The New York Jets won their first game of the 2020 season last Sunday, and fans aren’t happy about it. That might sound weird, but when that win causes the franchise to miss out on drafting a quarterback as talented as Trevor Lawrence, it at least makes more sense.
Jets fans are looking for someone to blame, and the easy choice is the team’s punter, Braden Mann. The rookie didn’t do anything bad. He just did his job. Some fans don’t see it that way though.
In their minds, he’s the reason New York will likely miss out on Lawrence.
With less than six minutes to go in Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, the Jets had a 23-20 lead. Something drastic was going to need to happen to secure New York another loss.
Rams return man Nsimba Webster took a 50-yard punt from Mann and began returning it. It looked like it could be a big return — like, take-the-lead-with-a-touchdown type of big. Instead, Mann made a game-saving tackle.
Check out that tackle below.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 20, 2020
In any other season, that is considered a great play. To be honest, it still should be. Mann did his job, and his team won as a result.
That hasn’t stopped the Texas A&M product from receiving a few messages from angry fans, blaming him for the win. In fact, Mann addressed what getting those messages has been like for him.
“I got a few messages like that,” Mann said, via NFL.com. “But whoever says something like that, I don’t think they ever tried to compete at something like this. For us, we get paid to play. We get paid to win. I couldn’t care less about the social media reaction, to be honest with you.”
That’s the correct approach. The play he made may have cost the Jets the opportunity to secure Lawrence, but no one should be blaming Mann. If they have to be mad at someone, they should be mad at the Jets for firing defensive coordinator Gregg Williams prematurely. That defense made things fairly difficult for Jared Goff and the rest of the Los Angeles offense.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.