job.”

Quigley acknowledges that both Jake Schum and kicker Andrew Furney, both at camp last year to challenge Q and Nick Folk, are doing a good job of that again this offseason.

“Oh, Jake’s a good dude, and those guys are great. We work well together and they push us,” Quigley said. “We’re going to have a good time and we’re going to push each other to be the best we can be.”

Quigley’s also looking forward to having the Jets’ rejuvenated offense and defense helping him with the field position battle. In short, he’s looking to move onward and upward in year three as the Jets’ record-setting punter.

“You know how good you can be and how good this team can be. It’s exciting,” he said. “Improvement. That’s the goal in everything.”

Photo & Graphic courtesy of New York Jets

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