What they’re saying in New York: ‘Buttfumble’ in the past, Patriots appear vulnerable
|09.11.13 at 12:26 pm ET|
When the Jets and Patriots take the field Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, the game will feature a complete overhaul from the teams that faced off on Thanksgiving last year. That meeting resulted in a 49-19 Patriots rout and produced arguably the most infamous play of the season: the “Buttfumble.”
Absent is the man at the center of it all, Mark Sanchez, who smacked into the backside of his own lineman, Brandon Moore, and dropped the ball that New England’s Steve Gregory returned for a touchdown. Sanchez is out with a shoulder injury to start the season.
Moore retired at the end of the season.
“There’s so many new guys in that locker room,” said Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post during a Wednesday morning appearance on Dennis & Callahan. “I’m walking around there yesterday, as we do covering teams, and you look at these lockers where you’re going to go talk to a guy that you’ve spoken to for the last three or four years, and you’re like, ‘Oh, jeez, that guy’s not on the team anymore.’ There are so many new guys now.’
“Most of the guys in that locker room weren’t even a part of the thing last year.”
The team on the positive side of the blowout also underwent a transformation this offseason. The Patriots lost both their tight ends — Rob Gronkowski for the interim, Aaron Hernandez permanently — along with wide receivers Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd, and running back Danny Woodhead.
New England signed wide receiver Danny Amendola to make up for the loss of Welker, and the Patriots looked to guys like Shane Vereen to pick up the slack offensively for the injured Gronkowski. However, Vereen (broken wrist) is out two months, while Amendola (strained hamstring) reportedly will not play Thursday night.
Cannizzaro wrote in his column Tuesday that these injuries mean New York has a great shot at beating New England for the first time in their last five meetings.
Here’s a look at what others in New York are saying about Thursday’s showdown:
• The Bergen Record echoed Cannizzaro’s opinion that New England looks particularly vulnerable this season.
• ESPN New York also took a look at the “Buttfumble” and how it marked the start of a downward spiral for the Jets, and even a number of their players’ careers.
• Ben Shpigel of The New York Times ponders whether rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who won his debut vs. the Buccaneers, can repeat that feat against a much more formidable opponent.
• One potential determinant of Smith’s success Thursday, writes Michael J. Fensom of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger, will be the play of his offensive line. Smith was sacked five times, hit a total of 10 times, hurried nine times and forced to scramble six vs. Tampa Bay.
• Mark Hale of the New York Post warned the Jets that they must be wary of Tom Brady, despite his depleted receiving corps, and the Patriots’ up-tempo offense.
• After a disappointing 6-10 season last year that reportedly nearly cost him his job, Rex Ryan has an opportunity for a fresh start to the season, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
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