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STS*: Westhoff Breaks Down the Big Block

Posted by Eric Allen on September 17, 2011 – 11:00 am

Since the Jets’ special teams played such a critical role in the their Week 1 victory over the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, we booked coordinator Mike Westhoff for a Week 2 appearance on “Four Quarters.”

With the Jets trailing, 24-17, and just 5:08 left on the game clock, Westhoff dialed up one of the most exciting punt blocks that you’ll ever seen in regular-season play. Westhoff told me that the most amazing thing about Joe McKnight’s majestic block is that while it typically takes two seconds from snap to kick, the Cowboys and P Mat McBriar completed the process in just 1.87 seconds.

“I thought strategically we would have three guys on two. If we did this exactly correct, we may get that,” Westhoff said. “I didn’t think it would necessarily be Joe. I thought the fullback would step in and take Joe, and we’d get 2-on-1 on the corner. As it turned out, they actually moved out a little bit better than I thought, although the fullback probably went further out than what they’d like him to, and Joe came clean and we blocked it.”

As MetLife Stadium erupted, speedy CB Isaiah Trufant calmly scooped up the bouncing ball and raced to the end zone. Pandemonium ensued and the classic was tied up in an instant.

“He was running off the opposite edge to make sure that they weren’t able to turn and punt away from our overload,” Westy said of Trufant. “He’s so quick and he timed it up, and we always have a scoop-and-score principle if there’s anything that is blocked — the same thing with a field goal. And he was able to do that.

“It was just a great play.”

Then we know what happened next as Nick Folk stuck a 50-yard dagger into his former employer, much to the delight of Westhoff and the fans. It was a sensational start to the season for the special teams units.

But Westhoff, always the perfectionist, is definitely working on improvement heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Jaguars. Eager to make something happen late in the second quarter with his team down, 10-0, Antonio Cromartie returned a kickoff out of his end zone even though he was 9 yards deep. The Jets had survived a poor drive start at their 13 and cashed in with an 87-yard scoring drive that culminated on a 4-yard toss from Mark Sanchez to Dustin Keller.

“We’d like to be about 5 or so deep, and Cro was a little bit deep and he knows it. We actually thought we should challenge our own return that he stepped out — I kind of think he did,” said Westhoff with a laugh. “We could have challenged it and made it be a touchback. It’s an aggressive play on his part. I don’t want to take away from his aggressiveness — I just don’t. There will come a time when the weather’s going to get colder and the ball won’t constrict as well. I think we have an excellent blocking team and we’ll be a kickoff return threat.”

New punter T.J. Conley numbers (39.8-yard average, 35.0-yard net) might not appear impressive on first glance, but he didn’t have too many misfires. He backed the Cowboy up on their 7- and 9-yard lines with back-to-back punts of 31 and 35 yards — both unofficially with better than 5.1-second hang times — early in the second quarter.

“He did a good job the other night,” Westhoff said of Conley. “He did two balls inside the 10 that we liked. When they came at him at the end of the game, he got the ball off on time. He had a real nice one that they had to fair-catch. He hit one ball that we really didn’t like. He kind of cut across it and it wasn’t perfect, but he did some good things. We see him improving and he’s capable of hitting the really good ball.”

Westhoff is looking forward to another big-time challenge Sunday. The Jaguars are more than just Maurice Jones-Drew — they feature two of the top special teamers in all of football in WR Kassim Osgood and RB Montell Owens.

“They have an outstanding group and they have the Pro Bowl players in Osgood and Owens. If you had to pick the two best special teams players in the NFL in the last five to six to seven years, it may be those two,” Westy said. “Now I would throw Eric Smith and maybe even Brad Smith into that group. They’re real good and they’re a challenge. [Josh] Scobee is an excellent kicker, a big kickoff guy. Matt Turk’s been around. Matt’s a veteran, but he’s still good. They have a young punt returner [rookie WR Cecil Shorts] who I think is pretty good.”

You can check out more of our sitdown with Coach Westhoff this weekend on “Four Quarters.”

*Special Teams Saturday


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Posted in Eric Allen | 13 Comments »


13 Responses to “STS*: Westhoff Breaks Down the Big Block”

  1. By ddh on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    what cant you say about coach Westhoff, he is truly a master of his craft, how time and time again his play calling yields such results is amazing. I also thought it funny that they jumped all over Rex about his foul mouth, yet Westy leaves him the dust, he must intimidate the hell out of people.

  2. By scjoe on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    You are right EA, T.J. Conleys 39 yd gross avg is not very impressive, but wait until the cold windy winters set in, I don’t think anyone is looking forward to that.Hopefully this is the week the running game takes off, I don’t think Sanchez is at the point in his carear where he can do it on his own.
    love to see McKnight get some PT and love to see Cumberlands PT increased.

  3. By wayne on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    One thing I can say about the old coach, he was wrong about the new KO rules, along with everyone else who automatically react negatively to the change. Plays are being made…..I am also confident that he’ll find ways to explore the changes going forward……..NOTHING REMAINS THE SAME……..AFTER A FEW DECADES ON THIS BALL, WE SHOULD START GETTIN’ USE TO THAT IDEA.

  4. By fred on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    When Westy retires he should be an absolute lock for the Ring of Honor I just love listening to him & have learned so much that goes into ST

  5. By Rich on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    I was probably crazy at the time, but I screamed for Westy to get serious head coach consideration when we were replacing Herm Edwards, and then again when we replaced Mangini. Now I’m not complaining one lick about Rex, but I would have loved to see what Westy could have done as HC of the NYJ.

  6. By Karan on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    I am loving Derrick Mason, hahaha, looks like he has a conflict from the past with Belichik. Unleash your fury come week 5 Mr. Mason!, looks like green and white will suit him just fine.

  7. By Karan on Sep 17, 2011 | Reply

    Westoff is definitely intimidating, but that’s what makes him a heck of a coach. I know not having his star pupil in Brad Smith must not make him as satisfied as last year, but he’ll get around it. Kerley will do just fine and I mean come on, a blocked punt already?? And with McKnight? That is amazing, way to go Mr. Westoff, you continue to impress. Whenever you do retire, and I hope its not yet, I hope you will retire as a Jet.

  8. By dan on Sep 18, 2011 | Reply

    Man watching the game Sanchez is doing everything to lose the game. One more int please start Brunell. I wish Greg McElroy was healthy. I’m starting to worry about Sanchez and a lot of the media being right that he is over rated well it’s the second quarter and we’ll see

  9. By dan on Sep 18, 2011 | Reply

    Sanchez plays like this all season they aren’t getting in the playoffs. Pats will kill him

  10. By GaryC on Sep 18, 2011 | Reply

    I told you sanchez would throw a pick to Mathis.

  11. By Jimmer on Sep 18, 2011 | Reply

    When is someone going to show Sanchez film of himself? Foot placement-check. Throwing motion-check. Staring down your primary receiver without ever looking elsewhere???? That would be a check too if it wasn’t so bad.
    He’s been doing this since his rookie year, and nobody seems to be helping him fix it. He only looks elsewhere when he gets in trouble. Until he fixes this flaw, he’s never gonna be a probowler, that’s for sure.

  12. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 18, 2011 | Reply

    I’m worried about the Pats but over Brady and their WRs, not their weak running game or D. It looks to me like D coordinators have figured out how to keep Woodhead away from the enormous holes the Pats’ O line opens so often, and without those holes Woodhead still goes down just as easily as he always did. Bill actually let the Chargers back into that game today by going for it on 4th and 4 from the 50, but SD played about the worst game I’ve seen them play in yrs. Pats kept trying to hand it to them and they didn’t take it. Lots of yds for Rivers but not that many pts, also not uncommon for him. Pats look overrated especially in D secondary and SD looks nothing like last yr on D. Rivers doesn’t look as sharp as usual, either.

  13. By dan on Sep 18, 2011 | Reply

    Maybe we can start by getting a new O coordinator

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