Friday, October 21, 2011

Westhoff: Muffed return should've been TD

We saw it on Monday Night Football, but Mike Westhoff reiterated it during his Thursday press conference: The Jets’ special teams coach was furious about New York’s second kickoff reception attempt against the Miami Dolphins.

Early in the game, Miami had just gone up 3-0 and was kicking off to New York’s top-tier return unit. Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter booted a high ball that was short of the goalline, but the Jets’ two-man wedge of Garrett McIntyre and John Connor didn’t get upfield ahead of the ball, which hit McIntyre’s shin and went live. The Dolphins recovered.

What was most frustrating to Westhoff about the play wasn’t the loss of possession – it was the fact that he had prepared for that exact kick.

The Dolphins had made what Westhoff referred to as a gutsy kickoff to start the game, as they kicked a short one that returner Joe McKnight had to scoop up off a bounce. The next time around, Westhoff had his unit prepared for another short kick. Or so he thought.

“They kicked it right to where I called it. When they kicked off, I though we were gonna run for a touchdown,” Westhoff said. “I said, ‘You can’t kick the ball like that to us.’”

Westhoff coaches his blockers to shoot upfield and attack well ahead of the return when the ball is kicked short. They didn’t do it on that particular play.

“Our two guys just stood there, they froze. I mean, we should’ve just been exploding forward, running forward,” Westhoff said. “Joe would’ve caught the ball on the run. We would’ve had a running head start right at the place where I called the return. They got lucky on that one to be honest with you.

“…To tell you the truth that was a terrible pop-up kick. The first one, I kinda though they had some guts with it. The second one, give me a break, we should’ve killed them.”

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