FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Mike Westhoff wants no more surprises — unless he calls for them himself.
The New York Jets special teams coordinator said Thursday that punter Steve Weatherford made “an aggressive error” when he ran a failed fake against Green Bay without getting it approved.
“If you don’t get an OK, you don’t run it,” said Westhoff, speaking for the first time since the gaffe. “I’m not worried about it happening again.”
With the Jets facing a fourth-and-18 from their own 20 in the first quarter Sunday, Weatherford took the snap and sprinted along the right sideline for what initially appeared to be a first down. But Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy challenged, and officials ruled Weatherford out of bounds a half-yard short of the first-down marker.
“He’s an aggressive guy, he’s a great athlete, can run like a deer,” Westhoff said. “He got excited, caught it and went with it. He shouldn’t have done it.”
The Packers got a field goal on the ensuing drive for the first points of Green Bay’s 9-0 win.
“It’s always in our game plan,” Weatherford said. “I’ll wait for a little more verbal OK to do it. Mike’s still just as comfortable with me running the ball as he was before.”
Weatherford, a former high school track star, pulled off two successful fakes last season on runs of 26 and 16 yards. Westhoff said he and Weatherford discussed a possible fake after the punter’s first kick.
“I agreed with him,” Westhoff said. “I said, ‘The way they’re playing it, we’ve got a shot. When we get the right time, I’ll call it.’ That’s as far as it went. And, it wasn’t the right time.”
Westhoff was actually prepared to call for a fake when it was third-and-9, but Mark Sanchez lost 9 yards on a sack and that changed the coach’s mind.
“That took us completely out of it,” Westhoff said.
Not in Weatherford’s mind, though.
“I knew we lost at least 7 yards, so give or take a yard I knew exactly where we were at,” he said. “It didn’t change the fact that I thought I could make it.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.