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Westhoff: Dolphins special team weak link remains

[First of all, let me start this morning by thanking you guys, once again. We all root for, focus on and observe an inconsistent Miami Dolphins team. But there is consistency in your interest in that team because so far this year Miami Dolphins in Depth is the most popular blog at the Miami Herald bar none. Last month (September), for example, my blog outpaced the next most popular blog by more than 210,000 page views. This blog outpaced the next most popular sports blog, Eye on the U, by 345,000 page views. No other sports blog at the Herald was in the same universe -- not even close. So you have spoken about your interest. And I appreciate your loud voices.]

As we all know, the last week was an apocalyptic one for the Miami Dolphins special teams.

They managed the worst single-game performance in the history of the franchise. Special teams coordinator John Bonamego was fired as a result.

But if you believe New York Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff, who helped in the downfall of the Miami special teams by exposing them two weeks ago with a blocked punt scheme the New England Patriots repeated one week later, the Dolphins still haven't really corrected the issue with the firing of Bonamego, who got a call from Westhoff this week.

"Sure, I called him," Westhoff told the New York Post Friday. " Not so much to give him some pep talk or to tell him I thought it was wrong or right. That's not my business. I don't do that, but I did talk to him about (how) 'These things happens to a heck of a lot of people. You had some breakdowns.'  It's interesting that there was one particular guy that was involved in two of those major breakdowns.  Frankly, I don't think he could play. I don't want the guy either."

Westhoff would not reveal the name of the player he's talking about but it is safe to say he is still on the Dolphins as they didn't cut any player following the New England debacle. It is also known tackle Lydon Murtha and guard Pat McQuistan missed assignments that led to the blocked punt and field goal last week versus New England.

"I'm not going to tell you," refusing to name the player he believes is a weak link. "That wouldn't be fair, but there was a common denominator. There really was, but what I talked to [Bonamego] about was moving on in the future (and) what I thought would be a good way for him to go. As I said, he's not my best buddy.  He's not."

So why did Westhoff, a former Dolphins special teams coach, get involved in calling Bonamego at all if they're not friends?

"I'm the guy to do it," he said. "I've been around the longest and to me I just look at it as I think I know enough that I can talk enough from experience on both sides of. From having good days and bad days to be able to give him some of what he should do and look forward to in the future whether that's right or wrong.  I know one thing, I know he appreciated it when we talked. 

"It wasn't like, 'Oh, that's a terrible thing for them to do.'  I don't feel that. That is their business. What they do is their business.  It's not mine. I'm disappointed that that would happen though. Of course it was just a catastrophic thing."

It was a repeat of the plays -- at least on the blocked punt -- that we saw the week before from the Jets.

"If I could show you the clips of the three things because believe me, I've studied them. The punt block was the exact same block that we used exactly (on) the other side," Westhoff said. " [The Patriots} are no dummies. They saw it worked. The kickoff return was the guy broke around the edge, he had two unblocked guys. Make the tackle. We did. The field goal, they had a new guy that they had to substitute in at wing and he let their most dangerous guy (Patrick) Chung, he just let him run. It's ridiculous.  Trust me, when we showed it to our guys, I was just as tough on the guy doing it as I was on the strategy of how to do it. I think that's all part of it. I don't like seeing that (happen) to anybody. I don't care what your business is. I'm more solve the problem than affix the blame. I guess that's my style and philosophy.  It doesn't make me right."