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Hard Knocks, Week Three: Let's Talk Spinoffs

Mike Westhoff is both a special teams coach and a special character

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    When the third episode of "Hard Knocks" came to an end, it meant that we were now closer to the end of the show than the beginning, a sad moment given how much entertainment it has provided. Ratings have been strong as well, which means that HBO has to be wondering how they can extend the fun a little bit longer.

    In the TV world, that means turning "Cheers" into "Frasier" or "CSI" into "CSI: Buffalo." In other words, we're talking spinoff and last night's episode gave us three ideas for shows that can grow out of "Hard Knocks."

    First up is "The Assistants," a show about the assistant coaches of the Jets. It has comedy, like when one Jets assistant struggles to figure out how many feet there are in a yard, and it has the quiet anger of defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman. His slogan -- "They say I'm an angry black man, and it's true" -- is made for a t-shirt. Most of all, it has special teams coach Mike Westhoff.

    He dominated Wednesday night's episode with a mixture of profanity, wit and a surprising amount of inspiration. He threatened to cut David Clowney during the next game because he's been waiting for him to show his talent "since Bush was still president" and wished linebacker Brashton Satele would "open a pizza place in the Bronx and leave me alone." 

    If we're making t-shirts, it's a safe bet that there'd be a market for one reading "triple f---ing Asian flu."  

    The inspiration came when Westhoff, who lost most of one leg to bone cancer, spoke to aspiring special teamers and told them not to get discouraged when things aren't going their way. Pretty good man to send that message, no? It isn't hard to understand why the Jets always have such good special teams when that's the guy pushing everybody.

    That's the real gem, but a couple of other shows would also work out well for everyone. There's "Rex Appeal," a workout show featuring the Jets coach on a treadmill. He pumps the thing up to an ambling four for about 30 seconds before exclaiming that his heart rate hits 2,000 and moving on to a snack.

    And the final offering would be "Here's Woody!" about the owner of a NFL team who always wears a baseball cap, shirt and tie and engages in humorous, if a bit pathetic, sideline conversations with players and coaches during practices.

    On to the other highs and lows from week three of "Hard Knocks":

    Low: Watching reserve defensive lineman Ropati Pitoitua earn praise from coaches for his work during camp while knowing that he'd soon be tearing his Achilles against the Panthers. Knowing it was coming didn't make it any easier and seeing the massive man face down after getting the bad news was awfully sad.

    High: Less sad was watching the rookie talent show which featured Satele getting some serious payback in an impersonation of Westhoff, a Just for Men box gimmicked with a picture of Mark Brunell and whatever the hell it is that Bo Smith was doing right here.

    Low: The bait and switch by the guys who do the coming attractions for next week. We were promised scenes of players asking Mark Sanchez about various options on a menu from a Mexican restaurant and we never got them.

    High: Rookie hazing with defensive back Brian Jackson. He found himself hogtied to a goal post and waterboarded with Gatorade and talcum powder, which was probably a low for him but good viewing for those of us at home.

    Quote of the Week, Rex Ryan division: On his third-team defense during Panthers game, "Some of these guys couldn't play dead in a B western."

    Quote of the Week, Non-Ryan division: Fullback Jason Davis on 5'7" running back Danny Woodhead, "If he had played in the 50's, he'd have been a Hall of Famer. We'd say LT runs just like Danny Woodhead."

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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