Friday, October 8, 2010
Bonamego firing bothers Westhoff
By Tim Graham
From one special teams coach to another, Mike Westhoff sent his regards to John Bonamego.
The Miami Dolphins fired Bonamego on Tuesday morning. Westhoff, the New York Jets' coordinator, said he reached out to let him know others were thinking of him.
"I'm the guy to do it," said Westhoff, who's in his 28th NFL season. "I've been around the longest. I think I know enough that I can talk from experience on both sides of it, from having good days and bad days. ... I know one thing. I know he appreciated it when we talked."
Brandon Fields' blocked punt was just one of three special teams disasters that plagued the Miami Dolphins on Monday.
The Dolphins fired Bonamego hours after the New England Patriots annihilated them 41-14. The Patriots scored 21 points off special teams gaffes: a 103-yard kickoff return, a blocked punt and a blocked field goal.
Westhoff called a play that helped the Jets block a Dolphins punt the week before. As a result, the Dolphins cut linebacker Erik Walden supposedly for not picking up Jets safety Eric Smith on that punt block.
"I helped it happen," Westhoff said of the Bonamego's dismissal, "but it's happened to everybody."
Westhoff coached for the Dolphins from 1986 to 2000. His tenure ended when Dave Wannstedt fired him.
Westhoff said he was disappointed in the Dolphins' decision and sounded bothered Bonamego took the fall alone, with no players getting released, too.
One Dolphins player was at fault for two of the three special teams implosions, Westhoff claimed.
"It's interesting that there was one particular guy that was involved in two of those major breakdowns," Westhoff said. "Frankly, I don't think he could play. I don't want the guy either."
Who could this player be?
"I'm not going to tell you," Westhoff said. "That wouldn't be fair, but there was a common denominator."
Let's try to figure it out.
We can eliminate the blocked field goal as a play Westhoff was referring to for two reasons: 1) It was pretty obvious left wing Lydon Murtha simply let Patriots safety Pat Chung blow right past him; 2) nobody on the field-goal unit was on for punt protection or kickoff coverage.
We can eliminate Dobbins and Culver from the discussion because they lined up on the right side for the punt, and Chung's block came through the left. Carpenter was the left tackle. Hilliard was the left wing. Cobbs was the personal protector.
On Brandon Tate's 103-yard kickoff return up the sideline, when he "broke around the edge, he had two unblocked guys," Westhoff said. "Make the tackle."
Carpenter was the first to miss. Nolan Carroll appears to be the other unblocked pursuer Westhoff referred to, and he's not on the other units.
Carpenter, a backup linebacker, was the first-round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys in 2006, when Dolphins consultant Bill Parcells and general manager Jeff Ireland were there.
"If they had included some personnel with [Bonamego's dismissal], I might have not felt so bad," Westhoff said. "That bothers me. I know the guy worked hard. It's their business. It's not mine. They have the right to decide their own. I respect that, but I'm disappointed when those things happen."