The New York Jets benched defensive linemen Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson for the first quarter of their 27-23 loss at Miami on Sunday – not because they were injured, but because they had been late to several team meetings.
While it’s important for a coach to instill discipline, is benching two of your best players simply for being tardy the right move, especially in the NFL?
“I think its situational,” former NFL punter Steve Weatherford said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I like the way that Tom Coughlin handled it. He’d hit you where it hurts. He’d go straight to your pocket book. That worked well for him. For me individually, nothing would make me more sick than going home and knowing what my father takes home in a month, I just got fined because I woke up and got to work late. To me, I think handling it privately and making it hurt a little bit but helping them learn the lesson so it doesn’t happen again (is good).”
That was not the approach Todd Bowles took.
“From my experience of 10 years in the NFL, fining the player has worked most efficiently,” Weatherford said. “If you bench them, you’re only costing the other 52 men that you have on that team, and they’ve put in just as much hard work. People do make mistakes, but you don’t want it to affect your franchise; you don’t want it to affect your ability to win. The guys on the team who are doing it, you don’t want to punish them, and by sitting two of your best players, that’s essentially what you’re doing.”