Mike Westhoff, Mark Sanchez
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Former New York Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff believes the organization’s downfall started with Mark Sanchez‘s contract.

Everybody loves Mike Westhoff. It’s that very notion that makes the idea of a Westhoff-led sitcom sort of realistic. Well, maybe not everybody loves the man.

Former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez may have something to say about Westhoff’s likability.

While on with the New York Post’s “Gang’s All Here” podcast, the former Jets defensive coordinator didn’t hold back when asked about his former employer. He believes the organization started to trend downward the moment Sanchez signed his three-year, $40.5 million contract in 2010.

“Because we started this big contract, all of a sudden I’m going to lose guys and now I’m really upset,” Westhoff said. “Mike Tannenbaum came by my office one day, I said, ‘Mike, why would you give Mark Sanchez this big new contract?’ He said, ‘Well that’s what a championship-game quarterback is paid.’ I said, ‘Well if he had anything to do with us getting there, I probably would agree with you. But for crying out loud, he had nothing to do with us getting there.’

“We led the league in rushing, we were really good on defense—I had a freaking All-Star team [on special teams] and we had an offensive line that was tough as nails.”

Sanchez, of course, led the Jets to back-to-back AFC championship games in 2009 and 2010. While Westhoff wouldn’t exactly agree with the idea that Sanchez “led” the team, the fact that he’s the winningest playoff quarterback in franchise history remains true (four wins).

Westhoff decided to pile on with the classic “he can’t throw it in the lake” quote.

“I’m sitting where I live,” Westhoff added. “I live right on a golf course in Florida and there’s a lake right behind my house. I’m sitting here looking at it. If Mark stood by my swimming pool, he couldn’t throw the ball in the damn lake.”

Westhoff’s Jets special teams during the Rex Ryan era were considered the best in the NFL. Players like Brad Smith and Leon Washington routinely ripped through opponents on a weekly basis.

Today, a much different story has unfolded. The 0-8 Jets are just one win away from breaking the record for the worst start in franchise history (1996). Only a win in Arizona with Adrian Murrell rushing for 199 yards separates the two teams.

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If Westhoff was in charge, he’d drastically change things in the building.

“I’ll be a little bit harsh, I’d bring the exterminator into that building and I’m going to clean that place up,” he said. “I’m talking about people that don’t think they’re gone, they’re gone, because I just think it’s a mess. Really, I was so proud of my time in New York. It was a tremendous time. Now, I see it’s like a joke, and it’s been a joke since I left. I would make an absolutely dramatic move and make changes all over that place and start from scratch.”

The Jets currently prepare for the also-struggling 2-5 New England Patriots who are scheduled to visit MetLife Stadium for a Monday night contest.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, developer and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor | Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (sold in 2020). SEO: XLM Email: robby.sabo[at]jetsxfactor.com

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Dark Demonik
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Dark Demonik

Westoff was a no nonsense guy i felt did a good job taming Rex Ryan for most of the part. He is 100 percent correct. You can see guys like Revis demanding his long term contract but Mark that was not a big part of those championship run gets one so fast and quickly… I don’t blame Revis for holding out and the man wanted to be a Jet till the end even after the contract mess… Unlike Jamal that just wanted a way out