|10.06.11 at 12:47 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Jets hired former Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore in the offseason, looking for him to bring some of the wisdom he was able to instill in Indy quarterback Peyton Manning over the course of their 12 years together.
According to Patriots coach Bill Belichick, through four games, you can see some of Moore’s fingerprints on the Jets offense.
“I’d say there are a few things,” Belichick said. “I think the Jets are still basically the Jets, (but) I think there are a couple things that you could look at offensively and say, ‘That looks like an Indy idea.’”
Ryan said that Moore has served as a sounding board for offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, and has also focused on improving the Jets’ red-zone performance over the course of the first four games: New York is 10th in the league in red-zone offense, finishing off drives with touchdowns 58 percent of the time. Last season, they were 20th in that department.
“I think Tom’s been good,” Ryan said of the 72-year-old Moore. “He’s helped Brian — just another voice for Brian. I think he really works in the red zone with us and I think that’s been an area where we’ve improved. I think we’re throwing the ball a little more effectively this year than we’ve done in the past, but clearly, we have to run the ball more.”
|10.05.11 at 8:36 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The career of Plaxico Burress has been defined by two moments – one of glory and one of ignominy.
On Feb. 3, 2008, he ended the Patriots’ perfect season with one 13-yard touchdown catch with 35 seconds remaining in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz.
“It’s definitely the best,” Burress said when asked about where that memory ranks for him. “Coming into this business, it’s something that you dream of. Playing the wide receiver position, being able to play in the Super Bowl but to win it in the fashion that I did, it’s something that you dream of as a child. To do it against a team that was probably the best in history offensively, what they had accomplished. How big that game was, it’s just something that will always be a part of me. It was a defining moment of a lot of guys in our careers and it was beautiful moment.”
Eight months later, he brought an illegal glock into a New York City nightclub and fired an accidental shot into his leg. He would wind up serving two years in prison for the felony gun charge before getting out this year and signing a $3 million, one-year deal with the Jets.
He had a lot of time to think about that catch while in prison. Naturally, it was a source of inspiration during difficult times in jail.
“It’s just a part of who I am, playing in that Super Bowl and making that catch, in the fashion that we did, driving down the field in two minutes, making that play on that stage,” he said. “It’s just a part of me. It’s a part of history. To me it was the greatest Super Bowl ever played. Like I said, it was a moment that every kid dreams of having. To be able to do go out and execute it and do it in the fashion that we did it against the team we were playing against, it just says a lot.”
Burress still can’t believe his good fortune that led to one of the most dramatic catches in Super Bowl history. On Sunday, Burress – now with the Jets – faces the Patriots for the first time since the catch the crushed New England’s sports psyche and ended the Patriots’ dreams of becoming the first 19-0 team in NFL history.
Asked about that catch Wednesday, Burress said he couldn’t believe his good luck when Ellis Hobbs matched up on him in single coverage with no help, just moments before hauling in the 13-yard fade from Eli Manning to put the Giants ahead with 35 seconds remaining.
“It was a play we had run twice,” Burress said. “Eli had told me before we broke the huddle that if they gave me single coverage, he was going to throw it. I’m just thinking to myself, ‘There’s no way they’re going to single cover me at this time of the game, and they actually went with ‘Cover Zero’ with no safety help. Now, I had been watching so much film and watching film of Ellis Hobbs on the 10-yard line to the goal line, and I noticed he likes to stop his feet right around the goal line. I just went up, made a move and never broke stride and kept running.
“I had watched so much film on them that if I had a chance to run that route, I knew exactly how I was going to run it. It actually came down to film and running that exact route as I had seen him do and he did exactly what I had seen him do on tape and I knew when we lined up that I had a great shot to make the game-winning catch.” Read the rest of this entry »
|10.05.11 at 3:45 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady wouldn’t take the bait on Wednesday.
Asked twice by writers about comments from Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, the Patriots quarterback responded with a terse, ‘[I] don’t care what he says,’ on both occasions before appearing to cut short his weekly press conference.
Cromartie said last season that he thought Brady was an ‘ass—-‘ and sounded like he took issue with some of Brady’s perceived post-touchdown antics.
‘We see that a lot. He does it a lot,’ Cromartie told the New York Daily News last January. ‘That’s the kind of guy he is. We really don’t give a damn, to tell you the truth.’
Asked about his comments earlier this week, Cromartie didn’t back down.
‘What I said last year, I meant it,’ Cromartie told Newsday. ‘I’m not going to take back anything. I’m definitely looking forward to this rivalry game. I still have the same feelings. Feelings don’t change. Whatever I said last year is not going to change.’
On Wednesday morning — before appearing to prematurely leave the podium in the media workroom — Brady called Cromartie an ‘excellent player’ who is part of a talented New York secondary.
‘They have two very good corners — well, they have a bunch of very good corners actually,’ Brady said. ‘The two that are out there on their regular defense are very good. They’re both fast, they’re both physical. They play well at the line of scrimmage. They’re very disruptive. They lead the league in pass defense, so that kind of tells you everything you want to know about them.’
New York knocked the Patriots out of the postseason last year, taking a 28-21 win in a divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium. But Brady said Wednesday that loss wouldn’t serve as motivation for this Sunday’s game.
‘That was a long time ago,’ Brady said. ‘So, that game doesn’t have much bearing on this week. We’re a different team.’
While Brady said the Patriots are a different team, he said when it comes to the Jets, it’s the same as it ever was.
‘[We’re going to get] pretty much what we get from them every time we play them. They’re a tough team [and] they’re physical,’ Brady said. ‘I think they lead the league in a bunch of defensive categories. They’re very challenging to play. They have been — it’s always the Jets — since I got here 12 years ago; they’re challenging.
‘They’re good — they were good last year, they’re good this year, and they were good two years ago. I think as long as Rex [Ryan] is coaching that team they’re going to have good defense. They have a lot of good defensive players — David Harris and Bart [Scott]. [They have] a good front, corners can cover — safeties [Jim] Leonhard, [Eric] Smith, and Brodney [Pool] have given us problems. So it’s a good team.’
|10.05.11 at 2:23 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It was a strange week for cornerback Sterling Moore: He was a member of the Raiders’ practice squad until he was cut loose last Monday, and last weekend, as Oakland was preparing to face the Patriots, New England gave him a call.
‘Since they were flying out (to Oakland), they actually worked me out out there,’ Moore said Wednesday morning in the Patriots locker room. ‘And then I got the call Saturday that they actually wanted to sign me to the practice squad, and flew out here that night. I’ve been here ever since.
‘My Mom, she went from rooting for the Raiders one day to rooting for the Patriots the next day. I was sitting and watching with her [on Sunday]. She was screaming for the Patriots. So yeah, it was a little weird.’
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Moore is a rookie out of SMU who was signed by Oakland to its practice squad out of training camp but was bumped late last month in favor of safety Ron Parker. After getting the call from the Patriots over the weekend, he became the second defensive back on New England’s practice squad, joining safety Ross Ventrone. By all accounts, he’s a burner who opened some eyes in his time in the Bay Area.
‘He competes. He’s tough. He’s not afraid,’ Raiders coach Hue Jackson said of Moore during training camp. ‘He hasn’t played a ton, but he’s a guy I think that we have to give a chance and see what he can do.’
|10.05.11 at 1:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots defense has been under the firing gun of opposing offenses, fans and NFL analysts in the first four weeks of the season.
But Jets coach Rex Ryan knows a thing or two about defense and he wants everyone to go beyond the numbers and look at what they do. According to Ryan, the Patriots are the classic bend-don’t-break defense.
The Patriots come in to their Week 5 showdown with the Jets dead last in NFL in yards allowed at 477.5 per game, more than 51 yards more a game than the team at No. 31, the Chicago Bears.
“The defense, statistically, they’ve never ranked way up there,” Ryan said in his conference call to Patriots reporters on Wednesday. “It’s not like they’re 1 or 2 in the league in defense but they’re effective. They make you make mistakes, they don’t give up the run, they do a great job playing the run and they don’t have the ball shot over their heads. That’s what they do.
“They’re doing a great job. They do what they do, they force takeaways. They’re playing better in the red zone.”
To Ryan’s point, the Patriots are still one of the tougher teams in the NFL to run against, allowing 108 yards a game on the ground, tied with Houston for 18th in the league. They held Darren McFadden to 75 yards last week in Oakland and never allowed the Raiders to run it down their throats.
Ryan has kept a close eye on the 4-3 base the Patriots are implementing more this season, especially new names Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth. If the latter is cleared to play after missing the last two games with a bad back, he expects the Patriots to come after Mark Sanchez early and often on Sunday at Gillette since Sanchez was under constant pressure from the Ravens defense last week.
“Now, I expect them to come after us more, obviously. We didn’t do a great job of protecting the quarterback. I would expect more pressure from New England this week.”
Some eyebrows were raised when the Ryan released the 34-year-old Ellis this summer. Ryan says he still has the utmost respect for the former Pro Bowl defensive lineman.
“I think Shaun is an excellent player, no question about it,” Ryan said. “They brought in Carter, they bring in Shaun, they bring in Haynesworth to add what they already had. It’s obviously an upgrade for what New England has. Shaun is an excellent player, he can play in a 3-4 defense end, he can play in a 4-3 defense, they’re doing multiple things so really I think it was a good move by Belichick to bring him in because he is a guy who can play in any defense you’ve got.” Read the rest of this entry »
|10.05.11 at 1:01 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots secondary isn’t paying much attention to what the Jets’ offense did — or failed to do — last week against the Ravens.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez and the New York passing game was limited to 112 yards in the air, as Sanchez finished 11-for-35 with an interception in an ugly 34-17 loss to the Ravens. (Overall, Baltimore held the Jets to 150 total yards and just seven first downs.)
But that doesn’t mean the New England defensive backs are looking to hit cruise control this week when the Jets come to Gillette Stadium for the first time all season, especially as the Patriots’ pass defense sits 32nd in the league, yielding an average of 368.8 yards per game in the air.
‘We’ve scouted all their games. We’re not worried about this last one,’ safety Pat Chung said Wednesday morning as prep work began in earnest for the Jets. ‘They have good players in there who can make plays. They can make plays. People have bad games and people have good games. We have to get ready for them.’
That group of receivers includes tight end Dustin Keller (18 catches, 261 yards, two touchdowns) and wide receivers Plaxico Burress (10 catches, 160 yards, two touchdowns) and Santonio Holmes (13 catches, 164 yards, one touchdown). Each of them brings something different to the table:
‘¢Chung on Keller, who has 25 catches for 308 yards and two touchdowns in his regular season career against the Patriots: ‘He’s good. He can catch the ball, he can run routes, he can block. He can do all that stuff. He’s definitely a threat out there. We have to take care of him. But they have a lot of threats out there.’
‘¢Devin McCourty on the 6-foot-5 Burress, who has at least four inches on every New England corner on the roster: ‘(He’s) a bigger, physical receiver. You see him a lot of time using that to his advantage, going up to get the ball, going inside catching the ball. We know when he comes out he’s going to try and be physical with us. He’s bigger than all of us at the corner position, so we know how that’s going to go.’
‘¢McCourty on Holmes, who has five game-winning touchdown catches over the course of his career: ‘We know he does a lot of things well on the field. He’s really used all over as a receiver. He’s a guy who can get the ball in his hands short, can take the ball deep. He’s a guy who can go deep with it.’
Tying the whole thing together is Sanchez, who has shown gradual improvement over the course of his career against the Patriots, building to a 16-for-25 performance that had 194 yards and three touchdown passes in January’s playoff win over New England at Gillette Stadium.
‘He’s a guy who has taken more control over what’s going on for that offense,’ McCourty said. ‘And he’s doing a good job getting the ball out to different guys and just taking control.’
‘We all have to communicate. We all have to communicate,’ Chung added. ‘We all have to be on the same page. I say that every week. Be on the same page, be reading the same book. We’ll be good. The communication is going to get better. It just takes time.’
|10.04.11 at 4:07 pm ET|
Bill Belichick said Tuesday the Patriots looked at wide receiver Plaxico Burress in the offseason, but said, ‘some things come together, some don’t’ when pressed about the possibility of New England landing the controversial pass catcher.
The Patriots did end up making a deal for a veteran wide receiver in Chad Ochocinco, but apparently did their due diligence when it came to checking into Burress.
‘We did look at him in the offseason, just because of his general availability as we normally do ‘ look at all the players that are not connected with a team,’ Belichick said on a conference call with reporters. ‘We look at everybody. Obviously, you don’t get everybody. Some things come together, some don’t. We’ll work with what we’ve got. They’ll work with what they’ve got, see how it goes.’
Burress, who eventually signed a one-year, $3.017 million with the Jets this past offseason after serving a 22-month prison term on a gun charge, has 10 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns this season with New York.
‘He hasn’t played in a while until this year, and I think there’s plenty to go off of this year,’ Belichick said of Burress, who scored the game-winning touchdown to help beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. ‘He played quite a bit in preseason. Of course he’s played here during the regular season. I think kind of what we normally see from him ‘ strong, physical guy, [who] can go up and get the ball. Even if he’s covered, he’s really not covered because he’s capable of going up and taking the ball away from the defender. [He’s] good down the field, good on the catch-and-runs [and a] hard guy to tackle.’