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STS*: How Conley, Cole Combined for an ‘Ace’

Posted by Randy Lange on November 12, 2011 – 9:01 am

T.J. Conley was the iron and Marquice Cole was the pin. And the two were the main components last Sunday at Buffalo in the Green & White punt team’s equivalent of a hole-in-one.

“It all came together,” Conley said of his drop punt “fair-caught” by Cole at the Bills 1-yard line early in the third quarter. “It’s all feel, trying to get that perfect distance on it. It’s something that you practice over and over again.”

“That was more so T.J. than me, him knowing how much power to put into the ball, how much loft,” said Cole. “I’ve been running down on punts for a couple of years. Steve was real good at it last year. But T.J., I believe, in game situations he’s settling down and he’s been kicking a lot better.”

Especially with his inside-the-20 opportunities. Both Conley and Cole credit practice and repetition for Conley’s 14 I-20 punts this season, two more than Steve Weatherford has for the Giants in the same number of kicks.

“Coach Westhoff, you know how he is,” Cole said. “He’s going to drill that to death.”

No doubt that helped Weatherford enjoy one of the best inside-the-20 seasons in NFL punting history for the Jets in 2010, in fact equaling the league record of 42 I-20s. Nineteen of those were inside-the-10s, seven were inside-the-5s and two were downed at the opponents’ 1.

One thing T.J. hadn’t done yet as Weatherford’s successor was to pin an opponent inside the 5, let alone at the 1. Until Buffalo.

The Jets, not capitalizing on Joe McKnight’s 59-yard return with the second-half kickoff, brought Conley on to punt from the Bills 37. Using the pointy-end-down drop punt that Australian punters Darren Bennett to Ben Graham have specialized in and most NFL punters have adopted, Conley hung his punt high (not sky-high; it would eventually be timed at 4.55 seconds).

Meanwhile, Cole as the Jets’ right flyer was singled up against Drayton Florence. Cole took off down the outside, beat Florence downfield and slipped inside at the 5.

That was only half the battle.

“Every punt returner in the NFL is ridiculously talented,” Cole said. “One guy [Arizona rookie Patrick Peterson] last week had a 99-yard return. You can’t just ran down there looking to down the ball. You’ve got to respect that guy as a returner.”

Except in this case, Bills returner C.J. Spiller was correctly drifting forward from the 5 to the 10, faking his own fair catch and hoping that Cole didn’t know where the ball was and giving the pigskin a chance to bounce untouched in or into the end zone for the touchback.

No such luck. Cole saw the ball over his shoulder, knew he’d have a shot, sidled near the goal line, turned around and caught the ball for the “ace.” It was only the Jets’ third punt downed at the 1 since 2006. Before Weatherford’s two in ’10, we have to go back to Graham’s heyday. He had four such punts as a Jet, including three in a four-game span in his first NFL season (when he was a 32-year-old rookie fresh from the AFL) in 2005.

The next trick: some fancy pitch-and-punt at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night against the Patriots.

“I love to kick there,” Conley said. “It’s got to be the best stadium in the NFL. The fans are amazing, the whole atmosphere is just great. And it still has that new-car smell. It’s pretty awesome.”

If Conley, Cole, Kyle Wilson and the rest of the cover team can awesomely hem in Pats returners Julian Edelman and Wes Welker, that could go a long way toward making the Jets the leaders in the clubhouse around midnight.

*Special Teams Saturday.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 26 Comments »

26 Responses to “STS*: How Conley, Cole Combined for an ‘Ace’”

  1. By wayne on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    GOT A FEELING COACHES CALM DEMEANOR WILL HAVE A CALMING AFFECT ON HIS QB…………Have we seen enough yet to know that a coach’s responsibilities go beyond wins and loses? Wins should not excuse any and everything……EVER……. BEHAVE LIKE A GROWN UP……Keep up the good work Rex.

  2. By bestjets on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    with the penn state lineage so prevalent to jet history when are you going to report on their situation

  3. By scjoe on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    At the half way point of the season an apology is in order for Folk (although there are still 8 games to go) but not for Conley who is currently 25th in the league in gross and 23rd in net. That is about what I expected pre season. Yes, he is 5th placing them inside the 20, but take a look at the three who are tied for 1st in that category, Fields, Jones, and Rocca, (Miami, STL, and Washington) so how relevant is that stat?

  4. By scjoe on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    Randy, can you tell me if Nick Toon (WR, Univ of Wisconsin) is the son of our very own Al Toon? Nick is a 6’3″ senior and although he don’t have eye catching stats he does have nice size.

  5. By Randy Lange on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    scjoe, yes, Wisconsin WR Nick Toon is Al Toon’s son.

  6. By Karan on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    Jets should do what the Patriots do, use they’re tight ends in the passing game more. I think along with Keller, we should break out Josh Baker and Shawn Nelson as other receiving tight ends just to confuse the patriots, and of course, gain some yardage. Lets go Jets, destroy the Patriots

  7. By joeyjets12fla on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    Hey JETSNATION just read alot of the comments from the previous blogs Thursday and forword we sound like a bunch of old woman with the bickering back and forth towards each other about broadway joe the old AFC players that never played for the JETS. I know, everyone has an oppinion, but we all have rectal cavities also.It’s Saturday and we all should be one united fan base at least till Sunday night. I’d say around 11:45 p.m. then have at it. Or if I get my wish we’ll be so happy we’ll all be hugging and kissing each other. I also hope we get 1 penalty for the noise. Do they still have that rule? GO JETS……

  8. By 38 year fan on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    I am ready for a dynasty to be TORN APART ,…limb from limb,…piece by piece . …So Slowly for four quarters …

  9. By 38 year fan on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    Let us enjoy this feast ,,,,

  10. By 38 year fan on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    The Jets are like sharks circling ,….and we smell blood ….

  11. By IRA on Nov 13, 2011 | Reply

    Nick Toon will be a mid first rd pick and the Jets have other needs but man would i love to see them draft him.
    ST’s give the Jets such an advantage every game and thats because we have one of the best if not all-time best ST’s coach in Westhoff.

  12. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 13, 2011 | Reply

    scjoe, Conley’s not exactly setting the world on fire but I don’t think switching kickers, punters, and holders so often is doing the team any good. If this policy has something to do with not wanting to pay for such players, the policy should be reviewed. It’s like when Cimini writes that the Jets “don’t like to pay” at the S position. I don’t know where he’s getting his info or what he means since he’s never said any more than that. But if not paying at S is the reason we have two of the worst starting cover S’s in the league, we better start digging a little deeper. And start drafting very high at that position.

  13. By cgb on Nov 13, 2011 | Reply

    I think the jets do not like to dish out the cash for older veterans that are on the team. thomas jones, ellis, d.woody,p. kendall,a. faneca. ,b. edwards,j. cotchery, just to name a few that i can think of right now. then we will take our chances on bringing in vets from other teams. I realize that some of these players on this list fall into the catagory of vets that we brought in, but sometimes with our rotating vets we lose some jet identity and sacrifice talent for a lower pay scale.

  14. By Jimmer on Nov 13, 2011 | Reply

    We’re gonna know tonight if we deserve a shot this year. If the TE’s can run wild like they have all year, we should start looking toward the draft for guys that can stop TE’s.
    Sorry, we simply haven’t stopped TE’s for years at this point. If they burn us tonight, they’ll burn us in the playoffs. Cro on Hernandez?

  15. By wayne on Nov 13, 2011 | Reply


  16. By GaryC on Nov 13, 2011 | Reply

    when do the jets stop believing Greene is Marshall Faulk, he is the new hands of stone, apologies to Roberto Duran.I told you the jets should have worn giants blue, the patriots upchuck at that sight.Jet Fan tom, I told you don’t be so presumtuos on Wilson,he looked pretty average in this game.

  17. By scjoe on Nov 13, 2011 | Reply

    Pathetic….Simply Pathetic! Biggest game to date and you don’t even show up.

  18. By sal on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    this is rock bottom, ryan challange all teams to beat the pats why cause he cant

  19. By Karan on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    Man, after the way the Jets played last week, I really thought we would beat the Patriots badly tonight. There was absolutely no passion, can someone else also step up as a leader other than L.T.? Got nothing against L.T., but we need more leaders. The whole team played horrible tonight, I just won’t blame the offense for not scoring enough points. Sanchez played bad, Schotty called a bad game as usual, offensive line played bad, 5 sacks allowed?? Are you kidding? Defense played bad, special teams played bad, bad team loss on all cylinders. We aren’t a good primetime team.I hope Jets and Patriots meet in the playoffs again like last year with the same playoff results.I know we’ll rebound but still a disappointing loss tonight,this one hurts

  20. By tommy ohio on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    need a QB !!!!!!!!!!!

  21. By GaryC on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    lets not forget to thank eli and the giants again, because without their win against the patriots we would now have to play three games better then them now instead of two.It looks like you can stick a fork in the jets before the turkey.

  22. By GaryC on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    there are so many better receivers then Nick Toon, he is nowhere near the talent that Al was,he will be lucky to be a first rounder.

  23. By Danny on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    What a Joke 2nite. I blame Rex most of all. As far as D you don’t beat Brady with 6dbs. Only way to beat him ispressure, You can have Deon and Revis out there but if Brady got time he will beat them. What a Joke 2nite Same old jets

  24. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    A really ugly game and one that shows that despite all the hype and wishful thinking, we’re not quite as good as we think we are. That goes double for a couple of players but not Sanchez, of course, he wins, he had 300 yds, he needs 3 or 4 more yrs to see the field, he’ll be better in the playoffs, right? Anyone who doesn’t yet see the importance of “starting fast on O” (a phrase that some on this site actually utter with contempt) had better try watching badminton instead of football. But I think the reason Rex seemed so subdued afterward is ’cause he knows that Collinsworth was right, we’re never gonna overtake a Brady-led NE with such a conservative O, much less with a conservative O that’s hit-or-miss on execution from week to week.

  25. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    GaryC, Wilson looked worse than average, he dropped a potential 60-some-yds pick six early on that coulda changed the tone of the game. Still, not too many 2nd-yr guys are gonna shut down a Brady-to-Branch 5 yd sideline TD pass in single coverage. Many of our younger guys didn’t look good tonight, McKnight’s fumbled punt was horrible but as Cimini points out, why wasn’t Kerley back there, he was hurt but returned. Smith and Leonhard dreadful on coverage as always but as usual we have a team that seems to think you can beat NE 9-6 and can’t score pts early, in large numbers, and when it counts against not just the better teams but against the worst passing D in the NFL. Spin that any way you want, Spice — oh wait, Sanchez threw for 300 yds!

  26. By Charliejet on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    I’m not a schotty fan – but don’t blame this on on him. Play calling goes so far – team needs to execute. Ya just gotta play right and want it more than the other team.
    This may have been more a trap game than you think…

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