Taylor Bertolet could lock up the Jets' kicker spot with a strong performance in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Eagles.
He also could kick himself out of the job.
The Jets believe in Bertolet. Otherwise, they would have brought in a second kicker and had a competition. They’ve had two punters since the start of camp, after all. Bertolet has been kicking by himself since replacing Chandler Catanzaro, who retired after the Jets’ first preseason game.
“I guess it’s encouraging, but I still believe I’m competing against every kicker in the NFL,” Bertolet said. “They’re looking at every guy. I have to do my job every single time I go out there because you never know who they’re watching.”
Bertolet, 26, has never kicked in an NFL game. The Jets signed Bertolet, who played in the Alliance of American Football this year, after he won a four-man kicking competition, according to general manager Joe Douglas.
But like Catanzaro did in his last game, Bertolet missed two extra points in his first preseason game. It suddenly appeared the Jets would be looking for more kicking help, but they stuck with Bertolet.
He made his only extra-point try and booted field goals of 48 and 56 yards Saturday night against the Saints. Another game like that, and Bertolet should be on the Jets’ 53-man roster.
“Every single week I’m going to have something to prove,” Bertolet said. “Last week I talked about how I had to move on from the last game. I had a great game last week. But the reality is what’s important now and that’s for this next game I have to perform very well. I’m not changing my mindset on that.”
The Jets still may see who’s available after teams cut players at the end of the week, but special teams coordinator Brant Boyer likes Bertolet.
Bertolet was in Jets camp last year, making all four of his field-goal attempts and going 3-for-4 on extra points, but Jason Myers won the job and had an All-Pro season. Myers signed with Seattle in March, and Bertolet has a second chance with the Jets.
It’s his job to win, or lose.