Jets’ Westhoff denies involvement in big trip

The Sal Alosi tripping incident hasn’t gone away, and if anything, has only sparked more conversation about the tactics used on the Jets’ sideline and sidelines around the NFL.

It’s been suggested by some that the Jets instructed/coached the team’s inactive players to form a wall close to the sideline in order to discourage the opposing team’s gunners from running out of bounds, and to disrupt them when they do.

Jets coach Rex Ryan flatly denied making any such instruction during his Monday press conference, and longtime special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff denied involvement in a statement released by the team on Tuesday.

“Number one, I did not instruct anyone,” Westhoff said. “Number two, I was not aware. With all of the people on the sidelines, it would be inconsequential and I would not be involved in any way, shape or form.”

A fine line exists here, and NFL Network’s Fran Charles brought up a good point in saying that some things that used to be called “gamesmanship” in the NFL are now called “cheating.” A valid point. And the NFL is focusing on player safety, saying it has no plan to investigate whether the tactic is coached.

“If it is something that has been [coached], then basically what you’re trying to do, it’s like a rub in the passing game,” Daryl Johnston said. “You can see the way they’re lined up; they’re shoulder-to-shoulder, hands in pockets. They’re trying to force Nolan Carroll, in that situation, to bubble around, to impede his progress in some way. Not to trip him. At that point it’s a momentary lapse of reason by a coach. No place in the game for it.”

For what it’s worth, I know of one former NFL coach who has heard of teams using this tactic, while a former longtime veteran of the league who played more than 10 seasons said none of the coaches he played for coached their teams to do so.

Maybe the truth is in both.

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