There’s been so much talk about the Colts resting their starters down the stretch of the last meeting between the two teams, but Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff isn’t buying it when it comes to his area of the game.
“I don’t know who they rested the last time we played them, but when we ran that kickoff 106 they had their regular guys out,” Westhoff said of the 106-yard touchdown return by Brad Smith. “There wasn’t anybody sitting on the bench. They’re going to have to face us. That’s how we look at it.”
It’s rare for a player to have a 106-yard return because kicks that go that far usually result in a touchback. But Westhoff said Smith made the right decision that time because the kick was a little bit of a line drive.
“If it drives him back then he won’t come out,” Westhoff said. “But if it’s a little bit of a line drive and he catches it … He always has the green light. Always. Always.”
Westhoff noted that Smith had the highest kickoff return average in the NFL (31.0) although he didn’t have enough to qualify for the league leaders. And he said part of it is because the Jets believe they will return every kickoff no matter how deep it goes.
“I think the best block (against the Chargers) was on the opening kickoff return, and it was a touchback,” Westhoff said. “James Ihedigbo, he killed his guy. A good, hard football shot. He knocked him in the bleachers. Because we think we’re running every one out. If it drives us back we won’t. We know this guy kicks them pretty deep, but we don’t care. If he puts us back and gets good hangtime we’ll take the touchback. But if not, we’re coming out."