|What to make of: New York Jets||07.23.15 at 10:01 am ET|
With Patriots camp opening up on July 30 at Gillette Stadium, WEEI.com takes a quick look at each of the Patriots’ rivals in the AFC East, their additions, losses and what each team needs to accomplish in camp.
2014 finish: 4-12, 4th in AFC East
Key additions: Head coach Todd Bowles, GM Mike Maccagnan, CB Darrelle Revis, CB Antonio Cromartie, CB Buster Skrine, WR Brandon Marshall, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Stevan Ridley, DE Leonard Williams (Rookie)
Camp goals: Give Geno Smith one more chance at the starting quarterback job and see if his spring OTA and minicamp work has earned him frontrunner status at the start of camp over Ryan Fitzpatrick. Leave Rex Ryan drama behind and get in step with the no nonsense approach of Todd Bowles. Have Darrelle Revis and Brandon Marshall step up and take leadership roles.
What to make of the Jets:
There’s a lot to like about what the Jets did this offseason. They seem finally ready to shift the focus from the entertaining and melodramatic head coaching style of Rex Ryan to the hard-nosed approach of Todd Bowles.
They had the chance to interview Doug Marrone after he stiffed the Bills to collect his 2015 salary guarantee. They did not jump at the first chance to hire away a fellow AFC East rival head coach. Reports out of New York were that they were not impressed with Marrone and that they were looking for more of a seasoned coach with NFL experience, someone who could lead the Jets back to respectability.
Bowles played eight seasons in the NFL as a safety, including the Redskins where he started in Super Bowl XXII. Bowles was the defensive coordinator for the Eagles in 2012, and then for the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 and ’14. He was the interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins for the final three games of the 2011 season with a 2-1 record after the firing of Tony Sparano.
With the firing of general manager John Idzik and Ryan on Dec. 29, the Jets began the process of rebuilding their roster. New GM Mike Maccagnan identified several players, along with some help from owner Woody Johnson. Of course, that’s a thinly veiled reference to the Jets’ owner’s infatuation with all-world corner Darrelle Revis, who was busy with a Super Bowl run with the Patriots.
|Jets HC Todd Bowles: ‘You can’t beat the Patriots in February’||02.18.15 at 8:27 pm ET|
New Jets head coach Todd Bowles seems to have a different approach, as the new coach said Wednesday at the NFL combine the rivalry doesn’t mean anything right now.
“I don’t think it means anything to us right now,” Bowles told reporters at the combine. “Right now, we’re trying to become the New York Jets and we’re trying to become a winning ballclub. We’re going to concentrate on us. You can’t beat the Patriots in February. Just beating the Patriots is not going to cut it if you lose to everybody else. We’ve got to have a growth process of how to win while we’re winning and trying to win and beat more than just the Patriots”.
With New York coming off a 4-12 season, the Jets have a lot of things to worry about besides the Patriots.
Bowles said the team first off needs to come together as one, working together to improve on a rough 2014 season.
“I would say belief. Belief,” Bowles said. “We’ve got to get them to play together. We’ve got to have accountability. We’ve got to jell as a team. They’ve got to be allowed to let the coaches coach them and we’ve got to understand what our players can and can’t do. The faster we can get that done, hopefully the faster we can turn this thing around.”
It would seem the first issue Bowles will need to address is what to do at quarterback, and if he wants to continue with Geno Smith, who turned the ball over 14 times this past season. Bowles said ultimately he will need to sit down and see him first-hand in order to make any kind of long-term decision.
|Adam Schefter on MFB: Patriots better off playing meaningful games to end season||12.19.14 at 12:46 pm ET|
ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday to talk about the Patriots, the Jets and other NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
It’s expected that Rex Ryan is in his final days coaching the Jets, who are in last place in the AFC East at 3-11 as they prepare to host the Patriots on Sunday. Schefter said he does not believe Ryan will latch on with another team for the 2015 season.
“I think the chances of Rex Ryan staying in the NFL are slightly better than Jim Harbaugh going to Michigan,” Schefter said after predicting Harbaugh will not leave the pro game to coach his alma mater. “I think Rex Ryan is going to wind up on TV next year. That’s what I’m expecting. I think he’ll be in a studio somewhere. I think he’ll be dishing out opinions. He’ll be about being Rex. To me, just like I’m expecting Jim Harbaugh to be in the NFL, I’m expecting Rex Ryan to be in TV.”
Schefter predicted both Ryan and general manager John Idzik will be fired at season’s end, but he isn’t sure what will happen with inconsistent young quarterback Geno Smith.
“I think that they’re both going to be gone. That’s my read into the situation. I think they’re going to clean house,” Schefter said. “And depending on who they bring in as a head coach and a GM, then they can decide what they’re going to do with the quarterback. But I think that’s the direction that organization is moving right now. When you speak to people around the league, that’s what they believe will happen in New York.”
If the Patriots win Sunday and the Broncos lose to the Bengals on Monday night, that would make New England’s final regular-season game against the Bills unimportant. While it might be good for the Pats to protect some players by having them sit out the final, Schefter isn’t sure that would be the best situation.
“I think Denver wins on Monday night. Would I be surprised if they went into Cincinnati and lost? No. And you know what, I’ve got news for you: I almost think the Patriots are better off that way, with Denver winning,” Schefter said, adding: “To me, the best thing that could happen for the Patriots is that Denver wins out and New England wins out. If Denver loses and New England wins this week and you wrap up the [No. 1 seed], and then essentially you’re not playing for anything next week, and then you get a bye week, that’s three weeks [without a meaningful game].”
Added Schefter: “It just doesn’t come and go. You just can’t turn it on. You’ve got to go play. And the teams usually that fare the best in the postseason are the teams that are just rolling along at the end of the regular season and they just keep rolling into the postseason. And even the teams that start out that first weekend with a wild card win, they get some momentum going and start moving.
“So if you’re the Patriots and you wrap up home-field advantage this weekend and now you’re got a meaningless game next weekend against the Buffalo Bills, that means essentially you’re not playing a meaningful game for the three weeks. I don’t like that. That’s me. Now, Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots, they may want to sit him out, rest him and not give him any opportunities to be hurt. But every game they play is an opportunity for anyone to be hurt. That’s the way it goes. That’s the sport they play.”
Looking to the postseason, Schefter said the Patriots should feel confident against any opponent if the game is in Foxboro.
“The fact of the matter is if you’ve got them in New England, the Patriots should win every playoff game they play in New England,” Schefter said.
For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
|Tim Hasselbeck on D&C: Tom Brady ‘making a pretty good supporting cast look a lot better’||10.27.14 at 9:40 am ET|
ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the Patriots’ big win over the Bears and next week’s battle against the Broncos. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
New England’s offensive outburst and Brady’s 30-for-35 passing performance has given the Patriots a lot of confidence heading into the second half of the season. Next Sunday the Patriots will face off against Peyton Manning‘s Broncos, a game that will pose another midseason challenge.
Said Hasselbeck: “It doesn’t need hype. … In terms of the tune-up, with the way [the Patriots] played offensively, just the points they had, they end up with over 50 points in that football game. So now everyone looks at it as if New England has solved all of the offensive woes that they had early in the season. And now it’ll be billed as a big shootout between the two star quarterbacks.”
New England’s wide receiving corps and Brady’s supporting cast during Sunday’s win, and over the last few weeks, have stepped up since the early part of the season. The hosts wondered whether it’s time to stop talking about the possibility that they are a weak group.
“I don’t know if a couple of weeks changes it,” Hasselbeck said. “Now, [Rob] Gronkowski is healthy, I think that all of us would agree, Gronkowski’s healthy versus what we saw from Rob Gronkowski after very little work in the preseason and playing about 30 snaps a game at the beginning of the year, versus what we saw yesterday is totally different. Tim Wright, I think we’ve seen very little from Tim Wright. They threw him a touchdown pass down near the goal line, but you probably could’ve taken Jim Dray from the Cleveland Browns and had it sneak out. I don’t that that was a matchup that was won necessarily by Tim Wright. Shane Vereen‘s a nice player, but he’s not Le’Veon Bell.
“I still don’t look at the supporting cast as this unbelievable group surrounding a very good quarterback. I see a very good quarterback making a pretty good supporting cast look a lot better than they did earlier in the year.”
|NY Daily News’ Manish Mehta on D&C: Already poor 2014 Jets season ‘trending downward’||10.15.14 at 9:16 am ET|
New York Daily News Jets beat writer Manish Mehta joined Dennis & Callahan to discuss the state of disarray the Jets are in. To hear to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
After starting off the year with a promising win, New York has come crashing down and lost its last five games. From bad quarterback play from Geno Smith to poor secondary defense, the Jets have very little going right for them. Coach Rex Ryan has come under heavy criticism for the failures of his team.
“Rex Ryan is a good coach,” Mehta said. “He’s not Bill Belichick — I don’t think anyone is going to say that. But he’s one of the best defensive coaches, for sure, in the league right now for the last 10 years. There’s only so much you can do when you don’t have much talent. And he doesn’t control who comes into the building via draft or free agency. That’s general manager John Idzik.”
Continued Mehta: “Idzik has never been a general manager before, he has never really had any personnel say of significance in his previous stops in Seattle, Arizona and Tampa Bay. … And now this guy is in charge of giving Rex players, and he hasn’t done a good job his first couple of years.”
Part of the reason the Jets have had trouble in the past few years, and especially this year, is the lack of talent at the skill positions. Without good quarterback play and a solid corps of wide receivers, New York’s offense has been lackluster.
“[Ryan has] never really had a star quarterback. He’s never really had a star player at an offensive skill position,” Mehta said. “If you look his five years, the best you can say is Thomas Jones in the backfield in 2009 and then Santonio Holmes for one season in 2010. … No dynamic players, certainly no dynamic players at the quarterback position. Now he’s really saddled with Geno Smith, who when you look at statistically, is probably the worst quarterback in the NFL right now.”
|Rodney Harrison on MFB: ‘Geno Smith, he stinks, Michael Vick doesn’t want to play’||10.14.14 at 12:36 pm ET|
NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Patriots’ injury issues and the upcoming game against the Jets. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Harrison said he expects Thursday’s game will be a tough one despite the Jets coming in with a 1-5 record and struggling badly on offense.
“I think it will be competitive,” Harrison said. “The Jets, they have such a hatred for the Patriots. Rex Ryan, he’s had success against Tom Brady, he knows what to expect. And I think he will have this team ready. And this team, they’re 1-5, they’re not very good. Geno Smith, he stinks, Michael Vick doesn’t want to play, they haven’t practiced well. This team has lost a lot of players, young guys in the secondary. Tom can really eat up this defense.
“But just knowing Rex, and just knowing how much he dislikes the Patriots, I think this game will be a lot more competitive than what people think.”
Added Harrison of the Jets: “They’re going to have to win on defense, because they’re offense is nothing.”
Smith, the second-year quarterback, has struggled on the field and made some questionable comments off it, which leads Harrison to question his approach.
“When they talked about drafting him, I never viewed him as a top first- or second-round pick. I thought maybe he was a guy that could probably go between Rounds 3 and 5. I just wasn’t really impressed with him,” Harrison said.
“Sometimes when you’re a young quarterback and you’re struggling, sometimes it’s best just to be quiet and not say too much in the media, just come off as a very humble guy, just trying to learn the system. But he continues to talk, he continues to put his foot in his mouth.
“What he needs to do is stop turning the ball over, bottom line. Every game this year he’s turned the ball over, and they just don’t have a chance if he continues to turn the ball over.”
|Geno Smith: Jace Amaro reminds me of Rob Gronkowski||at 7:00 am ET|
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.”