Jets blame change in strategy for crucial blocked punt by Panthers

Ryan Quigley
In his first NFL season, Ryan Quigley had never gotten a punt blocked before Sunday.
Credit: Getty Images

On Monday afternoon, Jets punter Ryan Quigley watched film of his punt that got blocked in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss. He couldn’t put his finger on any mistakes the Jets punt unit made other than a change in their alignment. Instead, he credits the Panthers for taking advantage of the Jets’ formation change.

The Jets put an extra flyer wide on their punt unit in an effort to contain Panthers returner Ted Ginn Jr., one of the best returners in the game. Usually, the Jets will line up Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant as flyers, but on this punt they included Alex Green as an additional flyer. The idea was that another speedster racing down the field would limit the ability of the Panthers to make a big return. Instead, Carolina lined an extra man up on the offensive line and the Jets had nobody to stop him.

Panthers linebacker Jason Williams ran in unopposed and blocked Quigley’s punt. It was a crucial play in the Jets’ 30-20 loss.

“Going over the film, credit goes to the Panthers,” Quigley told Metro. “Thy put another guy over [long snapper Tanner] Purdum’s shoulder. We hadn’t seen that from them before.”

The Jets hadn’t had a punt blocked since 2007.

With Williams lined up on Purdum’s left shoulder, and a player taken off the line to get the speedy Green on the field, it was easy to see what would happen. The Jets have used three flyers before this season and haven’t been caught in the formation, but the Panthers did their homework and exploited the underbelly of the Jets’ protection.

Quigley said he sees no reason to change what has worked for the Jets so far this season.

After the snap, Quigley had no idea the Panthers were bringing an extra player to attempt a punt block. Up just 16-13 at the time, the play would end up changing the game. Garrett McIntyre pounced on the bouncing ball for the Jets, but four plays later the Panthers punched it into the end zone to re-establish a 10-point lead.

“Once I caught the ball my eyes were locked — on the ball,” Quigley said. “Then when I knew he was there, it was too late. Hats off to them, they made a great play.”

On Monday, Purdum was not in the locker room to field questions from the media. But his teammates defended him on the play for doing his job and being in a position where he was over-matched.

“Real tough,” McIntyre said. “Imagine having your head down and then having to block somebody.”

Head coach Rex Ryan wouldn’t put any blame on anyone, but like Quigley and McIntyre said it was more of a breakdown in the face of a good scheme by the Panthers.

“Are there things we could have done physically, done a better job physically? Absolutely,” Ryan said. “It wasn’t a bust in assignment. It was more of a technique deal.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


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