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Westhoff tries to divert attention from Jets' issues

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  December 15, 2010 03:35 PM

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Chalk this up to throwing something on the wall just to see if it sticks:

Jets' special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff told a Chicago radio station today that the Patriots line their players up right along the sideline during punt returns, the way now-disgraced New York strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi instructed Jets players to do last week against the Dolphins.

As we all know, Alosi stuck his knee out and tripped Miami special-teamer Nolan Carroll; initially the team suspended him for the rest of the season, but with today's revelation that he told the players to line up that way, he's been suspended indefinitely.

But back to Westhoff.

Appearing on ESPN 1000 in the Windy City, he at first implied that the Patriots also form a sideline wall, then flat-out accused them, in a confusing sort of way.

"A number of teams do it,” Westhoff said. “There is a pretty good team up north that lines their whole defense up when they do it, so it’s something that just kind of happened.”

Asked if Westhoff was accusing the Patriots of impeding players on punt coverage, he said, "Well, if you watch them, their defense when the opponents’ punt team is out there, they’re up there pretty close to the line so it looks like they are trying to do it. Now are they doing anything illegal? Are they tripping anybody? Heck no. I’m not saying that. That’s not the point. But, yeah, they’re lined up there. Is it making a difference? I don’t know. I really don’t know, because to tell you the truth, before this happened I never really looked at anybody’s sideline in all my years."

If the Patriots are doing what Westhoff said, it isn't illegal anyway because as long as they aren't ON the sideline but are right up against it, they're not on the field of play. Alosi instructing Jets players to line up against the sideline wasn't illegal - what was illegal (and stupid) was sticking out his knee to trip Carroll.

But according to Westhoff, he doesn't look at other team's sideline anyway, so how would he know?

And, Rex Ryan's team is officially out of control.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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