I agree with former Dolphin linebacker Zack Thomas when he said that a wall was provided and ordered up from either special teams coach Mike Westhoff or Rex Ryan on a punt return against the Miami Dolphins.
In the Jets game against the Dolphins which everybody has seen, Strength and Conditioning Coach Sal Alosi stuck a knee out and tripped the ‘Fins cover man. I don’t even need to consult Jesse Ventura on this one.
You’ve got four bareheads (non-active players) standing side-by-side, foot to foot like birds on a telephone wire along the outside corridor out of bounds, which the Gunner would use in a double-press situation (2 jammers working over the lone gunner).
Further proof exists in tape that shows that the same contingent of bareheads were positioned in the same place on the Dolphin punt previous to the bone-head play.
I have spent 30 of my 52 years somewhere on sidelines at all levels of high school, college and pro football. Most (21) in the NFL.
Nowhere anywhere have i seen guys hanging out like that. Players are uniformly unformly in where they stand, when they stand and how they stand during the course of a game. They don’t even line up that uniformly for the National Anthem.
And players respect the field action and scatter when somebody comes close to them.
Alosi was suspended and fined. Not fired? Why? Hmmm….could it be to keep this in-house and quiet? Sounds plausible to me.
The nail in the coffin as far as i’m concerned is that orders from a coach to do this would explain Alosi’s reaction. Why he stuck a knee out instead of just standing there.
Because for a brief moment in his life, he was actually part of the football dynamics occurring on the field in an NFL game and therefore “one of the guys”and not just a sideline shlub. Think about it, this guy has been on the sidelines for numerous games at all levels i’m guessing, and suddenly he has a brain fart and sticks a knee out to trip a player? C’mon, that borders on the absurd.
Just one man’s opinion here, but i’m guessing it goes like this. Somebody scouts the Dolphs and says the gunner uses the out of bounds corridor in double-press punt cover. So we need guys to stand along the sidelines and take away the out of bounds so the press guys can work the gunner over. Because players stand uniformly unformly, it would be too conspicuous for the schemer to have hats-on dudes (players) do this. Plus, the potential for a knee-to-knee hit exists and therefore injury. Ipso-facto, recruit bareheads to line up.
But the wall becomes a problem when Alosi can’t contain himself and takes it one step further by actually initiating the action and tripping the cover man. Notice Alosi was the first man in the wall alignment. The one with the best chance to do something. Notice too how far Alosi had to stick the knee out. Because in his mind, he was part of the Jets punt return scheme, however small. Also look carefully as the camera pans down the sidelines. There is not even two other players anywhere that you can see standing that close to each other and lined up like duck pins in a bowling alley.
Which also leads me to believe that this might not have been the first time the wall has been in play in Jets games. Maybe the first few times you do it you just stand there. But maybe after a number of times being a statue participant, you kind’a get it in your gourd to take it one step further, you get the itch to actually become a participant.
Be one of the boys….