*The New York Jets have suspended Sal Alosi indefinitely after the team got “new information” that the strength and conditioning coach “instructed” five players to stand in a wall before he tripped Dolphins player Nolan Carroll on Sunday.
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum announced the punishment after Alosi was suspended for the rest of the season and fined $25,000 on Monday.
“Over the last day as we continued our investigation we discovered some new information,” Tannenbaum said. “The players at the Miami game were instructed by Sal to stand where they were forcing the gunner in the game to run around them. Based on that new information we’ve suspended Sal indefinitely, pending further review.”
This isn’t the first time that Alosi has ordered players to line up, according to a player who was in the line.
“We’ve been doing that since the beginning of the year, standing right there. Sunday was not the first time that we’d been doing that,” Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland said. “I mean, throughout the season you know things are going to happen but you never expect this to happen.”
Cumberland said that Alosi wasn’t explicit in explaining what the players were doing.
“He never really just gave a reason,” Cumberland said. “He just said during punt return, ‘You just stand right here by this line, everybody just stand right here.’ There wasn’t really a reason why. But we kinda figured just in case somebody ran over here.”
Tannenbaum said that as soon as the team learned the new information, the Jets contacted NFL vice president of football operations Ray Anderson.
“They support this initial decision that we presented to them,” Tannenbaum said. “The league is going to look into this as well, as well they should. Once we get all the information we’ll make a final determination.”
Tannenbaum was clear in what happened.
“Specifically when Miami was punting they were asked to stand there by him,” he said.
Tannenbaum said Alosi acted alone, that he wasn’t told by anyone in the organization to instruct players to stand in a line. Addressing the media Monday, Alosi claimed he wasn’t instructed by anyone to create a human wall.
Cumberland backed that stance when asked if anyone else asked him to stand in the line. “Just Sal,” he said.
Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan both insisted Monday that the players aren’t coached to do that.
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum talking during practice at the teams training facility.
Tannenbaum said the team looked at the game film of the play and “it looked to me like it was unusual for them to be standing that way.” The Jets interviewed the players who were standing near Alosi, but will not take any action against them.
“This is just about Sal,” Tannenbaum said.
Could Alosi be fired for the move?
“All options are certainly on the table we’re going to complete the review and get all the information,” Tannenbaum said. “[Special teams coach] Mike Westhoff was not involved, Rex Ryan was not involved, but we just want to be thorough and get all the information.”
But he also said that he ‘s noticed that the Jets aren’t the only teams lining up on the sidelines during punts. The Patriots engage in similar tactics, he said.
“A number of teams do it,” Westhoff said. “There is a pretty good team up north that lines their whole defense up when they do it, so it’s something that just kind of happened.”
Asked if he’s saying the Patriots line up players to impede punt coverage teams, Westhoff elaborated: “Well, if you watch them, their defense when the opponents’ punt team is out there, they’re up there pretty close to the line, so it looks like they are trying to do it. Now are they doing anything illegal? Are they tripping anybody, heck no. I’m not saying that. That’s not the point. But, yeah, they’re lined up there. Is it making a difference? I don’t know. I really don’t know, because to tell you the truth, before this happened I never really looked at anybody’s sideline in all my years.”
Former Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas had accused the Jets Tuesday of deliberately forming a wall on their sideline to influence the Dolphins’ gunner.
Thomas was part of a growing faction that believes Alosi wasn’t acting alone.
“They had to be ordered to stand there because they’re foot to foot,” Thomas said Tuesday on Miami radio station WQAM. “There’s four of them, side to side — five of them, I mean — on the edge of the coaches’ zone. They’re only out there to restrict the space of the gunner.
“But there’s more to it 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 coaches’ box.”
There was a six-man line, starting with Alosi and defensive lineman Marcus Dixon (inactive). It’s believed the other four also were inactive players. They were in a tight formation, almost like soccer players preparing to defend a direct kick. Their toes were right up against the boundary, with Alosi positioned in the corner of the coaches’ box.
Carroll, meanwhile said Wednesday that he has found it difficult to get away from replays of the tripping episode.
He said he has seen the replay on TV more times than he can count.
The contact of the trip did cause a muscle spasm in Carroll’s right leg, which he broke last year, but he later returned to the game. The Dolphins reserve said he has received lots of text messages and phone calls from concerned friends in the wake of the incident.