The New York Jets have begun the expected process of rebooting their special teams.
Jets coach Todd Bowles has informed special teams coordinator Bobby April that he will not be retained for the 2016 season. Assistant special teams coach Steve Hagen and assistant offensive line coach Ron Heller were also let go. Hagen and Heller were the final holdovers from Rex Ryan's staff.
"After having our season-ending meetings with the staff, I decided that changes were necessary in these areas," Bowles said, via the Jets' team site. "I appreciate their contributions this past season and wish them success in the future."
Special teams was an Achilles heel all season. After a game against the Giants in which an 80-yard touchdown return by Dwayne Harris nearly wrecked the Jets' season, we surmised that April had four weeks to save his job. The unit looked better in the immediate weeks that followed, but old problems resurfaced in the team's crushing season-ending defeat to the Bills on Sunday.
Kicker Randy Bullock missed a 40-yard field goal attempt in the 22-17 loss, and punter Ryan Quigley -- far from a fan favorite -- shanked a 21-yard punt that set up a critical Bills touchdown. It was likely the final straw for April.
Turnover on special teams has been the norm on the Jets' staff in recent years. The team has had four different coordinators since Mike Westhoff retired after a long run in 2012. The Jets need stability up top and an upgrade in personnel so the same problems don't crop up again in 2016.