Jets Deny Claim That Sal Alosi, Others Instructed to Block Sideline
Former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, among others, has accused the Jets of intentionally forming a wall of people on their sideline to aid them during punt returns.
"They had to be ordered to stand there because they're foot to foot," Thomas said in a Tuesday radio interview.
"But there's more to it," he continued, "because I'm telling you, the only thing [Alosi] did wrong was intentionally put that knee out there. If he just stood there, there would never have been a problem, even if the guy got tripped. But there's more to this. He was ordered to stand there. No one is foot to foot on the sideline in the coach's box."
Thomas isn't alone. "Something is fishy," an anonymous personnel executive told ESPN, saying the Jets have routinely formed such deterrents on their sideline during punts in recent weeks, while leaving their sideline completely open when they're punting to the opposition.
While the practice of blocking your sideline from a "gunner" isn't illegal, it is frowned upon. Rex Ryan, however, has denied ever instructing his coaches to crowd the sideline. Special teams coach Mike Westhoff also denies coaching such an alignment.
"Number one, I did not instruct anyone," Westhoff said in a statement released by the team. "Number two, I was not aware. With all of the people on the sidelines, it would be inconsequential and I would not be involved in any way, shape or form."
The NFL is not investigating the Jets for the accusations, but they have admitted that they are looking at the issue in general.