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Sunday, January 9, 2011
Debating Jim Caldwell's crucial timeout

By Paul Kuharsky

The timeout debate lingers.

With 29 seconds left, Jim Caldwell used the Colts’ final timeout with the Jets at the Indianapolis 32-yard line. There is much debate about what the Jets were going to do from there. If they were content to run it again to try to set up Nick Folk for a long field goal and use their final timeout, then Caldwell’s call was questionable at best.

To hear Gregg Doyle tell it, that’s what would have happened. But the Colts timeout provided the Jets with bonus time to sort out a play, and that play -- an 18-yard Mark Sanchez to Braylon Edwards pass up the right side that beat Jacob Lacey -- lowered the possibility of a Folk miss.

My immediate reaction was “What are they doing?” Postgame, Caldwell talked of forcing the Jets to snap the ball as many times as possible, as each snap created a possibility for something bad to happen. But it seemed he bunched field-goal range into one big category rather that judging a more difficult attempt against the potential for an easier one.

He certainly didn’t know the Jets’ plan at that point.

It’s a pressure situation for the New York offense with a kicker who hardly had a sterling season from long-distance. I don’t sign off on a timeout that creates even the possibility for any additional opportunity for the Jets. Don't give them discussion time.

What’s more likely, a fumble, a pick, or a sack?  Or some gain that raises the percentages for Folk, or a Folk miss from long-range?

I say the Folk scenarios, so I let the Jets handle the clock there and take my chances. Maybe Caldwell thinks everyone’s got an Adam Vinatieri.

Sunday, the coach defended himself further.
Here’s his exchange with the Indianapolis press:

On if he regrets calling the timeout on the Jets’ last drive:

“No. You can look at it a number of different ways. One of the things, I guess it was when (WR-Santonio) Holmes caught that pass, they were in field goal range at that point in time. You make a determination on what you want to do. We try to do a decent job at taking a look at the field goal kicker and see how they are doing in warm-ups, what is their range, all those types of things. We don’t only do our own, but we do the opposition as well. We take a good look at that. It’s probably not much different than the week before. They were in field goal range, use your timeouts, make them take another snap. In some cases, they will run it. If they do, then obviously they’ll run the clock down and they’ll take a stab at it from there. In other cases, they’ll throw it and that gives us some other opportunities, a sack, tackling them out of field goal range, sack-fumble, interception, tipped ball, a lot of things can happen in that situation. That is what our thinking was in that situation. They were able to make a play and it gave them a little bit shorter field goal.”

On if he thought the Jets would run the ball again following the time out.

“That’s typically what you see, but there are no guarantees. You have to live with either result. You have to make a play or they will make a play in that situation.”

On if he thought the Jets were prepared to settle for a 50-yard field goal on their last possession:

“You don’t know what they are thinking. That would be very, very easy if you knew exactly what they are thinking. You’ve got to weigh both options, ‘Okay, maybe they are just trying to set it up. The next one is going to be a run into the middle of the field.’ But you don’t know. You also know that a team can pass. That’s why the defense we called, we were anticipating that it would be a pass, get up and press, don’t let them throw a little hitch on the outside, that kind of thing. They made a play and so be it.”