New York Jets still plan to use Wildcat without Smith

By Marc A. Greenberg

New York Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff loves a project.

For Westhoff, there is nothing better than finding the next big thing.   In the case of newly departed Wildcat/kick returner specialist Brad Smith, Westhoff has his hands full.

“That’s almost impossible,” Westhoff said of replacing Smith. “What did Denzel [Washington] say in ‘Remember the Titans?’ You can’t replace a Gary Bertier. That’s something that I will not be able to replace — the fact that he did so many different things. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t do a lot of things because we will. It will just be with different personnel.”

“My goal now is who’s next,” Westhoff said.

Who’s next may be rookie Jeremy Kerley.  The former TCU WR/Kick Returner has been the star of camp so far and has gained the attention and respect of head coach Rex Ryan in the process.

But can Kerley run the Wildcat in place of Smith?

Ryan told reporters on Tuesday that Kerley is in the final three.

“I think we have three candidates for [the Wildcat],” Ryan said, “three good candidates. Will they be as good as Brad?  I don’t know about that.  Brad was a really special athlete.  I’m going to say it for the last time until we play Buffalo.  [He]  was the only guy at the time in college football who rushed for over 4,000 yards and passed for over 8,000 yards.

“He was ideal in that role, for sure, but I think [LaDainian Tomlinson], he’s thrown touchdowns.  All you have to do is ask my brother [Rob Ryan], because he threw a bunch against him, so he can do it certainly.  Then, Joe McKnight is an explosive athlete like Brad.  I think he’d be good in that role.  Then, [Jeremy] Kerley did that in college, so I think we have three guys.”

Time will tell of Kerley.

And what about that comment Westhoff once made that if Brad Smith leaves, then he would retire?  “The day he goes, I go.”

“As usual, I was lying,” Westhoff said.