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Steve Weatherford sugarcoats Jet coach's comments

Jets punter Steve Weatherford packs his bags in

Jets punter Steve Weatherford packs his bags in the locker room the day after the team lost the AFC Championship game to the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Jan. 24, 2011) Photo Credit: Joe Epstein

Plaxico Burress wasn't the only Jet to criticize the Giants in print on Friday. Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff got into the act with some pointed barbs directed at Giants punter Steve Weatherford, who wore green the previous two seasons.

Westhoff specifically said he was "disappointed" with a 12-yard Weatherford punt in a divisional playoff game last season at New England, and he was unhappy with the punter's 42.6-yard average, which ranked 23rd in the NFL.

Explaining the change from Weatherford to T.J. Conley, Westhoff said, "I was very happy in Steve with some things he did and very, very disappointed in others. To tell you the truth, I don't want to be 23rd. We're not 23rd in anything else. I am trying to get better, so that's why we made the move."

If Weatherford was stung by the criticism, he hid it with his determination to avoid involvement in any exchange with his former coach, bending over backwards to lavish praise on the veteran special teams coach. "Coach Westhoff is a legendary coach, and I'm just very blessed to get the opportunity to have played for him for two years," Weatherford said. "He's done it for 28 years, so, obviously, he knows what he's doing. He's always ranked very high in the NFL. I have nothing but respect for him."

Westhoff did make note of the fact that Weatherford tied a league record with 42 punts inside the 20-yard line, a stat that would have cut down Weatherford's average distance while creating poor field position for Jets' opponents, a good thing.

Asked about the disconnect in Westhoff's logic, Weatherford said, "Mike's a very good coach. He does a great job of putting his guys into position to be successful, and I look forward to competing against him as a New York Giant. I'm looking forward to the game on Christmas Eve."


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