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STS*: Fake Punts Are No Trickery, Just Execution

Posted by Randy Lange on October 20, 2012 – 12:14 pm

If the Jets execute a fake punt every other game, does it no longer qualify as a fake?

As special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff said this week in response: “I’d rather execute than trick. That’s me as a coach. I don’t think we really tricked anybody.”

But to be sure, the Jets have out-executed three opponents in the past four weeks. That’s 3-for-3 on Tim Tebow-triggered plays. The only other time in the last 30 years that the Jets have reeled off three fake punts for first downs  was in 2009, when they went 4-for-4. Add in fake field goals and the only time besides ’12 and ’09 that the Green & White went 3-for-3 was in 1987. (

“We have to execute. That’s what it comes down to,” said linebacker and “tight end” Nick Bellore. “But I think we’ve got a lot of confidence in what we’re doing right now.”

Bellore worked in tandem with Tebow to pull off the 23-yard jump-pass conversion on fourth-and-11 at the Colts 40 on Sunday. Who’d a’ thunk it that Nick, who’s picked off a few passes over his years in the game but doesn’t remember ever catching a pass, would have gotten wide-open, taken TT’s pass flawlessly, and then motored and leaped for 14 yards after the catch?

“YAC. That’s what they brought me here for,” Bellore said Friday.

Westhoff said there was never a doubt in his mind that No. 54 would get it done.

“Nick’s just athletic, and when we did it in practice, he caught it well,” Coach Westy said. “I think there was one time when we did it in practice that he didn’t report. Now our officials caught it and they were going to throw the flag, and then he was begging them — he knew I would kill him — he said, ‘Please don’t tell him, don’t tell him.’  So that did happen, but no, I have a lot of confidence in Nick.”

The confidence in the first two plays was of a different sort. Tebow kept for 5 yards on fourth-and-3 from the Jets 25 at Miami, then two weeks later he bulled ahead for 3 yards on fourth-and-1 from the Jets 24.

For both runs Tebow plowed off his left side with the short snap from Tanner Purdum, with the help of some strong blocking from Garrett McIntyre, Josh Mauga and Konrad Reuland. I’s all in a day’s work for Reuland, a tight end, but Mauga (since IR-ed) and Mac, they’re used to shedding blocks, not blocking sheds.

“It’s a little different,” McIntyre said, “but it’s pretty easy, just get off the ball as hard as you can and block the guy.”

Easy to say when it’s the Dolphins’ punt-block team, but the Texans smelled a rat and sent out their first defense to try to stop the potential primetime fake. The 255-pound McIntyre found himself going up against 284-pound starting DE Antonio Smith.

“It was crazy for a second, but there was a big bubble next to him and Tim found the bubble. He’s given me a little props for my blocks,” Mac said. “Running these fakes is great in the fact that we can help extend the drive. That’s an awesome feeling.”

Indeed, the Jets turned a three-and-out series into a 15-play field goal drive against the Dolphins, another three-and-out into a seven-play drive vs. Houston, and Bellore’s beautiful catch-and-run turned a six-play punt possession into an 11-play, 70-yard touchdown march vs. Indy.

Dare we say a drive-extending out-execution against the Patriots might be extremely helpful as the Jets compete up at Gillette Stadium with the Pats? OK, we dare not. And as Bellore reminded:

“Against New England, it’ll be tough. I’m not saying the other teams we ran our plays against weren’t tough, but we’re playing a lot  of really, really good special teams units this season.”

But then as Westhoff reminded reporters on Thursday, “I’d run more of ‘em than that if we could. We have them up all the time. Many times on fakes you catch someone totally unprepared. That really has not happened too much with us, especially after we’ve run them, because people now know and they’re going to gear up for it.

“But we still think we can do it.”

Malone’s Monster Game

Kudos to Malone for his five-punt, 52.0-yard gross, 48.0 net game vs. the Colts. The net is actually a franchise mark of sorts, equaling the best net in a game, minimum of four punts, by a Jet since 1976. Brian Hansen previously held that distinction alone with his five punts in the Astrodome against the Houston Oilers on Dec. 24,1994.

“Last week, his first punt we were disappointed in — he tried to muscle it,” Westhoff said of a ball that Malone told me was blown out of his hand a bit by the early Meadowlands gusts and still hopped out of bounds for a 50-yard gross and net. “After that I thought he was outstanding. He’s got a very strong leg, a powerful leg. I think he’s got a lot of future ahead of him. Now he’s got a lot of things to do to work out his technique, his drops, to get all those things consistent, but he’s worked at it very well.”

Westhoff is certain the Patriots will have Wes Welker returning punts Sunday, so if Malone’s got a bunch more of those 5.13-second hangtimes in that powerful leg (that’s my unofficial average for his last four punts of the day), it will help Ellis Lankster and ‘Zaiah Trufant to keep WW thinking fair catch and help the Jets in the all-important field position battle.

*Special Teams Saturday

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Posted in Randy Lange | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “STS*: Fake Punts Are No Trickery, Just Execution”

  1. By scjoe on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC,from previous post. I didn’t realize that you cornered the market on the 2012 draft. YOU wanted someone who could rush the passer? Well, that would put you and EVERY other Jet fan in the free world in compliance. Accept of course for me. Would that be correct? I guess I never said a RB, an “elite” RB like Trent Richardson would make more of an immediate impact on this club then any other player (in the 1st round) teams have gotten great pass rushers in round 2-7 in the past, I do believe. And tell me, where did you place RT on the long list of Jet needs going in to the 2012 draft? You wanted a WR? Well, how has that worked out so far? Everyone,EVERY year, mentions numerous players at draft time, how do you make a statement like that?

  2. By scjoe on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    I will go along with a fake punt, under the right set of circumstances. Not when we are down punting inside our own 20 of course. But what I would also like to see is a shift to the base offense after they go in to punt formation with Tebow shifting to QB. If it did nothing else at all, I guarantee it would force NE to use a TO. With some great planning (like if NE had no more TOs) it just may turn in to a big play.

  3. By By Jet Fan Since 1964 Frank on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    Fake punts are great. But passing yardage would even be greater. To beat NE Sunday, MS has got be accurate and we have to score TD’s in the air as well as on the ground. Is it possible the rest of the defense could keep from having a penalty in case AC makes an interecption and is able to repeat last weeks interception ratio, I feel that would be much better then fake punts especially since NE might be ready for it, I mean they do have a great coach that knows how to prepare. There is know question in my mind that NE can be beaten, but we need more then 86 yards passing from MS. Greene I hope you can break loose again. “LETS GO JETS”…

  4. By ron alexander on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    S.C.Joe, I was thinking the very same thing. One thing to keep in mind, before shifting to a conventional Q.B posisition we need to be sure they did not leave the reg. base defence in? Thats actually what the Colts did last week so I’m think’n mabey just do the fake punt if it looks like a favorable alignment?

  5. By Karan on Oct 20, 2012 | Reply

    Do not be surprised if the Patriots pull a fake punt of their own, they have tried it on us before and it didn’t work. I don’t believe the Jets will risk a fake punt in a game of this caliber.

  6. By SCfromNY on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe, I totally agree with finding pass rushers and for me RBs in later rounds. Unfortunately the combination of Tanny and our scouts do not usually find that “better than expected” player. It’s Sunday morning and I am hoping that the Colts game showed the team coming together rather than a poor opponent. Losing is losing but a great effort and close score will go a long way. The injuries so far IMO have been positive. The Jets are giving young players more time because they have to. Especially Revis. With him gone Rex has to develop a better D and I think that is working. ODD QUESTION: Does anyone like me hate the all white uniforms? I think they make the players look smaller. Dallas has a uniform that is designed to always be same.

  7. By GaryC on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    Scjoe,you kind of contradict your opinion,what is the sense of drafting an elite back if you think we need a lot of help at tackle,We know Hindsight is 20-20,but maybe for once Tanny was right and he thought Austin Howard can play right tackle which opened up some of those other draft priorities,I will agree come next year the jets will need to address the running back situation,I can hear it know,you wanting Marcus Lattimore and me preferring Montae Ball,One thing we can agree on,hoping the Baseball Giants make a comeback and seeing a Giants-Tigers world series.

  8. By GaryC on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    On the game today,spread the field,put pressure on the pats defense,what is the difference if you lose by one or fifty,and rex,please have your defense ready for the no huddle,have your players on the sideline waiting to go in,If I see another timeout because we don’t have the right package I will be screaming.

  9. By GaryC on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    ScfromNy,I was thinking the same thing about uniforms,I would prefer the green pants with the white tops,not that it means anything,It would be nice to go back to the Kelly Greens of the 60’s and 70’s also.

  10. By ron alexander on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    S.C.Joe & S.C.N.y, I am your views concerning drafting a R.B. Actually, There is no question Lattimore is gonna be the top ranked R.B but I’m not as sold on him as a lot of the so called experts. First of all he has already had a major knee(red flag) injury which resulted in him missing last season. Secondly, at 6-0 220 he has good size but is not a blazer. On the other hand there is a much more intrigueing prospect I do like a lot more. Leveon Bell,(Mich. St). he is 6-2 244 and has great speed and athletic ability. If you google him you can see some amazing runs including one in which he hurdles a L.B in full stride.He is a Jr. and is currently ranked 3rd behind Lattimore -

  11. By ron alexander on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    cont.- and Eddie Lacey 5-10, 220 (Alabama) Lacy is not as highly regarded as the last two Bama R.B’s but is a late 1st early 2nd at this time. As for M.Ball he is looking like a mid 3rd rounder at this point as he is good at most things but not great at anything.Now if we take a Q.B in the 1st rd. and a tackle in rd.2 I would be thrilled to get Ball in rd.3. Back to Mich.St, although they are not a great team this year they have 3 studs. In addition to L.Bell they have William(no relation)Gholston a 6-7 285 ld monster D.E,and Deon Sims a 6-5 285 who is the whole package at T.E. The guy can block,catch and has 4.6 speed.

  12. By scjoe on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, I never said we needed A LOT of help at tackle back then, just a right tackle, and no one can tell me Tanenbaum knew what he had in Howard back in April, no way! That was nothing more then a stroke of luck (so far) As for elite RBs actually needing “great” tackles to be successful? That is debatable. RBs, unlike most skill position players, don’t run the play exactly the way it was drawn up every time, I would say that is true most times. Give me an elite RB with an average O line any time.

  13. By scjoe on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    Ron, although I don’t put as much stock in college competition as GaryC does, I will say this, Le’von Bell has more then 500 of his 900 yards rushing against Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, and Boise State. Not very impressive. As for DEs Ron, keep an eye on Cornellius Carradine (Fl. State) he may be undersized for a 3-4 DE at 6’5″ 265, but if the Jets do decide to go to a 4-3 he would be a nice option.

  14. By GaryC on Oct 21, 2012 | Reply

    To all who continue to knock the young jet draft picks,give up the ghosts of Plastico and others who were way past their primes,Names mean squat.

  15. By ron alexander on Oct 22, 2012 | Reply

    S.C.Joe, I hear you about the competition but I’m telling you this kid is the real deal!
    Athletically speaking hi is the complete opposite of Shonn Greene. He will take on a tackler if he needs to but he has great speed can elude a tackler and can catch the ball as well.I would love to see him continue wearing Green & white as a N.Y.Jet! Now I wont be broken hearted if we wind up with Lattimore,Lacey or M.Ball as long as we get help in other areas as well.

  16. By Byrdman on Oct 22, 2012 | Reply

    Historically teams that draft the big stud RB in the first round don’t succeed over the long run. RB’s in the NFL are like tires on your car – they get worn down and before you know it – they need to be replaced. Great teams draft Defense first and tend to FIND decent runners all over the place once their O-line is solidified. Can you guys imagine if Rex had drafted a top shelf Guard or Tackle every year since 2009? Remember, he inherited Mangold and Brick from Mangini, actually you could make the case that the O-line has deteriorated under Rex. who is building his O line from the scrap heap. Le’veon Bell runs like a beast against MAC teams, then disappears in Big Ten games.

  17. By ron alexander on Oct 23, 2012 | Reply

    Byrdman, you make a well thought out point about drafting a R.B in the 1st. Rd. I do agree with you.. My point was the 2 S.C boys were going back & forth on Lattimore vs. M.Ball, and being kind of a draft-nut I threw my 2 cents in. Thats all! However, I have watched Bell run for 2 years now and I cant agree with you about him not running hard against big ten teams. The tesults might not be there as Mich.St. is frequently overmatched on the line of scrimmage.As a jet fan you should know about that. Look how well S.Greene ran vs. Indy when the O.line blocked well. More important than the R.B is the O.L drafting posisition. While we may need a upgrade at R.T I am not in favor of drafting one in the 1st. rd. Like R.B’s you can find a R.T later

  18. By Byrdman on Oct 23, 2012 | Reply

    Ron – I’m not sold on Bell yet, not sure he’s what the Jets need, but the MSU line is banged up this year and they are struggling with a first year starter QB. Guess my point was more – plug in a couple elite run blocking guards up front, build a Brutal O-line and the backs we’ve got might look like thoroughbreds. Moore is adequate on runs but sub-par pass protection. Slauson is mediocre at best. What were the Jets thinking when Ray Rice was drafted, local kid (Rutgers) game-breaker right out of the box, dangerous in the backfield, at wideout, on screens, durable and smart. That’s the type of back we need :D Anyone like Rice coming out next year?

  19. By ron alexander on Oct 24, 2012 | Reply

    BYRDMAN, I come to this site because there are a lot of really good, knowlegeable
    posters here. You are clearly one of them. I enjoy a good debate with people who back up there points with facts. You have my attention! I really havn’t gotten to the point of compiling any firm lists yet as I generally prefer to wait until the bowl game are over to get serious.However, if we are looking for say a 3rd round guy with similar talent to Ray Rice I would go with Montee Ball of Wisconsin. He’s not quire a asfast as Rice but hits the hole quickly, shows great change of direction 7 can catch the ball out of the backfield.At 220 lbs he should be able to pick up blitzing L.B’ers If we go R.B in Rd.1 I would go with Bell until I see someone better?

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