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Pats-Jets roundup: Mike DeVito says Jets are ‘loose’ heading into Thanksgiving night game

11.21.12 at 12:50 pm ET
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The Jets are 4-6 and heavy underdogs heading into Thursday night’s game against the Patriots, but one player indicated the team is feeling ‘€œloose’€ heading into the contest.

Jets defensive end Mike DeVito said the normal tightness associated with a matchup against the Patriots is missing this week, and he said the team is ready to go.

‘€œI feel like we were real loose this week at practice, which is good to see,’€ said DeVito a Cape Cod native who played collegiately at Maine. ‘€œI think a tendency that we’€™ve had in the past when it’€™s Patriots Week is to tighten up, you naturally get a little bit tight because you recognize the importance of the game, and how physical and ratcheted up it always is. … You play this game too tight, you’€™re not going to be successful. You play this game loose and with swag and having fun, that’€™s when you’€™re going to do well, and I think guys are happy about that.

‘€œI just know we play well when we feel like this.’€

Added DeVito when asked if the team was ready to play its best game: ‘€œWithout a doubt, yeah, without a doubt. Guys are really confident. We’€™re jelling as a team, we believe in each other, and I have no doubt that we’€™re going to be ready to go on Thursday night.’€

Jets center Matt Slauson wants it to be known that the Jets are ready to fight.

‘€œI would expect to see a high-motor, high-enthusiasm team. … We’€™re going to be flying around that field,” he said. “Regardless of what happens in the game, we’€™re going to fight until the very end of the game with everything we got.’€

‘™¦ Rex Ryan is not underestimating the talent level of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The Jets coach hailed Brady as a ‘€œonce-in-a-generation quarterback’€ as he prepares his team to defend the Patriots offense.

‘€œThe thing about him, he’€™s a machine yet he’€™s passionate and a fiery leader,’€ Ryan said Tuesday. ‘€œYou wish he was just a machine. His competitive side elevates his team as well. That’€™s what you get from those once-in-a-generation-type quarterbacks.’€

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Read More: antonio cromartie, Darrelle Revis, Matt Slauson, Mike DeVito

Nuggetpalooza: Turkey day stats nuggets on Patriots-Jets!

11.21.12 at 8:21 am ET
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Here are some numbers that I found interesting as the Patriots travel to New York to meet the Jets on Thanksgiving night:

* – Now that the byes are all over for this year, all teams have played 42 games since the start of the 2010 season and the Patriots own the best record in the league over that span:

34-8 – Patriots
32-10 – Falcons
32-10 – Ravens
32-10 – Packers
30-12 – Steelers

The worst record in the league in that span belongs to the Panthers (10-32).

Note this: New England’s 15-6 road record is also the NFL’s best in that span, just ahead of Atlanta (14-7) and Pittsburgh (14-7).

* – The Patriots are averaging a league high 35.8 points per game through 10 games this season, which would be the third-highest average in the NFL since 1960 if it holds up:

36.8 – Patriots, 2007
36.6 – Oilers, 1961
35.8 – Patriots, 2012
35.0 – Packers, 2011
34.8 – Vikings, 1998

* – On Sunday the Patriots scored in the third quarter for the 19th consecutive game, extending the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1997.

* – Be sure to turn the game on at the start as these two defenses have allowed LOTS of points on their opponents’ first possession of the game. The Jets have allowed 34 points (four touchdowns, two field goals) on their opponents’ 10 opening drives, while the Patriots have allowed 30 (three touchdowns, three field goals).

* – New England  has scored a first-quarter touchdown in each of its last eight road games, the longest streak in the league since at least 1997:

8 – Patriots (2011-12)
7 – Titans (2004-05)
6 – Five times

* – New England leads the NFL with 14 recoveries of opponent fumbles, its most in any full season since falling on 16 in 2004. Since the merger in 1970, the Patriots have never led the league outright in fumble recoveries. The closest they’ve come was in 1976, when they recovered a club-record 27 fumbles, tying the Saints for the most in the NFL that season. Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Belichick on Rob Gronkowski: ‘We’re not going to put in a whole new offense’

11.20.12 at 7:27 pm ET
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FOXBORO — It’s a question that been asked in almost every conceivable way. How will the Patriots adjust without Rob Gronkowski in the lineup?

“Other people are going to have to contribute,” Bill Belichick said Tuesday. “We’€™ll see how it goes. I don’€™t know. We’€™ll see how it goes.

Does it change Belichick’s preparation for the Jets?

“We’€™re not going to put in a whole new offense in a day and a half,” Belichick added. “[We] may make some adjustments, but we’€™ve done what we’€™ve been doing for awhile. We’€™ve had some success with it so we’€™ll find a way to continue to do the things that we know how to do. If we have to make some adjustments, we’€™ll make some. If we can’€™t, we wouldn’€™t try to change everything in a couple days anyway.”

There are certainly options for the Patriots and’s Chris Price explored them in depth.

As for the criticism of Belichick for leaving Gronkowski in the game for the final extra point, Rex Ryan called it ridiculous. Belichick said regardless of Ryan’s support, he has a good relationship with his longtime rival.

“I didn’€™t hear it, so I’€™m just taking your word for it,” Belichick said when told of the compliment Tuesday. “I feel like I have a good relationship with Rex. Obviously we want to beat each other. We’€™re in the same division and that’€™s just competitiveness. I see Rex from time to time during the year. Like I said, we had his brother on the staff here for four years. I’€™ve known his father for 30 years, whatever it is, it’€™s been a long time. I think that there’€™s a lot of’€¦he’€™s a son of a coach, he’€™s a football guy, he’€™s been around it his whole life; I have too. There are a lot of things we have in common. But this week it’€™s about two teams trying to compete against each other. That’€™s all it is.”

Here’s the rest of Belichick’s Q and A with reporters at Gillette on Tuesday: Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Gronk, New England Patriots, New York Jets

Tom Brady: ‘We’re just trying to prioritize our time’

11.20.12 at 5:30 pm ET
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FOXBORO — There’s no time to worry about the loss of Rob Gronkowski. There’s only time to worry about how to beat the suddenly re-energized Jets on national television on three days’ rest.

Just ask Tom Brady.

“We’re just trying to prioritize our time. We don’t have much of it,” Brady said. “We leave tomorrow, and hopefully everyone is spending their time wisely, not playing video games and stuff like that. Trying to understand, and what we need to do, and it’s a very tough place to play. We’ve always played this team very tough. It should be a fun night.”

One thing is for sure, Brady is expecting something different defensively from Rex Ryan and the Jets defense.

“You may know the players, some of the scheme stuff, but at the same time, you have to put as much as you can into it in the short amount of time that we have,” Brady said. “You just can’t take anything for granted against this team. They’ll have something new for us, they always do.”

From Ryan’s perspective, giving Brady multiple looks is a matter of survival, and a reason why the Jets had a chance back on Oct. 21, losing in overtime to the Patriots, 29-26.

“I just know that the way he prepares and everything else, that this guy is a once-in-a-generation, lifetime-type quarterback that you get everything from,” Ryan said in a conference call Tuesday. “He has the skill, obviously, to make every throw. But he’€™s smart and he’€™ll see that if there’€™s somebody that’€™s tipping it, he’€™ll find that guy. If he knows exactly what you’€™re in coverage-wise, then you have no chance. I mean no chance. That’€™s where you have to be multiple. You can’€™t just line up and do the same thing over and over and over again and then he’€™ll put up numbers where he may throw it 45 times and throw five incompletions. That’€™s it. Hopefully it doesn’€™t happen here. You have to do enough things with pressure, simulated pressure, coverage, whatever it is, you have to be multiple against him.”

Brady said while the Jets are always tough, the Patriots left a lot of points on the field when they played at Gillette the first time. The Patriots were just 9-for-17 on third down and Brady was 26-of-42 for 259 yards for two touchdowns.

“Obviously we didn’€™t execute very well,” Brady said. “I think we had some opportunities that we just didn’€™t really take advantage of, and they played really well. They always seem to play us well. There’€™s been one game where we beat them up pretty well a few years ago, but other than that, they’€™ve all been pretty tight games. That’€™s just the way it is against the Jets.

“They look like the same Jets defense to me like they always have. They’re very good, disruptive, physical, they’re tough, they’re smart, they play well together. They’re really a very good group.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl, Rex Ryan

Rex Ryan on his coaching style: At the end of the day ‘you are who you are’

11.20.12 at 4:54 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Jets coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday that there are things he’d do over again if he had the chance, but doesn’t sound like he has any regrets about the way he’s handled his three-plus seasons at the helm of the Jets.

“I don’€™t know. I mentioned that about the guarantee and all that stuff when I was guaranteeing a Super Bowl, but at the time, that’€™s really what I felt,” Ryan said. “Then when free agency came and 17 of our players were free agents when the new CBA was announced, that was probably not the smartest thing to say at the time. But, I really thought if we had the same team back, why wouldn’€™t we think that? We got to the [conference] championship game.

“But, either way, I’€™m sure there is,” he added. “I came in the league and I have a ton of experience around football. I’€™ve been around football my entire life, but I never really sat as a head coach before so it’€™s a learning experience, no question. I’€™m sure there are things I would do differently, but that specifically? I don’€™t know. At the end of the day, I think the most important thing is at the end of the day is that you are who you are and you believe; and I certainly believe things I tell our team about and everything else. So, I’€™m going to stay the course.”

Ryan, who addressed the fact that the Patriots will be without Rob Gronkowski Thursday night, hit on a number of other topics, including the challenges of game planning on a short week and the impact that Aqib Talib has had on the New England secondary:

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Rex Ryan,

Jerod Mayo: No worries about ‘rookie wall’ with this group of first-year players

11.20.12 at 12:32 pm ET
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FOXBORO — As a guy who played a lot of football in his first year in the NFL, linebacker Jerod Mayo knows all about the idea of the rookie wall.

Mayo played 881 snaps as a rookie in 2008 (according to Pro Football Focus), the highest total on a defense filled with veterans like Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi. He ended up winning the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

So when you ask him about the idea of fighting through a rookie wall — the idea that first-year players struggle with the longer NFL season — you can understand why he might be dismissive of the entire idea.

‘€œI think these guys know,’€ Mayo said of New England’€™s rookie class. ‘€œThese guys have old souls — like Chandler [Jones], he looks like an old man. He does a lot of ice tubs and things like that. Dont’€™a [Hightower], he’€™s doing well. We don’€™t really believe in the rookie wall that everyone talks about. We just talk about taking it one day at a time, and I think if you look at it that way and not try to look ahead at the schedule, you’€™ll be OK.’€

Jones and Hightower remain integral parts of a Patriots’€™ defense that has started to take steps ‘€œin the right direction,’€ according to the veteran linebacker.

‘€œBut at the same time, we didn’€™t start the game like we wanted to. We haven’€™t put together four quarters in a game. We’€™re still striving to do that. [There’€™s] a lot of work to do,’€ Mayo said before practice on Tuesday. ‘€œWe liked the way we finished the game, as well as the fact that we had two defensive touchdowns. That’€™s always good. Something to build on.

‘€œObviously, we’€™re a work in progress. We’€™re a work in progress. We have to take in one game at a time, day at a time. Like I said earlier, the consistency has to be there. We have to start games strong and finish strong.’€

The Patriots will hit the road for a Thanksgiving night with the Jets. It’€™ll be the second time around for New England and New York this year — the Patriots eked out a dramatic 29-26 overtime win against the Jets on Oct. 21. It’€™s a dual challenge for New England, which not only faces a road test against a divisional rival, it’€™ll also come on a short week.

‘€œIt was a tough game,’€ said Mayo when asked about the first game against the Jets. ‘€œIt came down to last couple of minutes — they’€™re a tough team. They always play us tough. A division team. They know us and we know them. It’€™ll be a tough battle.’€

Cramming a week’€™s worth of work into four days is also a test, even against a familiar foe like Rex Ryan and New York.

‘€œThere’€™s a lot of film study in a short time. After that game we just played, it was really a Wednesday in our world. It’€™s tough, but at the same time, they’€™re in the same predicament we’€™re in,’€ he said. ‘€œ[Familiarity] does help. But teams change. Teams change over a couple of weeks as far as scheme is concerned, so you have to do a lot of film study and a lot of studying up on things that they’€™re doing.

‘€œScheme wise, they’€™re doing different things. They’€™re healthier than the last time we played them. They have all their weapons. I don’€™t think they have any injuries, to be honest with you. They’€™re doing a lot of things well.’€

With a win, the Patriots have an opportunity to put a hammerlock on the division — a victory would give them an 8-3 record and at least a three-game lead with five games to play.

‘€œObviously, you look at this as a chance to separate yourself from the rest of the pack,’€ Mayo said. ‘€œWe handled the Bills, and now, this is a big game for us to kind of distance ourselves from the rest of the pack.’€

Read More: Jerod Mayo,

Wes Welker: ‘We just have to make sure we keep our momentum going’

11.20.12 at 12:10 pm ET
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FOXBORO — One of the theories about Sunday afternoon’s mauling of the Colts is that Bill Belichick wanted to instill a “killer instinct” in his Patriots, the kind of instinct the team had in 2007, when it was routinely crushing the opposition.

Wes Welker could sense that as the team was piling up 59 points in a 35 points win. But he’s also aware that there’s another team coming up on Thursday with some newfound momentum and confidence as the Jets dominated the Rams on the road to improve to 4-6. Their season is on the line against the Patriots.

“They played really well against St. Louis,” Welker said of New York’s win Sunday. “They were a physical team, got to the quarterback, forced some negative plays for them and really did some good things. They have some momentum coming off that game. We just have to make sure we keep our momentum going.”

Is this a golden opportunity to put away the Jets once and for all?

“Anytime you have division games, you want to make sure you’re taking care of business,” Welker said, strategically choosing his words. “So, division games are always big and especially with the Jets, and how good a team they are. We just have to make sure we’re doing what we need to do.”

Welker grew up a Cowboys fan in Oklahoma so Thanksgiving football has always meant something special to him.

“It’s always exciting to play on Thanksgiving,” Welker said. “I wish it was an early one. But it is what it is and it gives us a little more time to prepare and get ready and hopefully play well Thursday night.”

As for Rob Gronkowski‘s injury, Welker echoed Stevan Ridley when speaking of what they have to do starting Thursday.

“You always hate to see that, especially with a great player like him but other guys have to step up; that’s kind of what the deal is, guys stepping up and collectively all making plays, doing our jobs and stepping up,” Welker said.

“I think everybody their job, doing it the right way and doing what the coaches ask to do. I think anytime you can exhibit it, it’s a good deal. We just have to be more consistently doing that.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, nfl, Rob Gronkowski
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