Mike Westoff turns to the tape for answers

November, 10, 2012
11/10/12
5:51
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Mike Westhoff was more frustrated after the loss in Miami than he’d ever been. The special teams coordinator had just watched the Dolphins return a blocked punt for a touchdown, block a field goal and gash the Jets on kickoff returns. So, on the eve of a bye week, Westhoff returned to the team’s Florham Park headquarters and sat down to watch fresh film Sunday night.

“I stayed here a long time and graded everything,” Westhoff said.

Coach Rex Ryan came in and caught him that night watching the tape.

“I remember coming in after the game and there’s (Coach) Westhoff and you know it’s going to get fixed,” Ryan said. “He’s a guy that, he’s never had a game like that in his life. We did give up two returns to Miami for a touchdown but not like this. Not a blocked punt, a blocked field goal, a big return, an onside kick. For his career, he might’ve been lower about this game than he was in the 30 years he’s coached in this league.”

Westhoff agreed.

"As frustrated as I've ever been in my entire career," Westhoff said.

Westhoff plans to retire at the end of this season, and that’s not how he wants to go out. One of his favorite special teams players, safety Eric Smith, didn’t play against Miami but saw the effect the dismal performance had on Westhoff when the team got back in this Monday.

“I think it was frustrating for him,” Smith said. “Being Miami it’s a big rivalry. They always have good special teams so he takes pride in beating them. I think him coaching there before has a little something to do with it. That was the worst game he said he’s been a part of.”

Westhoff will have Smith back on the roster this week in Seattle, which should help. Smith has been described as the leader on special teams. Westhoff described what it will be like to have Smith back.

“It means like it would quit snowing,” Westhoff said. “There would be a lot of happy people. Eric plays roles that only a handful of people can do for us.”

This week Westhoff will face Leon Washington, who he once praised as a special kick returner. Now Washington will be on the other side of the field, but Westhoff is happy to see Washington back after a serious compound leg fracture suffered in a Jets game.

“He looks pretty good to me,” Westhoff said. “He looks very solid. I have a lot of respect and I think he’s a darn good football player.”
Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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