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Thursday, December 19, 2013
Special-teams coach regrets blocked punt

By Rich Cimini

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jets special-teams coordinator Ben Kotwica said he used the unconventional, three-gunner look "a handful" of times before last Sunday's disaster against the Carolina Panthers. On Sunday, it was one time too many.

"Hindsight is 20/20," Kotwica said Thursday,  commenting for the first time on Jason Williams' game-changing blocked punt. "Obviously, anytime you have a critical mistake like that, you regret that action. We were being aggressive. We wanted to get a guy out in coverage. That's what we had done earlier in the game, successfully. I felt confident in our guys."

Traditionally, two gunners are used by the punt-coverage team. The Jets used three because they wanted more speed on the field to contain the explosive Ted Ginn, leaving themselves vulnerable on the line. It worked fine on the first two punts to Ginn. Instead of changing it up, Kotwica stayed with it. The Panthers adjusted, leading to the blocked punt.

"We didn't protect it correctly," he said. "I take responsibility for that. I've got to do a better job of training that unit."

Kotwica bristled when asked it there was a technique breakdown.

"It was a unit breakdown on that particular play," he said. "We were all accountable and I am accountable for it. We've got it fixed."