Guys that often get overlooked are the coordinators. We don’t hear from them very often, so when we do, they are always ready with some interesting tidbits.
Ben Kotwica is in his first year as the Jets’ special teams coordinator, after taking over for a retired Mike Westhoff. Who was on his lips at his press conference yesterday? Everybody’s favorite UDFA, Ryan Spadola:
I think that was an element of it. He did an excellent job during the training camp, specifically in his blocking roles. You look at the qualities out of that fifth wide receiver spot or fourth wide receiver spot or a guy that’s going to make the roster and he had the opportunity to cover some kicks in the preseason. But, what I really highlighted with him was in the punt return game and kick return game, as far as his blocking skills. And there’s a carry over there. Obviously as a wide receiver who stalk blocks and has got to be able to block on the perimeter. I would say that yeah, that contributed to him making it and he’s done a nice job for us.
Special teams play is always a big key for any rookie making a team. It’s clear that this was true for Spadola as well. The kid worked so hard in all aspects of the game, no wonder he made the team.
Here are Ben’s thoughts on Robert Malone:
Rob’s been here now, going into his second year and he’s striking the ball as well as I’ve seen him. I attribute (that to) Louie Aguiar who came in to help me out. Louie, being a former punter, (has) really helped harnesses his technique. He’s a big legged guy. He’s done a tremendous job. He’s also done a great job, especially in practice. We didn’t have a lot of opportunities in the preseason, but in his pooch punting part of the game, getting the ball down inside the 10. And field position is going to be huge, especially for us this year. He’s done a great job. He won the competition and I’m looking forward to seeing him this year.
Ben Kotwica’s crew is ready to go. So are we.