Jets cut kicker Sam Ficken in surprise move
2nd January 2021

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The Jets cut kicker Sam Ficken on Saturday in a bit of a surprise move.

Ficken, in nine games this season for the Jets, made 13 of his 15 field-goal attempts and went 12-of-15 on extra points. He had two kicks blocked last week against the Browns, one field-goal attempt and one point-after attempt. Ficken missed five games with a groin injury this year after kicking in 15 games for the Jets in 2019.

Chase McLaughlin will be the kicker at New England in the season finale Sunday. The Jets claimed McLaughlin off waivers from the Jaguars last month, but he has not appeared in a game for them. McLaughlin appeared in three games for Jacksonville this season and went 4-for-5 on field goals and 3-for-4 on extra points. He will be the third kicker the Jets have used this season.

The Jets had two kicks blocked last week, something that infuriated special teams coordinator Brant Boyer. Ficken had an extra point attempt and a field-goal try blocked.

“This is a kid’s rated show, so I’ll try to temper what I say here,” Boyer said. “It was a collaboration of things. We gave up a little too much pressure inside, a little bit of a low kick, and then we had to sub a guy right at the last second to get him in there on the second one. I think we can certainly do a better job.”

All it is stopping the inside pressure. They didn’t get that much push, and that’s the thing, not enough to usually block a kick. So, we definitely got to get that fixed before this week. Obviously, that can’t happen, ever, and it happened twice in one game. So, needless to say, I’m not happy about it, that’s for sure.”

The Jets activated guard Greg Van Roten off injured reserve Saturday. He is expected to start at right guard, where he started for the first 12 games of the Jets season. He suffered a turf toe injury that put him on injured reserve on Dec. 12. … Cornerback Bless Austin was ruled out after missing this week with a non-COVID-19 illness. Lamar Jackson is expected to start in his place.

The Jets also signed DL Tanzel Smart and LB Sharif Finch to the active roster from the practice squad. They elevated LBs Noah Dawkins and Brady Sheldon from the practice squad.

Jets rookie WR Denzel Mims had a quiet game last week against the Browns, held without a catch for the first time in a game this season.

Mims has had an up-and-down rookie year that was hindered by hamstring injuries early on. He has flashed the ability that made the Jets take him in the second round out of Baylor, but he has yet to have a monster game. Could that come on Sunday against the Patriots?

The Jets said there were reasons he was held without a catch by Cleveland.

“I think there were a couple things that — coverage dictates where the ball goes,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “Obviously, the inside guys had a bigger game with [Jamison] Crowder, [Braxton] Berrios and [TE Chris] Herndon. I think we had eight targets to the outside guys and were 0-for-8. There was some contested balls, a couple of go routes that were thrown. Sometimes a game turns like that and when the ball goes outside to your guys, they have to make contested plays. And when you don’t make those plays, sometimes your stat line won’t be as good.”

Mims has 22 catches for 342 yards in eight games this season. He is still looking for his first touchdown.

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