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Nick Bellore Still Has That Special Touch

Posted Aug 13, 2014

He Wants to Be the Jets' Best Backup at ILB & the Best Special Teams Player in the NFL

When he entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2011, LB Nick Bellore had never played on a special teams unit. Now it’s his job — and one he’s quite good at.

“I think special teams is all attitude. If you want to make the tackle more than the other guy wants to block you and vice versa, you can be successful,” Bellore said after today’s training camp practice at SUNY Cortland. “It’s more of an attitude than any other particular skill. You just have to run, hit and block. Basically it’s all the fundamentals on one play. That’s why I enjoy it and I just try to make the play more than the other guys want to.”

Last season Bellore played in every game, leading the Jets in kick-coverage tackles for the third straight season. For 2014, he said he wants to continue the success he’s had on special teams his first three years in the league.

“I want to be the best special teams player in the league — that’s always been my goal,” he said. “I want to be the best backup I can be to Dave [David Harris] or Demario [Davis]. If something should happen, I want to be ready and I want the coaches to not feel any falloff when I go out there. If that opportunity comes, great. If not, I want to be the best special teams player out there.”

Bellore’s love of special teams in undeniable, but he does enjoy playing defense, too. He said he looks forward to preseason games because of the opportunities he gets to play linebacker.

“It’s always nice playing defense, but special teams … I’d never done it before I got here and now it’s kind of all I do. It is nice playing defense, especially in the preseason,” he said. “I get a lot of reps, so I kind of familiarize myself with it, but I know what I’m here to do. I’m here to be a great backup for those guys and if the opportunity arises then step in.”

His knowledge of Rex Ryan’s system has helped him to become more comfortable playing on defense, should the opportunity arise. He said that every year he’s been with the team, he’s improved his skill set.

“I think really every year you can add a little bit, especially in the defense,” he said. “It seems complex and there’s a lot of moving parts, but I think every year you can add a little bit to your game, whether it be just schematically or physically. I think I’ve sharpened up my knowledge of the defense where I’m really able to see what the offense is doing, instead of worrying about what I have to do on a particular play.”

Obviously, Bellore can bring skills to the defense, but it’s on special teams where he’s thrived, using his versatility to tackle and block. He even caught a 23-yard pass from former Jets QB Tim Tebow on a fake punt in the 35-9 win over Indianapolis in 2012.

Bellore has remained a constant for the Jets special teams unit that has had three different coordinators since 2012. First Mike Westhoff retired after that season, then Ben Kotwica left after the '13 season for Washington. Current special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey was hired Feb. 5, and Bellore said McGaughey has taught all the special teamers new techniques.

Having so many different coordinators, Bellore said, has only helped the Jets, because they are able to use different schools of thought.

“I think our personnel is better than it’s ever been,” he said. “On top of that, I think we’ve taken the good from all the old regimes of special teams and brought in some of the best stuff with the new.”

Bellore added that he’s looking forward to kick off against Cincinnati on Saturday because of the 49-9 defeat the team suffered at the hands of the Bengals last Oct. 27.

“I thought we came out good against Indianapolis, but Cincinnati is a new challenge, obviously,” he said. “They took it to us last year. I’m pretty familiar with them. I’ve played them a bit since I’ve been here.”




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