Former Jets special teams coach and SNY analyst Mike Westhoff is out at the NFL Combine this week. He answered a few questions about the combine process and what the Jets need to focus on heading into the 2016 season…
On the Jets cutting Antonio Cromartie:
"It probably has as much to do with the financial end of it, more than anything else. I hope that he would be a guy that they can work on a new contract with. I think he has some mileage left.
If they can't do that, he's a guy you have to move on from. He is at the end of his career. I'm not at all surprised. I would have been surprised if they didn't cut him."
On how he handles working at the combine:
"I'm beginning to put together the names to see who I want to research. I read a lot and begin to put together a picture of that individual. That's what I want to study. Then I talk to my contacts with different coaches that I know. I put together my thoughts on who fits and where they would fit. I'm not an expert, but I have a good feel when I read all the reports and take a look... 'If I'm the Jets and I'm drafting here... I can look at these three or four guys that will be available.' Who are you looking at? Talking to scouts about, say, 'Who's the best player in the SEC?'
I used to really enjoy the combine. I tried to stay for the whole thing to see as many guys as I could. Even if I contributed a little, I did the best I could. I used to write up 75 guys while I was here. I'd sit here and watch the guys. I'd have my own watch to time things. I'd go to weigh ins. I'd watch them weight lifting. I used to make pages of notes."
On what should the Jets focus on in 2016:
"First off, everyone knows they need a tight end.
But what's going to happen in free agency? Who will they keep? Who will they lose? Once that gets going, it helps you see what you have to have. They'll still probably take the best guy on the board, but it helps you know what you need."
On the likes of Jeremy Kerley, Tanner Purdum, Nick Folk and Ryan Quigley and if they will be on the team next year:
"I want to keep Purdum. I think he does his job very well. Particularly that you can't line up on him, it helps mitigate his blocking issues. Quigley, I think he's in a position to challenge him, to see if I can get someone better.
Other than that, I can take that depth chart and post it and throw some rice at it and every name it hits I'd try to replace.
I always thought about who would want to trade for him? Is this the kind of guy another team would want? The way the game is played on special teams now is totally different. You have to have a heck of a kicker - one who's a 90 percent guy on field goals and good at kicking off. You also need an efficient punter who can get that ball up there and a good punt returner. Kickoff returners are just not as important anymore.
When I was coaching, if they didn't get over the 30 yard line on kickoffs, I was furious. Now, if they get to the 30, they're popping champagne."