The value of Robert Malone isn’t just limited to his role as the Jets’ punter. The biggest asset for the Jets in acquiring Malone, whom they signed Tuesday afternoon, is his holding ability.
Malone was brought on board after spending preseason with the Chargers. His deal with the Jets paved the way for the release of T.J. Conley, the Jets’ punter last season. In four games this preseason, Malone punted 20 times for an average of 44.8 yards per punt. Beyond that, he is an outstanding holder for field goals and extra points.
“Today was the first day with him, and it was a good first day. I’m getting used to him, and he’s getting used to my rhythm,” kicker Nick Folk said. “A lot of people can do it; you just catch the ball and put it on the spot. I need to trust him, that’s the big thing. And I think I can do that; we’re working towards that.”
Yesterday, Folk said that Malone approached him about the specifics of how the Jets kicker wanted the ball held — everything from the angle of the ball to adjustments for the wind. The two were able to talk specifics and Folk watched Malone hold a snap several times before he attempted his first kick with him.
“My normal ball is pretty straight up and down, I said ‘Let me see that’ and he did it a couple times and it was good. I just kind of pulled it. I showed him the lean I needed. He was really good at it,” Folk said. “It was a good first day. We’ll just build on it tomorrow.”
In 2010, with Malone holding, Tampa Bay’s Connor Barth had a career-high 105 points and made 23-of-28 field goal attempts. The Jets had been attempting to utilize Conley as a long snapper with the departure of Brunell.
Before signing Malone, the Jets had him work out to make sure that he would jell with long snapper Tanner Purdum and Folk.
“They made sure I could do it. I didn’t hold for the Chargers this year. Their kickers were in a competition and they wanted the same holder for both,” Malone said. “In the workout they made me hold a bunch of times and feel comfortable with the snaps with Nick.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.