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Jeff Rodgers escapes blame for overtime punt snafu

Rodgers Getty Images

Wes Welker says it’s his fault. Tony Carter takes the blame, too.

But maybe the bigger picture should be considered when it comes to figuring out who should share in the blame for the special-teams blunder in overtime for the Broncos.

How about special-teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers? So far, Rodgers has escaped scrutiny. Comments from Patriots receiver/punt returner Julian Edelman, while likely not intentional, serve to shine an indirect light on Rodgers’ possible role in the game-deciding turnover.

“Scotty [O’Brien], our special teams coordinator, puts us in the right position,” Edelman told reporters regarding his own duties when telling teammates to get away from a punt. “We’ll have a scouting report on where he’s going to kick it, and as a returner we always try to get the ball and if you can’t you have to yell a ‘Peter’ call and make sure your guys aren’t there.”

So if O’Brien deserves credit for putting his players in the right position, perhaps Rodgers deserves at least a little blame for the events that transpired when the Patriots punted high into the windy air and Carter was running in the general direction of the place where Welker was standing.

There are only two ways that things can go horribly wrong in that situation, when a tie seemed to be inevitable. Welker could have muffed the punt, or the ball could have hit someone other than Welker.

And so Rodgers should have impressed upon the 11 players on his punt-return team the importance of not letting either of the two bad things that could have happened happen. Maybe he did, but if he did he didn’t do it well enough.

In a bottom-line business, that’s the bottom line. While Welker and Carter deserve some of the blame, the man charged with putting them in the right position to not do the wrong thing didn’t get it done.

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18 Responses to “Jeff Rodgers escapes blame for overtime punt snafu”
  1. joetoronto says: Nov 25, 2013 10:10 AM

    The whole team had a colossal collapse, never mind a single play.

  2. freepretzels says: Nov 25, 2013 10:11 AM

    Carter shouldn’t even have been out there. He doesn’t take many special teams reps. Rodgers is killing us this year.

  3. munny10 says: Nov 25, 2013 10:12 AM

    Not sure how you can put this on Carter at all! Welker should have either called PETER earlier or tried to go up and make the catch. By the time the call was made, Carter was already there. Always some blame to coaches for not ensuring the guys handle the situation right, but hard to put this on Carter at all.

  4. 6ball says: Nov 25, 2013 10:29 AM

    .
    Welker’s first instinct is always to “make a play “. It may have been that he hesitated momentarily before he realized that the best “play” in those conditions was to let the ball bounce and hope for the touchback.

    .

  5. ma5terbla5t3r says: Nov 25, 2013 10:32 AM

    Typical late season Manning. The defense did all the work in the first half. When they needed Manning the most? “The Greatest QB EVER” mustered…1 TD in the second half. I speak for everyone but Broncos fans: we knew this was coming.

  6. joetoronto says: Nov 25, 2013 10:34 AM

    forsbergler says:
    Nov 24, 2013 10:18 PM
    Well let’s see what TOM terrible is made of….down 24 with the wind at the back…any guesses…..I guess maybe 3 points this quarter
    *********************************************
    Guess again, loser.

  7. fm31970 says: Nov 25, 2013 10:35 AM

    This is all on Welker. He clearly made the “peter” call too late.

    Maybe we should blame whoever decided to replace Holliday with Welker on punt returns? Del Rio?

    Field the punt, either fair catch or regular, and avoid the issue entirely.

  8. Chuck Norris says: Nov 25, 2013 10:43 AM

    Welker choked, simple as that. Welker made a decision before the play even happened that if there was a lot traffic he would bail on the kick and hope it reaches the end zone. In those conditions it wasnt a bad thought. If there is traffic, dont risk a muff, just bail. If there isnt traffic, field the punt and hopefully make a play. But his time in New England (whether right or wrong isnt the point) was marred by some big non catches. So I think he gave himself 2 options, make a big play and burn the Pats (if there is no pressure from the coverage unit) or get away from the ball and not risk a muff.

    If you look at the replay, he was positioned perfectly to field the punt. It landed like 2 yards from where he was originally standing. He looked at the coverage and decided a fair catch was necessary. However, he had already decided that trying to field it in traffic in those conditions was too risky, so he called for the fair catch and bailed. Problem was he waited too long. His Super Bowl “drop” was in his head. It affected his judgement, and it put his team mates in a bad situation and it ultimately cost them the game

  9. sportsstar4u says: Nov 25, 2013 11:19 AM

    Not exactly sure how this is all on Manning. The Broncos were running the ball down the Patriots throats…hence the 224 yards rushing that Moreno had. Why throw when you’re running it like that, regardless of the QB?

    When the Broncos “needed” him to throw, he led them to a TD late in the 4th quarter. Granted, the INT in the 3rd quarter was a bad pick and all on Manning (IMO).

    If you’re going to criticize Manning for the OT period, you have to criticize Brady as well. Both had several opportunities to win it in OT but didn’t. Brady did nothing more than Manning in OT….but the 2nd half comeback remains on our minds.

    Simple fact: Manning & Broncos > Brady & Pats in first half by far. Brady and Co. > Manning and Co. in the 2nd half by far. It’s a pity that the game came down to a special teams error on either side.

    Overall was an exciting game for sure!

  10. halbert53 says: Nov 25, 2013 11:29 AM

    Broncos showed no awareness on the punt, should have realized where ball was.

  11. harrisonhits2 says: Nov 25, 2013 11:33 AM

    sportsstar4u says:

    The Broncos were running the ball down the Patriots throats…hence the 224 yards rushing that Moreno had. Why throw when you’re running it like that, regardless of the QB?
    __________________

    I think the point Moreno got injured was when they stopped running it.

  12. eatitfanboy says: Nov 25, 2013 12:15 PM

    Defense collapses, game decided on freak play, everyone blames Manning.

    Typical.

  13. fancyleague says: Nov 25, 2013 12:25 PM

    The blame is on Welker. He was yelling the wrong word. On the replay you can clearly hear him saying “Tom!”

  14. CKL says: Nov 25, 2013 12:36 PM

    fm31970 says:
    Nov 25, 2013 10:35 AM
    This is all on Welker. He clearly made the “peter” call too late.

    Maybe we should blame whoever decided to replace Holliday with Welker on punt returns? Del Rio?

    Field the punt, either fair catch or regular, and avoid the issue entirely.
    ____________________________
    I don’t blame Denver for putting WW back there. He’s normally pretty reliable in those conditions and Holliday had already coughed one up. BB used to do the same thing with WW when he wanted to make sure that the punt was fielded and not messed up more than he wanted the return.

    Also, lol at that Broncos troll forsturdburgler. When a non Pats fan is so annoyed by your trolling that he is pounding on your ignorance about another team entirely, you have reached trolling rock bottom.

  15. dsigrey says: Nov 25, 2013 1:54 PM

    Wes should have just caught the ball. It landed on the 15 yard line right where he was standing. He makes the fair catch and maybe the game ends differently.

  16. brohamma says: Nov 25, 2013 2:41 PM

    The only finger that should be being pointed here should be at the punter. Allen hung the kick up so high that I think it surprised Wes, when he checked the field-of-play before fielding the punt, that the Patriots had closed so much distance.

    Great kick!

  17. jasonculhane says: Nov 25, 2013 4:44 PM

    Its simply all Manning’s fault…Don’t turn back now

  18. terwillis says: Nov 25, 2013 7:51 PM

    Forget this play. Where Rodgers really killed Denver is having Holliday catch the punt at the end of the first half that eventually led to DRC getting hurt.

    NE is kicking in to the wind so there is guaranteed to be no return. Why have the guy with the worst hands on the team catching it in the worst weather possible. Knowing stuff like this is Rodgers only job, how can’t he recognize something so basic?

    Holliday muffs the punt, NE tosses it up for grabs, DRC goes down, and Brady picks rookie Webster apart all second half.

    Outside of Manning Denver has to have the lowest IQ, coaches included, I have ever seen in a football team.

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