Mike Westhoff says the Jets' handling of Tim Tebow was 'an absolute mess' and 'distraction'
BY Manish Mehta
Rex Ryan and Woody Johnson may have danced around the Tim Tebow debacle at a press conference earlier in the week, but retiring special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff left little doubt that the Jets fumbled the entire situation.
"It was a mess,” Westhoff told the Joe Rose Show on 560-AM WQAM in South Florida on Friday morning. “It was an absolute mess. You can say it however else you want it: It was really a mess. I was very very disappointed.”
Westhoff seemed as puzzled as anyone as to why the Jets even traded for Tebow when it became obvious that he wasn’t going to be a part of the team’s plans this season.
“To be honest, I don’t think anybody has really answered that question: Why did we do it?” Westhoff said. “I honestly don’t know. I know we didn’t practice it. We didn’t practice it in training camp. We were going to unveil it. Well, I’m still waiting for the unveiling. And it didn’t happen.”
“It’s very disappointing,” Westhoff added. “But again, if you just say this is a quintessential NFL drop back quarterback, no he’s not. He’s just not. But if you use him in a lot of different facets, in my opinion, I think he’s outstanding. If you do that. But we didn’t do it. And it was a distraction… and really a shame. Because that’s a hard working young man if you ever saw one. Believe me.”
Westhoff said that the original plan was to use Tebow on special teams “one percent” of the time, but injuries to key special teamers like Eric Smith prompted the coach to play Tebow more often. He was the personal punt protector for more than half the season.
Jaguars GM David Caldwell said on Thursday that Tebow won’t be a Jaguar in 2013 even if the Jets released him. The Daily News reported last month that Tebow would request a trade or release after the season.
A mutual parting of the way appears likely even though Ryan and Johnson said that they wouldn’t discuss it until a new offensive coordinator was hired.
“There are things that Tim Tebow, as an NFL quarterback… he’s very limited in some things,” Westhoff said. “If you throw him right in the middle of a drop-back passing offense, he will look very very average at best. But if you incorporate him in different facets of your offense, I think he can be a factor. That’s what I felt we were going to do, but we never did it. We would put him in for a play. I was expecting to see him line up as a … really, to tell you the truth… a couple roles. I’ll give you example… An H-back. A tight end … And then he’s lined up at quarterback. That’s what I was expecting to see. And we didn’t do it.”
“My role with him was really only to be like 1 percent,” Westhoff added. “That’s all I was thinking. Then when Eric Smith got hurt, I had to use him full time. I didn’t have anyone. I was stuck. I lost two guys. …. Most of the stuff he did for me, he did outstanding. But it was supposed to only be a fraction and it ended up being his only role.”
Mike Westhoff, the brash, opinionated former special teams coordinator with the Jets, said the team's usage of Tim Tebow was an "absolute mess" in 2012.
Speaking on WQAM this morning, Westhoff, who plans to have a second career as a television analyst, became the first coach to speak openly about how disjointed the team's plans were regarding Tebow.
"It was a mess, it was an absolute mess. You can say whatever you want but I was very, very disappointed."
He added: "There are things with Tim Tebow as an NFL quarterback -- he's very limited in some things. If you throw him right in the middle of a drop back passing offense he will look very, very average at best, but if you incorporate him into different facets of your offense, I think he can be a factor. That's what I felt like we were going to do."
Westhoff said he expected Tebow to be used in a variety of different roles but said that the Jets never even practiced such wrinkles in the offense, even during the supposed "secret" Cortland practices.
"That was very disappointing the way it came out," Westhoff said. "I don't think anyone has ever answered that question. Why didn't we do it? I know we didn't practice it. We didn't practice it in training camp. We were going to unveil it. Well, I'm still waiting for the unveiling.
"It was a distraction and really a shame because that's a hard-working young man."
Westhoff's criticism of the team went down the line this morning and didn't spare anyone.
On the cap situation, an implication of former GM Mike Tannenbaum: "Well when you're paying a handful of guys 40 percent of your salary cap, what the hell are you going to do with the rest of them?"
On Mark Sanchez: "I believe Mark was a manageable quarterback on a good football team," Westhoff said. "We had a good defense, I had a good group on teams, we ran the ball well, we had a handful of receivers who could make big plays and Mark was thrown into those ingredients...
"Then all of a sudden the burden was thrust on Mark and that's just too much for him in my opinion. I think a whole offense needs to be designed around Mark. You can say that it was, but there are some things he just doesn't do as well...plus you still need a very good running game and special teams to complement him. And we lost that, we all lost that."
On Mike Pettine and the Jets defense: "Part of our defense, and against certain people, there were some weaknesses and people know that. On our kicking team, we led the league in tackles inside the 20, so people started back in the hole most of the time.
"But what would happen, when our defense played the long field, they were a little suspect in the middle and people drove the ball up to midfield on us. On a shorter field, our defense, because of our really good corner play, constricted and played really well and hold people. But then they would punt us and Mark Sanchez would start on the 10-yard line.' There's plenty of blame to go around."
Board Moderator Jets Insider VIP Charter JI Member
Can't kill Westy for this. He's been around the NFL a long time, he's seen it all, he has a ton of credibility. Frankly, I trust his opinions more so than I do Rex and Woody.
And what he said isn't exactly surprising. It's what we've been saying all year long.
Guys that I can't stand, though, are clowns like Jenkins and Damien Woody and LT, who weren't with the Jets very long but pretend to be the final authorities. They are just looking to increase their own brand.
Love Westy. Love him even more for being honest and unafraid to voice these opinions. And he's exactly right. I really liked what he said about our defense. They talk too much and act like they are the tits. Really they just suck.