Weatherford fake punt an interesting decision

By Marc A. Greenberg

Much is being made about Punter Steve Weatherford’s fake punt attempt in the first quarter of yesterdays 9-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers.  Yes, it was an interesting decision by Weatherford (Yes, Weatherford), not Coach Ryan; but it really shouldn’t have been tried. Let’s break it down.

1. It was 4th and 18 from the Jets 20.  That means if Weatherford doesn’t get it, the Packers would (and did) get great field position. Oddly enough here, Weatherford didn’t know it was 4th and 18.

Weatherford knew it was third-and-9 before the previous play. He also knew that Mark Sanchez was sacked on third down, but he didn’t know it was fourth-and-18.

“I didn’t see how many yards we lost on the sack,” Weatherford said. “Once I get out of the pocket, I feel like if it’s 12 (or) 15 yards, I think I can make it.”

2. Weatherford who has free reign to make the decision.  A little odd here. Ryan told reporters that Weatherford can make the decision to run with the ball whenever he wants. Obviously he’s a great athlete and successfully completed fake punts last season in Miami, but free reign to do this is ridiculous.  You can’t put the game in the punters hands voluntarily.

Special teams coach Mike Westhoff wasn’t permitted to comment after the game. He walked into the locker room and was ready to speak when a reporter approached, but a PR official interceded, saying Westhoff wouldn’t be available until his usual day — Thursday.

“He took off on his own,” Westhoff said before the interview was ended before it really began.

Earlier, Ryan tried to explain Weatherford’s latitude.

“He does it on his own,” Ryan said. “(The Packers) were caving that side down. This was something Steve did on his own. I don’t think he realized we’d just been sacked. We told him before that it needed to be a manageable situation, not fourth-and-20 or whatever it was.”

3. The Jets had nothing going yesterday.  Might as well try to get some momentum going by trying a fake punt.

4. The Packers scored a FG after taking over at the Jets 38;  First points the Jets have given up in the first quarter this season.