NFL Preseason: New York Jets Make Last-Minute Moves, Sign New Punter

Adam WaksmanCorrespondent IIISeptember 5, 2012

TAMPA, FL - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Robert Malone of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

The New York Jets have made what are likely to be their final moves before the regular season opens for them on Sunday, September 9. In a surprising move, they cut their punter from 2011—T.J. Conley.

Conley was under a lot of scrutiny in the preseason. However, he outplayed competitor Spencer Lanning and seemed to have the punter spot wrapped up.

ESPN reported Tuesday night that Conley was released—an unexpected move. Furthermore, the replacement punter is not Spencer Lanning, but Robert Malone.

At 24 years old, Malone is still somewhat inexperienced in the NFL and has not proved to be a top-notch punter yet. Undrafted out of Fresno State in 2010, he saw playing time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010 and the Detroit Lions in 2011.

He has played in a total of 13 NFL games.

In 2011, Conley was supposed to be the replacement for former punter Steve Weatherford. Weatherford did not have the best relationship with special teams guru Mike Westhoff. However, he proved to be a better punter than Conley.

In recent years, the Jets have usually fielded excellent special teams, including the punter position. With very little time to get acquainted with the team, Robert Malone will have to impress Westhoff on Sunday to secure his roster spot.


Adam Waksman is a featured columnist for the Bleacher Report New York Jets community. Be sure to follow Adam on Twitter to receive updates right away.