Jason Myers may seem to be a weather wizard who can calm the winds of fall and winter and send footballs flying through distant uprights with ease. But the kicker’s success since coming to the Jets in mid-August is really just a typical football mindset in dealing with all the gusts that try to blow a body off course.
Myers used that mentality to get him over a career monsoon that buffeted him from Jacksonville to Seattle to North Jersey in the span of 10 months.
“I couldn’t control where I was going to end up,” Myers said after Sunday’s loss to Buffalo, during which he kicked his latest 55-yard field goal to tie an NFL milestone. “But I was in Seattle and I was kicking very well. They decided to go with Seabass [Sebastian Janikowski, of course], and then the Jets picked me up.
“It was a big turnaround, but you can’t really control where you’re going to be. I’m sure some guys would’ve been overwhelmed with the whirlwind, but I just kept working, going day to day and kick to kick.”
On the one hand, it’s unfortunate the Jets have needed him to be perfect from 50-plus most of this season. On the other, it’s amazing watching the 5’10” fourth-year pro powering the football the way he has on field goals, not to mention kickoffs.
His 55-yarders at home against the Dolphins, Vikings and now the Bills — all equaling the franchise’s record for longest home kicks — and his 56-yarder at Miami make him one of only three kickers in NFL history to hit four field goals from 55 yards or longer in the same season. The other two, the Bills’ Stephen Hauschka and the Lions’ Matt Prater, did it last year.
It’s also interesting that Myers’ biggest accomplishments, which include his 7-for-7 against the Colts, have come in his new home, which has been known to occasionally drive kickers, punters and passers crazy. The kick against the Vikes, he said, was struck in the midst of 20-mph winds gusting to 40, with his 42-yarder the next week at Chicago coming in the same kind of conditions.
Again, it’s that Myers mindset. You could say he learned how to kick around these parts from his college days at Marist in Poughkeepsie, NY, but before he came to the Northeast, he hailed from Southern Cal.
“I’m from San Diego and I’m a California kid at heart,” he explained of his first cross-country trek. “But I didn’t have many offers coming out. Marist brought me up for a visit, I liked the campus, and I had a blast there for four years. It kind of made the road harder getting to the NFL, but I made it in the end and that’s all that matters.”
Myers took no consolation from converting his Sunday kick in the Jets’ lopsided loss, but his focus has carried him through so far and will continue for the final six games, with three more MetLife assignments against the Patriots, Texans and Packers and some perhaps trying weather awaiting at Buffalo and New England.
“You can’t control the winds. You’ve just got to go out there and know what your ball’s going to do, what you can do yourself, and go from there,” he said. “It’s going to get cold and the ball may not fly as well. But when they throw me out there, I’m just going to give it my best kick.”