On Now
Coming Up

Blog

STS*: Making Plans After Jimmy’s Injury

Posted by Nick Gallo on December 4, 2010 – 9:48 am

Friday’s practice was going smoothly for the Jets. Head coach Rex Ryan said it was one of the best days of practice they’d had all season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time with the trip to Foxboro, Mass. to face the 9-2 New England Patriots looming.

Then safety Jim Leonhard went up for a jump ball down the sideline with wide receiver Patrick Turner, and Leonhard didn’t get up. He had to be carted off the field because of a severe right shin injury he sustained during the play, which soon was diagnosed as a fractured tibia.

A few hours later, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff reacted.

“On the field, a lot of people do realize what an important part he was,” Pettine said later Friday afternoon. “He really did quarterback the back end. He was a big part of helping guys get lined up and he was usually a guy that was in the right place at the right time doing his job. That’s something that we are really going to miss.”

“When these things happen, everybody has to step up,” Westhoff said. “Everybody steps up and you have to implement different things. I’m used to it. I get it every week.”

In the secondary, safety Eric Smith will be the one to step up and make the playcalls, now starting alongside Brodney Pool. Special teams ace and fellow safety James Ihedigbo’s role will likely increase, as will the role for cornerback Dwight Lowery, who has been limited at practice this week but could make his first appearance since sustaining a concussion against the Browns.

On special teams, Leonhard was tied for eighth in the NFL with an 11.3-yard punt return average and was also an essential member of the kickoff coverage unit. His production was key, but Westhoff prides himself on being able to adjust.

In fact, former NFL Defensive MVP Jason Taylor volunteered his services this week on the punt return team as a rusher. That shows the sacrifice these Jets are willing to make, particularly on special teams. Westhoff has had three other veterans step up as potential options on the punt return team, all of whom could be potent weapons as the season heads into its stretch run.

“We like to play two deep sometimes,” Westhoff said. “So I’m sure I’ll get Jerricho [Cotchery] involved like he used to be. You’re losing an eighth-ranked punt returner in the NFL with Jimmy. That’s a loss. Jerricho finished close to that last year so he’ll get involved.”

Westhoff also noted that wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who has already made four game-changing fourth-quarter/overtime plays this season, and long-striding cornerback Antonio Cromartie have both asked for a shot at the punt return position.

“We are going to look at all of that,” Westhoff said, “and see what is the best and put together a package that best suits us. Jerricho is probably the steadiest and we may get him involved at two-deep with one of the other guys. It was a move that I was prepared to make anyway with Cromartie and give him that opportunity.”

No matter who ends up fielding punts, it will be difficult to replace the leadership, poise and communication skills that Leonhard brought to the table. Going up against Tom Brady and the vaunted Patriots offense, Leonhard would have been crucial. The Green & White will rise to the challenge, but most of all, the players in the Jets locker room are upset that their fallen brother is in pain and won’t be on the Gillette Stadium field with them on Monday night.

“I think a lot of it starts with off the field,” Pettine said. “He’s not just a great football player; he’s a great person. I think his personality is just tremendous, he’s a very funny guy, good-natured. I think he kept the room very light, was very quick to point things out, very quick-witted. That’s a big part of it, to me, is more the personal part of it, the off-the-field stuff.”

*Special Teams Saturday.


Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Nick Gallo | 44 Comments »


44 Responses to “STS*: Making Plans After Jimmy’s Injury”

  1. By charliejet on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    Wow! – Jim Leonhard must be soooooo frustrated – A smart player, good competitor must be pounding his fist in frustration……..sorry buddy. Heal strong get well – you helped get us here were we are today.

  2. By Tom Spicer on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    I think guys are making to big of a deal of us losing Jim. 1 He got burnt in coverage this year 2 He gets run over in the run game. They will only miss him on punts if he wasnt one of the guys Ryan brought over from the Ravens he might have even got benched. I actually thinks this helps us in terms of coverage because now we knoe who covers who. Revis on Welker, Cromartie on Branch, Coleman on Tate, Smith (who is more of a run stuffer) on the big guy Gronowski, Pool on the faster smaller Hernandez & Scott the best cover LB we have watches Woodhead.

  3. By Tom Spicer on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    All of the experts are taking the Pats. We have a better d line, better linebackers, better secondary, better o line, better WR’S & better RB’S. They have a better QB, coach & are home but I can say FINALLY WE HAVE THE BETTER OVERALL TEAM! IF THESE 2 THINGS HAPPEN WE WIN THIS GAME! 1 They average 30 points a game if we can hold them to 20 points & 2 if Mark does not have multiple turnovers WE WILL WIN THIS GAME!

  4. By davetharave on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    “Win one for the Gipper” “Win one for Jimmy”

  5. By IRA on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    Not concerned at all about ST’s. J-Co has done it before and he is as sure handed as Leonhard is. Coverage though could be interesting. Will they use McKnight or does the return of Cole take Leonhard’s place?

  6. By Frank Trovato on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    Get well Jimmy, heal and get strong for next season.

  7. By Tom from Bricktown on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    who is going to be our official fair-catch punt returner

  8. By Vulcan-Man on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    Jim Leonhard is one of my favorite Jet players. Tenacity, resilence, and courage; these are the things that come to mind when I think of him. He will be sorely missed, but I know that he more than anyone would want his teammates to rise above this setback and put a serious hurt on Tom Brady and Co: And later say they did it for Jimmy!!!

  9. By scjoe on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    Punt returns and communication are probably the two areas he is missed most. If Smith can fill in as far as calling the signals in the secondary it shouldn’t be that bad. Punt returns? Not sure, from what I have seen, that he can effectively be replaced. Wilson is scary, Cotchery is steady, but don’t expect to many breakaway returns, Holmes could be the guy, but do they risk putting him back there under the circumstances? I would say yes, don’t know about Rex. Just a thought, but what about Drew Colemen back there? He has good speed, not sure about his hands though, I t isn’t to often he runs with the ball in his hands. I guess you can throw Cro and Smith in to the mix as well. Lets hope that who ever it is gets plenty of chances this week

  10. By freddy bee on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    Step up, pull together, kick some patsie butt. Put them to bed men!!

  11. By Adelaide Dunlop on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    I bet Jim will be on the sidelines, if he has to go on a stretcher just to be with his teammates. He will be there somehow I know that much. The team will play well just because they won’t want to let Jim down!! Watch and See

  12. By Greg P on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    NOW, it’s really go time guys, go up there and play like a JET, and GIT IT DONE good luck and make us proud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  13. By Wayne on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply

    Am I crazy or does anyone else out there experience terrible reception when listening to our beloved Jets, Rangers, or Knicks on 1050?

    I can’t believe that 1050 AM has the Rangers, Knicks and Jets with their very, very poor reception. It’s the worst fan experience I’ve ever witnessed. They don’t even offer HD radio. The NY teams must pay them pennies to broadcast their games.

    Shame on 1050 AM for not making their reception a better quality. I’m constantly adjusting the antenna or moving the radio as if I were living in the 1950’s.

    Again, Am I crazy or does anyone else out there experience terrible reception when listening to our beloved Jets, Rangers, or Knicks on 1050? Something must be done. We deserve better!! It’s 2010 not the 1950’s.

    Please join me by complaining to 1050 AM to produce better quality for the best fans in the world!!!!

  14. By GaryC on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    Can’t understand the signing of coles, will not get touches as receiver and is not a special teams guy.the woodhead cut is hurting more and more as rex devulged.hopefully not too many more bonehead decisions like that one.I guess the people who loved Donavan Warren in training camp are wondering where he is.Gps can’t locate him.are you telling me the jets can’t sign a safety to fill Leonards spot or put Cumberland on roster to help with specials.

  15. By anthony on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    Can you please stop showing photos of Jim Leonard. It’s making me depressed and making me feel as if I’m at a funeral. I want to feel as if this team will fight and not be sorry for themselves. Stuff like this just makes me depressed. thanks

  16. By Kenny P on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    Jim, you will be surly missed on D and special teams. I think you were the heart and soul of our secondary. Get well soon buddy, and LETS GO JETS!!! The rest of you guys’ STEP UP!

  17. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    GaryC, I wrote a very similar post about this curious signing of Coles that either didn’t get there or in some way offended, and it’s true I was perplexed over such a move. I also referred to the Coles move as recalling the weirdness of cutting Woodhead for Clowney and then cutting Clowney. Spicer, you have courage that few men can match. There are things I love about Leonhard and I hope he makes a full recovery, but I won’t miss watching bigger players on both the run and the pass reduce him to ineffectiveness. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the bigger Smith and Pool actually did a better job.

  18. By scjoe on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    The Coles signing makes no sense to me, you bring up a young guy from the practice squad, preferably one who can contribute on STs, and take a look these last 5 games, not a 32 yr old WR, a position we really don’t need right now, especially one who was on the street. What can he possibly contribute at this point. What are you thinking Rex?

  19. By GaryC on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    with this signing of coles you are going to have to watch rex over these next couple of years, his penchant for signing older players might lead the jets to having more age than necessary and not developing the younger ones efficiently enough.I guess also shotty did not see in woodhead what patriots are seeing, or it is a big flaw in organization that tannenbaum will need to address.

  20. By GaryC on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    one more point on rexy, what raven has he brought over who has made a significant impact.douglas, scott, leonhard, pryce. I dont think so.

  21. By Mike Jet Vet on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    B-Smith will return Ko’s can’t see J-Co returning just coming off a torn Hammy unless they want to lose him for the season .. E-Smith will be the eyes and ears in the secondary Like to see Diggs roaming the field just waiting on welker Hernandez Branch and Gronk give them alittle somethin somethin for the Holidays ..Pool Lowery and Coleman will step up I’m not sold on Wilson not yet anyway.. WE need # 93 to get to Brady Go Jets

  22. By AA`78 on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    For those curious about Coles, I think it’s just that with the Leonard ‘s injury happening so late in the week, no one you bring in is going to be a big contributor, not even a practice squad guy. With Coles, you bring back a leader in the locker room to give the team an emotional lift. He’ll only be back this one game, he gets to retire a Jet and in his #87, and then after Monday night you replace his roster spot with someone long-term who can take reps all week for Miami.

  23. By 37 year fan on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    Leonhard will be there in spirit …..We will adjust , and The Jets are Hungry …… VERY HUNGRY …….

  24. By Steve Butabi on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    I believe Coles still has some value. He’s excellent role model, and can possibly be a great mentor for guys like Edwards and Holmes keeping their heads straight. If having Coles around will keep our WRs out of trouble, hes worth every cent.

  25. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    Slam-dunk post on Coles on all counts, scjoe. The best I can figure is that Rex thought there’s no S they can get and play by Sunday, so go for some kind of emotional push from Coles. I don’t see why he’d still be around after we add another DB and judging from Coles’ tweet yesterday, neither does he. More importantly, with today’s results there are 4 teams in the WC running, MIA, IND, SD, and OAK, who have to win out to be 10-6. So a mere 11-5 should guarantee us the WC but it would be great if we could take at least 2 out of 3 from NE, PIT, and CHI. A Jet team that did that would seem like a good bet to go deep into the post-season.

  26. By Jeff B. on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    Coles deserves to be part of this team, and hopefully get a ring as a Jet before he retires.

  27. By Jeremy F on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    Jimmy you are the King Get Well Soon!!!

  28. By Tom Spicer on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    This is the biggest regular season Jet game in 15 years! If we want home playoff games WE MUST WIN THIS GAME!

  29. By Tom Spicer on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    We must make the Pats do what they are not good at doing leave in a extra DB on every play dare them to run the ball. Also crowd the 5 to 15 yard area & make them have to take there shots deep. These are not there strengths take away the short passing game thats what they do best.

  30. By Tony on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    Excited about this game tonight, Give them hell tonight. And keep hitting Brady until there is nothing left to hit. J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets…bring this one home for us Jet fans.

  31. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    The statistics today on ESPN about the Pats’ D are nothing short of staggering. As bad as that unit has looked to me in games this year (and I’ve seen just about every Pats’ game thanks to that 30-screen sports bar down the block), it’s hard to believe they’ve actually played this bad. MVJ and GaryC, let these stats put to rest any theories that McCourty’s starting slot (or anyone else’s starting slot on that D) has all that much to do with merit. But what’s more, I’ll warn y’all right now — if we can’t pass and score against THIS NE team tonight, I don’t want to hear the usual round of excuses, rationalizations, and whatnot for poor Schotty’s misunderstood genius, from Rex, Ira, or anyone else.

  32. By Tom Spicer on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    Last night watching the Raven vs Steeler game they posted this stat. Teams that have a record of 8 & 3 or better that have faced each other this late in the season out of the 43 times this has happened 37 times the team that wins this game wins the division. That means 85% of the time the team that wins this game wins the division. THIS IS A MUST WIN GAME!

  33. By scjoe on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    64tom, my sentiments exactly. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if we can not pass on this Pats team it falls on the shoulders of one man in particular, and it is not the OC! Consider this, if the two QBs who are starting tonight were somehow reversed, what do you think the passing stats against the Pats D would look like then?? I rest my case.

  34. By Rocky Del on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    Us historical JETS fans have waited a very long time for a season and game like this. This is our time. Go JETS – beat pretty boy and his gang tonight.

  35. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    That’s a very good way of putting it, scjoe, about the reversed QBs. Bottom line is, you can’t pass and score with the weapons we got in a game this big against a team this important that happens to have a defense this bad, I just don’ wanna hear it.

  36. By Tom Spicer on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    scjoe & tom 64, Did you guys watch the top 100 guys of all time on NFL network. You comparing a top 20 player of all time to a 2nd year QB something that can not & should not be done. Because there are about 5 guys EVER that you can compare to Brady he is a 1st ballot hall of famer. SCJOE your analogy stinks!

  37. By Tom Spicer on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    Also weather forcast 25 degrees with 25 mph winds so it will feel like ZERO. It will be very hard to throw we need to run the ball.

  38. By scjoe on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    spicer, again, I didn’t “compare” anybody, I simply made a statement that even you can not deny! So you tell me, if they were “reversed” what do you think the outcome would be?

  39. By GaryC on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    To jet fan tom and ray, saying mccourty gets beat a lot is true, but that makes it more amazing that he has 5 interceptions for a team that doesn’t have a pass rush.do you say the jets have a pass rush and how many intercepts do cromartie and revis have combined.

  40. By ICO on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    Jimmy get well. All I have been hearing is that Tom Brady is the spokesman for UGG boots. Well I have four words for you : MAKE HIM SAY UGG!!!

  41. By Tom Spicer on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    scjoe, really saying if Brady was on our team what would he do vs there pass D? This is not fantasy football lets put Joe Montana on our team in his prime & see how he would do or lets have the Pats have our D & see how good they are.

  42. By Mike Jet Vet on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    Bottom line pressure Brady play after play we will win, take manning for example last 4 games he looked average at best he got pressuredand has more INT’s in those 4 games then I can remember .guys like Manning and Brady are so used to making plays when they don’t I liken them to a spoiled brat not getting his way sulking whinning and throw off their timing … Take it to the bank way to beat Colts and Paties Get to the QB ..cut the head off the body falls GO JETS

  43. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Dec 6, 2010 | Reply

    I’m with scjoe on this one, Spicer. Sanchez needs to learn to throw and score points in all weather, against all teams. If you’re gonna let him off the hook about an early December night’s weather in Foxboro during the regular season, I’m really not looking forward to your excuses for him on Super Bowl night in New Jersey.

  44. By Jim Kobielush on Dec 7, 2010 | Reply

    One comment missed it all from Tom. ‘ Official fair catch punter.’ Yes you must catch the ball.

Post a Comment

%d bloggers like this: