Monday Whispers – The Good Stuff

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I’m not a special-pleader for

Brant Boyer, but based on past results, it’s unfair to blame some of the recent special teams’ problems on him.

Two big issues – two recent punt returns for touchdowns (New England and Detroit) and the blocking on kickoff returns.

To me, the issues here aren’t related to coaching, but roster gymnastics.

This is one of the best overall Jets rosters we have seen in a while, but it’s not an ideal one for some of their special teams’ units, if that makes any sense.

Playing Michael Clemons on punt coverage makes little sense. He’s a long-legged 6-5, 263-pound defensive end with stiff hips, who isn’t built to play in the open field and tackle quick mighty-might punt returners.

“Too upright and stiff, leading to missed tackles,” wrote NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zeirlein before the draft.

How do you have a player like this running down on punt returns trying to tackle players like New England’s Marcus Jones and Detroit’s Kalif Raymond?

It makes no sense, and they need to pull the plug on this right now. Just stop it.

And none of this is an attack on Clemons. This isn’t his fault. He’s a team player who is being asked to do something he’s not equipped to do.

Another issue with the punt cover teams is the state of some of the backup positions, like Denzel Mims as a backup receiver and Vinny Curry as a backup defensive end. Those are positions that often offer key special team cover guys, but Mims and Curry can’t really help. It’s not in their respective wheelhouses.

So they don’t have the best punt cover team right now, and as for the blocking on kick returns, they really miss “wedge” blockers, two they moved on from (Ryan Griffin and Trevon Wesco) and another on injured reserve – Nick Bawden. In a word, return blocking this year is “lousy” . . .

Robert Saleh took a lot of criticism for his clock management at the of the Jets’ loss to Detroit, related to his use of timeouts.

I heard a former NFL executive on the radio wondering why Saleh doesn’t have somebody to help him with clock management, but he does.

Saleh has a game-management coach, named Dan Shamash, a Carnegie-Mellon graduate, who had stints in the NFL with Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and the Chargers. His title with the Jets is “Situation Football/Game Management Coordinator.”

Look, I have no idea about the communication between Saleh and Shamash on the headset, and not blaming Shamash for what happened at the end, but just pointing out that the Jets do have a clock coach . . .

Why can’t Mike White play with a flak jacket, like Justin Herbert, who suffered a rib injury early in the season.

On Friday, I asked White what the difference was between Herbert’s situation and his:

Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: What’s the difference between the injuries where you wear a flak jacket, I think (Justin) Herbert had a rib injury early in the year out in Los Angeles. The ones you wear a flak jacket where you get the pain shot, and the ones you can’t play with?

White: I think it’s just a matter of, like the cartilage around your ribs can get bruised and those little intercostal muscles can get bruised and irritated, where that’s just general pain management. Whereas this is different because it’s bone, can’t really do too much about that, which is another frustrating thing, because you see other quarterbacks deal with this, but it’s different, it’s not like rib cartilage.

December 19, 2022

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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