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Geno Smith: Jace Amaro reminds me of Rob Gronkowski

10.14.14 at 7:00 am ET
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Jace Amaro is a rookie tight end with the Jets. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jace Amaro is a rookie tight end with the Jets. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Jets quarterback Geno Smith gave rookie tight end Jace Amaro a big compliment Monday, saying that the Texas Tech product compares to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

“I think he has big time potential,” Smith said of Amaro, who some believed would have been a good fit in New England. “We don’€™t like to talk about the guys on the other side, but when I think about Jace I think about [Rob Gronkowski] — two really big, bouldering guys who have physical statures, but are as nimble as some of the smaller guys who can run great routes and have great hands and can run after the catch.

“I think Jace can be a really good tight end if he continues to work at the pace that he’€™s been working. We expect big things from him in the future.”

Amaro, who has 24 catches for 212 yards and a touchdown, has become a sizable part of the New York passing game as a rookie. Meanwhile, ex-Patriots tight end Zach Sudfeld has also found a home as a tight end with the Jets. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Sudfeld, a training camp star last summer with New England before being released, has apparently become good pals with Smith.

“Zach has been one of my best buddies on my team — I really like the way that he works,” Smith said of Sudfeld, who has one catch for 15 yards this season. “He has a great work ethic. He’€™s been in there every single day. He even comes into all-quarterback meetings we have with the offensive linemen and watches tape with us. He’€™s just continuing to gain experience and continuing to learn this offense.

“He’€™s a guy that we’€™ve used in multiple packages. He’€™s a big target, a guy who can stretch the field, and he’€™s got great hands. So, he’€™s a guy that we definitely should get the ball to a little bit more. But you always got to take what the defense gives you. He’€™s been great with that, not forcing the issue, but he’€™s always preparing and he’€™s always coming in to work, working to the best of his ability.”

Read More: Geno Smith, Jace Amaro, Zach Sudfeld,

Short week won’t get in the way of Patriots-Jets rivalry: ‘Everything goes out the window when you play these guys’

10.13.14 at 9:13 pm ET
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FOXBORO — With just three days in between games when playing on Thursday Night Football, it might be tough to get up for your next opponent.

Not this week for the Patriots and Jets, as the AFC East division rivals will meet for the first time this season Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

“I think records go out the window when you play these guys,”€ special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “Everything goes out the window when you play these guys and you don’€™t have a problem getting up for them because of the history that is there. We will be ready as well.”

Even though the Jets come into the game 1-5 — losers of five straight — they are coming off a game Sunday where they were competitive right until the end with the Broncos, ultimately falling, 31-17. It is also their first division game of the season.

Having limited time to prepare, it does help facing a team you’€™re familiar with.

“Obviously every year teams are different,” Slater said. “We have new players, they have new players so there is still a sense of urgency when I comes to getting to know them, but it does help that we know some of their tendencies and we know their coach. We know kind of what to expect.”

After getting back from Buffalo late Sunday night, the biggest thing for the players is to try and get their bodies back to full strength after the beating they took Sunday afternoon, while also trying to become familiar with the game plan as quickly as possible with only two days until the game.

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Read More: Matthew Slater, New York Jets, Rob Ninkovich,

Patriots supporting Jerod Mayo following season-ending injury: ‘Hopefully we can play well for him’

10.13.14 at 7:57 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Sunday’€™s win over the Bills came with a big price.

The Patriots lost running back Stevan Ridley for the season with a torn ACL and MCL and also their leader on defense — captain Jerod Mayo to a ‘€œsevere lower right leg’€ injury, also reportedly ending his season.

It’€™s the second straight season Mayo has been lost for the year in Week 6 after he tore his pectoral last season and it gets no easier for his teammates, both coping with the injury as well as replacing him in the middle of the field at his middle linebacker position.

“With that happening yesterday, it was a blow,”€ fellow captain Matthew Slater said. “You can’€™t try and pretend it’€™s one of those things you can pick up and move on from because you feel for a guy like Jerod. I came in with Jerod, we were rookies together and to see him go down I know took a toll on me, but we have to do the best we can to bounce back.

“A lot of guys have to step up because a guy like that is hard to replace — not only what he does on the field, but who he is in this locker room. His leadership, the man that he is. A lot of guys can emulate and imitate because of who he is. Hopefully we can play well for him the rest of the year, but like I said there is no replacing him with one guy, it’€™s going to take a lot of guys stepping up.”

With all the season-ending injuries the defense had to deal with last season — including Mayo’s — defensive end/linebacker Rob Ninkovich was forced into playing much more than he was accustomed to and played quite well. Once again, it will take efforts like that to replace Mayo.

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Read More: Jerod Mayo, Matthew Slater, Rob Ninkovich,

Pressure Points: Which Patriots have done best job getting after QB?

10.13.14 at 7:27 pm ET
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Every week over the course of the 2014 season, we’€™ll provide a look at the Patriots pass rush numbers. Like all stats, the numbers have to be placed on context of game-situations and personnel. And while sacks can be overrated, when evaluated as part of a bigger picture that includes quarterback hits and quarterback pressures (the latter courtesy of Pro Football Focus), it should provide a good picture as to which defenders are consistently able to get after the quarterback. Currently, the Patriots are tied for 7th in the league in sacks with 15. Based on the official NFL game books and PFF, here’€™s a look at the pass-rush numbers for the Patriots after six games for the 2014 regular season:

Sacks (via gamebooks)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 4 (29 yards)
DE Chandler Jones: 3.5 (13 yards)
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 2 (22 yards)
DL Chris Jones: 1.5 (12 yards)
LB Deontae Skinner: 1 (10 yards)
LB Jerod Mayo: 1 (9 yards)
DL Joe Vellano: 1 (4 yards)
DB Kyle Arrington: 1 (0 yards)

Quarterback Hits (via gamebooks)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 7
DE Chandler Jones: 6
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 4
LB Jerod Mayo: 2
LB Jamie Collins: 2
DL Chris Jones: 1
DL Joe Vellano: 1
LB Deontae Skinner: 1

Quarterback Hurries (via PFF)
DE Chandler Jones: 9
LB/DE Rob Ninkovich: 9
LB Jerod Mayo: 5
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 5
DL Vince Wilfork: 5
DL Chris Jones: 4
DL Sealver Siliga: 2
DL Joe Vellano: 2
DL Casey Walker: 2
DL Dominique Easley: 1
LB Jamie Collins: 1
CB Alfonzo Dennard: 1

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Report: Jerod Mayo is out for the year with a ‘bad’ right leg injury

10.13.14 at 6:27 pm ET
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Jerod Mayo is carted off the field during Sunday's game in Buffalo. (Mike Petraglia/

Jerod Mayo is carted off the field during Sunday’s game in Buffalo. (Mike Petraglia/

The worst fears have been realized for Jerod Mayo and the Patriots.

The veteran middle linebacker and Patriots defensive captain suffered a season-ending right leg injury in Sunday’s 37-22 win over the Bills, multiple sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Those sources tell Schefter that the injury is “bad,” leading to the assumption that he will require major corrective surgery. This comes one year to the month when he tore his pectoral muscle and missed the second half of the 2013 season.

Earlier in the day, Bill Belichick indicated that “no one guy” will be able to replace Mayo or do for the Patriots what the seven-year veteran out of Tennessee does in the middle of the New England defense.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots,

Bill Belichick on D&H: Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley injuries are ‘not minor’

10.13.14 at 5:46 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined WEEI’s Dale & Holley show on Monday to discuss Sunday’€™s win against the Bills. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

New England’€™s win against the Bills saw an improved Tom Brady and a strong defense, especially in the second half. Yet all of the news from the game was not positive. Both Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley suffered injuries, which Belichick said could be serious.

“They’€™re undergoing some tests this afternoon, and we’€™ll just follow up on it,” Belichick said. “Unfortunately I don’€™t think it looks too good, but we’€™ll see what we get back. … We’€™ll wait till we get more specific information, but I don’€™t think it’€™s minor, let’€™s put it that way.”

For the Patriots, this would not be the first time they would be without Mayo, as he was injured last season. This gave the defense some familiarity with what it is like to play without one of their captains.

Said Belichick: “I’€™m sure every player gains from being in there from game experience and playing time. It’€™s still very bittersweet to lose a player of Jerod’€™s magnitude and what he means to the team — and how much he embraces the team and how much the team embraces him. Nobody works harder, nobody is more unselfish and more dependable than he is. We hope it’€™s not too serious.”

Continued Belichick: “Jerod just works extremely hard to do his job well so everyone can depend on him. He’€™s very unselfish, he does it for the team. Whatever will help the team, he’€™ll do. Even if it’€™s a sacrifice he has to make. When you think of a team player, I think of his picture next to those words.”

With Ridley out, the Patriots will need to replace his production out of the backfield. Belichick said the staff will make some evaluations before coming to a final decision. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, jeroy mayo, Stevan Ridley,

Report: Stevan Ridley suffers torn ACL and MCL

10.13.14 at 5:43 pm ET
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FOXBORO — According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, Patriots running back Stevan Ridley suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Sunday’s win over the Bills.

Ridley was having a productive season as through six games, he has 94 carries for 340 yards with a pair of touchdowns. He also has had hit a stretch of 161 consecutive straight touches without a fumble (including the regular season and postseason) dating back to last November — coming off of a stretch where he had ball security issues.

“Stevan put a lot of work in this offseason preparing himself, making himself better, improving his game and he was doing a good job for us,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “We asked a lot of him and he gave us a lot. That is another situation you hate to see the cruel affects of this game with the injuries. It’€™s definitely heartbreaking to see guys go down like that. Again, we have to do as good of a job as we can to continue to move on and play well.”

The Patriots now are left with running backs Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden and James White on the active roster as well as Jonas Gray on the practice squad.

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