Thursday, December 19, 2013

Westhoff: To put it kindly, Jets 'limited in personnel'


Mike Westhoff was talking about the New York Jets' special teams unit, but he might as well have been talking about the entire team. Well, minus the defensive front.

"The Jets are limited in personnel," Westhoff said Tuesday, via ESPN New York. "And I'm being kind."

Westhoff, the Jets' former longtime special teams coach -- and one of the best in the history of the game -- was talking to ESPN's Rich Cimini about the Carolina Panthers' blocking of a Jets punt in the second half of Gang Green's loss last Sunday.

The former coordinator said the blocked punt, which was the turning point in a game that ultimately spelled the demise of the Jets' season, "devastated" him.

The Jets' punt block breakdown was during a look in which they send three flyers at the returner instead of two. It worked earlier in the game, twice forcing dangerous returner Ted Ginn to fair catches.

Three wasn't a charm. But according to Westhoff, the Jets shouldn't have needed a charm.

"You should be able to block that very easily," he said of New York's failure to pick up Jason Williams, who made the play on the ball.

Ben Kotwica, Westhoff's former protege and successor, put the blame on himself this week. Kotwica, however, is working with inferior pieces in this particular season.

Brian Bassett of summed it up nicely Wednesday:

"Not long ago the Jets had players like Wallace Wright, Joe McKnight, Josh Mauga, James Ihedigbo and the Smiths among many other solid guys in this group," Bassett wrote. "While there are still some standout players like Bellore and Lankster, the overall unit has suffered.

Add in that some of their effective players are on the IR (like Josh Mauga among others) and that other players who were playing well were replaced (like Ricky Sapp) and it starts to demonstrate Westhoff’s point."

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