The Jets upgraded the punishment for Sal Alosi to an indefinite suspension yesterday after learning the strength and conditioning coach ordered a wall on the sidelines during Sunday’s 10-6 loss to the Dolphins.
Alosi had already been fined $25,000 and suspended the rest of the season for tripping Miami’s Nolan Carroll as he raced down the sidelines to cover a third-quarter punt. Alosi apologized for the “illogical act” Monday and denied instructing players to form a wall, as did coach Rex Ryan. Upon further review, though, general manager Mike Tannenbaum, found that Alosi did in fact order inactive players to form a wall.
“The players at the Miami game were instructed by Sal to stand,” Tannenbaum said.
The presence of bodies along the sideline precludes a player pushed out from returning to the field of play quickly, which violates league rules.
“Basically at the beginning of the year, we’ve been instructed to stay away from the [side]line and at punt return, step forward,” said Jeff Cumberland, one of the inactive players standing toe-to-toe next to Alosi on the play.
Alosi’s in-game duty is to manage the group of inactive players and to “coach” them where to stand during the game. Tannenbaum and Ryan denied knowledge of the tactic, but the Jets inactives were clearly instructed on where to stand during punt returns.
“It is something we’re told to do, to stand there along the sideline like that during punt return,” said inactive rookie lineman Vlad Ducasse. “It’s for whatever reason.”
That “whatever reason” in fact is to intimidate the gunners on the other team and keep them from returning the field of play in a speedy fashion. Ducasse echoed Cumberland’s sentiments that the players were specifically instructed to move forward on punts to minimize opponents like Carroll from going out of bounds on their runs.
“Obviously we’re not told to trip anyone or anything like that,” Ducasse said. “But it’s what we’ve been doing since the beginning of the year on punts.”
And the person responsible for that role on the sidelines, said Ducasse, is no surprise.
“Yeah, it’s Sal’s job,” Ducasse said.
Special teams coach Mike Westhoff said it sure wasn’t his job.
“What goes on in the bench is totally immaterial to me,” Westhoff said “It’s not something that we were coaching.”