Mike Westhoff on Jets: 'It was an absolute mess'
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Mike Westhoff, like many who watched the Jets this season, still isn't sure why the Jets traded for Tim Tebow and then hardly used him.
During a daylong media tour -- which began Friday morning on South Florida's WQAM radio, continued with WFAN and ESPN New York radio, and concluded on SNY TV -- the former Jets special-teams coordinator detailed the many ways in which the Jets came up short.
Especially when it came to their use of Tebow.
"It was a mess. It was an absolute mess," the recently retired Westhoff said on WQAM.
Though he toned down his message when he hit the New York airwaves later in the day, Westhoff's overarching point was the same: The Jets never used Tebow as publicized.
Westhoff, who hasn't been shy about his TV analyst aspirations, offered particularly blunt assessments of the overhyped Tebow package during his morning interview.
"I don't think anyone's ever really answered that question: 'Why didn't we do it?' " he 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."
Westhoff said he expected Tebow to be used as an H-back, tight end and occasional Wildcat quarterback, adding that Tebow's special-teams assignments were supposed to be about "1 percent" of his role. But Westhoff said he was forced to use Tebow full-time after safety Eric Smith suffered knee and hip injuries.
Westhoff, a Tebow supporter, said he can be "outstanding" in a myriad of roles. "But we didn't do it," he said. "And it was a distraction and it's really a shame, cause that's a hard-working young man."
Westhoff said the situation took a toll on Tebow, who completed only six passes for 39 yards and rushed 32 times for 102 yards in 12 games.
"It was a shame to see when you saw a demeanor change -- you saw that swagger come out of him a little bit, and that was very disheartening to see that," he said of Tebow, who is expected to be traded or released this offseason. "I would just encourage him to keep his head up and that his opportunity would come, and a few things like that."
The Jets, through their spokesman, did not issue a response to Westhoff's comments.
As Westhoff made the media rounds, however, he downplayed the supposed distraction of Tebowmania. "There were a lot of things that were a mess," he said on ESPN radio. "We're all frustrated and disappointed.''
He also tempered his assessment of Tebow's ability as a quarterback. While on WFAN with Mike Francesa, Westhoff said he wasn't "as confident" in Tebow's skills as he would be with a traditional quarterback. But when asked a few hours later on SNY if he thinks Tebow can be an NFL quarterback, Westhoff said yes.
"I think there's a certain fashion that he fits into better than others," he said. "The Redskins created that Pistol offense with RG3. I think Tim Tebow is more along those lines."
During his interviews, Westhoff expressed confidence in coach Rex Ryan, highlighting Ryan's unparalleled "passion and belief in the New York Jets.'' Westhoff also called his special-teams replacement, Ben Kotwica, "brilliant."
ESPN's Chris Mortensen said Friday on Boston radio that Tebow's acquisition would have been a dealbreaker for new Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell. He chose to go to Jacksonville over the Jets and, in his introductory news conference, said, "I can't imagine a scenario where he would be a Jacksonville Jaguar.''