Special teams coach is one of those jobs where the term "one of the best in NFL" is overused. A lot like offensive line coach... Every week you hear announcer call some special teams coach "one of the best in the NFL." However, this weekend, it really will be true. Mike Westoff of the Jets has been in charge of the Jets special teams for the past decade and has routinely seen his unit ranked among the league's best.
Bobby April, who himself has been referred to as "one of the best in the NFL" was asked this week what about Westoff"s scheme makes them so successful?
"You know, I don't think...because like you said the scheme is there for all to be seen, it's just really well executed. And I'm not sure what he does because I've never had the chance to watch their practices or do it. But going back for years, now I don't know if they put a tremendous investment in it time-wise I don't know, I just know they really execute it well and it's a big challenge for us. And you know, our kickoff coverage team has done well. I mean, starting point-wise, we have the best starting point in the league on kickoff coverage and on kickoff return they have the best starting point. So you know, we're not going to go in there looking to get a tie, I mean we're going to go in there looking to get the win. But yeah, it's a tremendous challenge, no doubt."
While the Jets have a very good special teams, the Eagles are no slouches, particularly in the coverage department. The Eagles have the #1 ranked kickoff coverage team in the NFL. April credits rookie Alex Henery as a big part of that.
"You know, Alex has kicked better than a lot of people think. There's a perception that he doesn't have a strong leg [and] I'm not sure [why]. I think it's because he didn't kick off in college, you already have it in your head that he can't kickoff. But I think he's already shown that he can, and then we've had a lot of guys make some tremendous plays on their instinct and talent and their tenacity. We have a lot of inside-the-20 tackles and guys have gone down there and some individual efforts have made some nice plays, some really nice plays. So I think the player's instincts and his ability to kick, maybe a little better than expected, because we really didn't know."