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STS*: Weatherford Kicked Up a Storm, Too

Posted by Randy Lange on December 18, 2010 – 12:20 pm

The funny thing about Sunday’s Jets-Miami game is that Dolphins punter Brandon Fields got well-deserved praise for his punting. But had the Jets managed to squeak out a touchdown or keep the ‘Fins out of the end zone and come away with the victory, the praiseworthy punter would’ve been Steve Weatherford.

The reason Fields had such long fields to bomb his 10 punts an average of 56.4 yards each was because the Jets defense was holding the Miami offense after Weatherford’s mostly surgical punts. His first three punts on the game were all not only inside-the-20 kicks but inside-the-10‘s. Six of his eight punts were I-20s — the most in a game by a Jets punter since at least 1991. Four were fair-caught, and none were returned.

Yet Weatherford had a punter’s lament when I talked with him this week. His 38.4 gross and 35.9 net just didn’t excite anyone except himself, Mike Westhoff, Ben Kotwica and the punting connoisseurs out there.

“It stinks because it affects your overall numbers for the season,” he said. “That bothers some guys. But at the end of the day, you’re doing the best you can. You’re punting from the 44-yard line and the best [net] punt you can possibly get is 43 yards. I had a punt from the 36 and we were lucky enough to down it at the 1, but still, that’s a 35-yard punt. For most guys, that’s a bad punt.

“But the ability we’ve had to pin guys deep, between myself, Marquice Cole and Dwight Lowery downing the ball, I think that’s really helped our chances of winning the game.”

It will be interesting to see who Weatherford’s flyers are Sunday, since Cole was inactive for Miami and Lowery for the immediate future is a starting safety.

Meanwhile, except for New England, Weatherford’s numbers continue to impress. He’s purring along at 43.2 yards gross and a career-high (so far) 39.0 net, and he continues among the NFL’s leaders in three lesser-known, interrelated and important categories.

■ Weatherford’s six I-20s vs. Miami give him 32 for the season, No. 2 in the league behind only the 34 of Baltimore’s Sam Koch.

■ His 32.9 percent of punts returned is also second, trailing the 28.6 of Jacksonville’s Adam Podlesh.

■ His and his coverage team’s 24 fair catches forced are tops in the league.

Interestlingly, that fair catch number is only one better than Pittsburgh’s 23, and of course the Jets and Steelers will kick it off Sunday at Heinz Field.

But the Steelers lost the guy who forced most of those FCs, Dan Sepulveda to injured reserve. Jeremy Kapinos, a Jet for a game in ’07. Kapinos picked up where Sepulveda left off with three I-20s and two FCs on five punts against the Bengals.

It will be interesting to see whether the current Jet or the former Jet supplies an edge to his team, and whether that edge is steely enough to help his team to victory.

One final note on Fields’ game: His 56.4 gross was the best by an opponent in Jets franchise history (minimum of four punts). And his 49.6 net was the third best vs. the Green & White since 1976.

*Special Teams Saturday

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Posted in Randy Lange | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “STS*: Weatherford Kicked Up a Storm, Too”

  1. By anthony from yonkers on Dec 18, 2010 | Reply

    have heard all last week and today about how badly run the Jets are or how much of a clown Rex is and Mr T from Mike Francesa. But he finally finally admitted to everyone that the reason why he kills the Jets is because Woody Johnson will not allow any of his players on his show….. If that is the case then how much credibility does Mike have when crticizing the Jets…… I cant believe he admitted that…….The facts are that Rex didnt tell Alosi to trip a player…. nor did westoff…. did he lie about knowing about the wall… who knows who cares… to me its irrelevant….. the bigger issue is that he never told anyone to trip another player….. More important Schottenheimer better look at how the pats beat the steelers, spread

  2. By Rocco on Dec 18, 2010 | Reply

    You know, this is one guy who really doesnt get enogh respect, My opinion is Steve is the best punter in the NFL. Keep it up Steve

  3. By scjoe on Dec 18, 2010 | Reply

    You know what they say about stats? They can sometime be misleading, and that would be true. You can compare all the punting stats you want, give me the guy who can punt 10 (TEN) times in a game for a 56 yd gross average and almost a 50 net, and I will take him every time. Just look at how he changed the field position in that game over and over again. I truly believe he single handedly won that game for the fish. Staying on the ST subject, I said that losing Leonard would hurt the punt return game more then anything else, well, this last game did nothing to change my mind, it was pedestrian at best, but they should get a pass because of the weather, lets watch closely this week.

  4. By scjoe on Dec 18, 2010 | Reply

    Tom Spicer, read Bucky Brooks story about Sanchez on NFL.com and tell me if it isn’t everything I have been saying all along.

  5. By Gmany3k on Dec 18, 2010 | Reply

    Great read .maybe steve will run a fake punt for a 1st down in this game.

  6. By JetZilla on Dec 18, 2010 | Reply

    Why does this feel like the 2008 season? Because that was the scene of our last trainwreck, 9-4 with three to play only to finish 9-7 and not make the playoffs. Rex if you are reading this article please take over our struggling offense the next three games to give us a chance. Let Mark air it out we have nothing to loose at this stage; at least go down fighting. If we have another late season collapse the fans will find it very hard to forgive you after getting our expectations up and trusting Schotty to run our nonexistent offence. We can still make a run, but only if you take control. This team will always be the same old Jets until they win a Super Bowl. Mr T fire Schotty ASAP.

  7. By Gregg from CA on Dec 18, 2010 | Reply

    Wow, scjoe! You have to dig a little to find the story now, but I think it’s a detailed and insightful analysis that mirrors what a lot of the perceptive people around here have been saying for weeks! Tom64 and I have been emailing almost the exact details that Bucky itemized for the past two weeks, and it’s nice to see it all published in an objective and bile-free article that does just as much to condemn Schotty as the angry diatribes that some other press “professionals” have been spewing.

  8. By Jets Fan Tom for a Long Time on Dec 18, 2010 | Reply

    scjoe, I read the Brooks piece on Sanchez and while it wasn’t brilliant, I agree with most of it. But I think you and Spicer both have a lot of good points on all sides, which is another way of saying we’re just not looking too good at QB, OC, and HC at the moment. And that I don’t blame lifelong season ticket-holders and other fans for calling for a regime change in the next year or two if it doesn’t get better. Personally, some Sundays I wonder what it would be like to have an HC who just coaches the game rather than constantly makes outsized predictions and pronouncements, brags about himself and his players even when they perform miserably, and all this other jive. It’s getting very old very quickly.

  9. By GaryC on Dec 19, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Mark, today your the man. Just think you are playing Iowa, you know, they have the same colors as the steelers and a win will get you to the rose bowl.too bad the weather won’t be like Pasadena.Oh well we can pray.

  10. By Jets Fan Tom for a Long Time on Dec 19, 2010 | Reply

    Clarke G., I think you asked what we do at RB next yr. Well, this year LT-TJ-SG rank 853-766-656 in yds, 4.3-4.1-4.0. KC leads in rushing because of Charles’ 1221 yds and 6.1. The big difference for us is LT’s 49 catches vs. TJ’s 12. So whatever we do next yr is similar to what we woulda done had we kept TJ, evaluate our older RB and see what goes best with our younger one. Obviously it would be great if LT holds on next yr, McKnight steps up as a 3rd back, and we keep grooming Conner to succeed T-Rich, because we’re hardly in the position to spend one of our customarily few draft choices on an RB in 2011. I can think of more than a few guys I’d love to unload for a pick, but I’ll hold that thought till after what I hope is our post-season.

  11. By Jets Fan Tom for a Long Time on Dec 19, 2010 | Reply

    Sorry, Clarke, that’s 837 yds for LT. And hey, don’t tell me McKnight doesn’t have potential, at 7 for 31 his 4.4. average is the highest of any running back (not counting B Smith’s rushes) on the team! (Yes, that’s a joke son…)

  12. By GaryC on Dec 19, 2010 | Reply

    if this is heinz field the jets need to be the spatula to the steelers burghers and toss them up too and fro and then devour them.

  13. By wayne on Dec 19, 2010 | Reply

    Enough with the stats already.Here’s a stat for you. Jets lose to good teams, and barely squeak by the weak ones.Tannenbaum with the trades and Rex ,with his pie hole, threw the whole anchilada on this kid’s shoulders. The Steelers were the perfect blueprint to follow. You had a good running game. Continue emphasizing the run and give the kid some time to develop.Problem was there was another unintended consequence: who knew “Schotty” would choke on the extra talent?.The big game for these Jets will be the Bears game. Their QB has trouble with the cold. They will have trouble with Cutler’s arm AND feet. Ehrlacker manhandles them.And they’ll be coming off a very physical matchup.We’re about to learn bout these guys.

  14. By GaryC on Dec 19, 2010 | Reply

    okay polomalu isn’t playing,let’s see if schotty had a b plan ready for such a scenario happening and taking advantage of a weaker secondary.

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