Patriots’ secondary braced for Jets’ passing attack
|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.”
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