|Chris Russo on D&C: ‘No question about it, it’s [Tom] Brady’ over Peyton Manning||10.29.14 at 9:54 am ET|
Sirius XM radio host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss a variety of topics, including the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning debate and the situation with the Jets. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Over the last decade, most of the conversation about the best quarterback in the NFL has surrounded Brady and Manning. While there still is doubt as to which one will leave the better legacy, Russo emphatically selected his go-to quarterback.
Said Russo: “No question about it, it’s Brady. He’s been in five Super Bowls, he’s won three. Manning is 11-13 in the postseason and Super Bowls. He’s a tremendous regular-season quarterback, but he’s not as good in the postseason. You have to give him a pass in the Seattle game last year. Seattle, they were beating anybody that day, so I don’t think Peyton gets any grief there. But again, you’ve got one guy who’s been in five Super Bowls, has won three of them. You’ve got another guy who’s been to three Super Bowls and has lost two of them. That’s how you get graded, that’s all there is to it.
“I put Brady right up there at four, five [in the top quarterbacks of all time]. And I put, myself, and a lot of people think I’m nuts, but I put Manning down there at eight, nine. They’re both great, but look who Manning’s had to work with, with Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and good linemen and good conditions indoors. And Brady, name me a hall of fame receiver — Moss the one year. … Even in one of the losses in the Super Bowl, he was super. Manning, I can’t say that.”
Down in New York, the Jets have more than struggled this season and sit in last place in the AFC East. Most of the blame has been placed on coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik. Russo said Idzik’s ineptitude has caused much of the problems.
“Idzik is overmatched in New York City,” Russo said. “He doesn’t know how to handle the media, his drafts have been terrible, they don’t have a quarterback. … Woody Johnson, nobody has a lot of confidence in him. I wouldn’t consider him a big-time owner. He kind of hides behind philanthropy. I think they’re definitely afraid of firing Rex Ryan because all of us know that if Rex gets another job, he’s going to do good. He’s a good coach. I know he’s had a terrible year, but he doesn’t have a quarterback — Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Michael Vick. Even [Bill] Belichick‘s not winning with that consistently.”
|Adam Schefter on MFB: ‘There’s a lot of people whose jobs are in jeopardy in New York right now’||10.17.14 at 1:09 pm ET|
ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday to analyze Thursday’s Patriots-Jets game and discuss other NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The heat is on Rex Ryan in New York, as the Jets are 1-6 after Thursday’s 27-25 loss. Although Schefter noted the Jets “played hard” Thursday and clearly have not quit on the season, he acknowledged, “Rex certainly is on the warmest of warm seats right now.”
“I think there’s a lot of people whose jobs are in jeopardy in New York right now. Whether it’s just Rex, whether it’s Rex and the GM, that’s something that they’re going to have to make a decision on here,” Schefter said, adding: “It’s rare that you see too many in-season changes, or changes before Thanksgiving. Once we get to Thanksgiving, to me, all bets are off. Because if you want to go hire a coach like Mike Holmgren or Mike Shanahan or somebody that’s on the street or on the sideline or in the college ranks, it gives you a chance to get a running head start in an above-board, legal, ethical kind of way.”
During his appearance on Middays with MFB on Thursday, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith claimed general manager John Idzik “sabotaged” Rex Ryan by giving him a weak roster. Schefter disagrees with that assessment.
“I don’t believe that John Idzik sabotaged Rex Ryan,” Schefter said. “I do believe that John Idzik’s approach is not the way that Rex Ryan would approach it. John Idzik had Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the cornerback, in the building [in the offseason as a free agent]. Darrelle Revis was interested in playing for the New York Jets. John Idzik didn’t get the deal done on Rodgers-Cromartie — the Giants eventually signed him for a price that [Idzik] was unwilling to pay. He didn’t call Darrelle Revis, reach out, for whatever reason. John Idzik’s approach on this is very methodical and patient and conservative. And that’s just not the kind of guy that Rex is. Rex is, ‘Get me a corner. Let’s go get that cornerback right now. And if we have to pay more money, so be it.’ That’s what he wants to do.
“I don’t think that Idzik intentionally sabotaged the roster. His job is in jeopardy, too. So by sabotaging Rex he would be sabotaging himself, maybe. But it’s just the way that he does his business. He’s a very smart Ivy League guy with a financial background, where he ran the cap in Seattle and obviously looked over financial issues and is very careful with the way he spends his team’s money — which in many cases is good. Except when you’re 1-6 like the Jets are, people are screaming for blood and demanding answers, they want to know what’s going on, and right now he’s in the crosshairs of that.”
FOXBORO — Coming into the game with a 1-5 record — losers of five straight — the Jets were a desperate team.
Ultimately, they left everything they had on the field and had a chance to win with a field goal as time expires, but the kick was blocked and the Jets fell to the Patriots, 27-25 Thursday Night on the road at Gillette Stadium.
“It’s really frustrating because this is a team you are playing your first divisional game,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “Obviously, these are the big dogs in our division. You know, nothing against Buffalo and Miami, they are playing well, but this team has won 10 years in a row, I think — or 10 out of 11. So, this is the one where you are trying to beat them at their place and this is like the third time in a row that I thought we were good enough to beat them here and we come away with a loss.”
The players — like their coach — were disappointed and actually felt like they let down Ryan.
“Rex is an emotional guy. The beauty of Rex is he believes in all of us and quite frankly we let him down tonight,” linebacker Calvin Pace said.
“He wanted this one,” wide receiver David Nelson added. “We all did. Not only because it was the New England game, but we were 1-5 coming in and we know we’re better than that. We’ve laid some eggs the past couple of weeks and given away games. We wanted to come out on a national stage and showcase what we’re all about. I think you saw that the majority of the game.”
Although the Jets played one of their better games of the season — totaling over 400 yards of total offense — they still shot themselves in the foot by committing seven penalties for 70 yards and going 2-for-4 in the red zone.
|Setting the scene: Patriots take on Jets at rain-soaked Gillette||10.16.14 at 5:26 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For the second straight year, the Patriots will play the Jets at Gillette Stadium on a rainy Thursday night. Steady rain with a chance of thunderstorms is in the forecast for the entirety of the game. But temperatures will be very mild, with a kickoff temperature of 64 degrees expected for the 8:25 p.m. start. Temperatures are expected to remain above 60 throughout the night.
A 7 MPH breeze out of the southeast is also in the forecast throughout the game.
In 2013, the Patriots held their home opener against the Jets on Sept. 12 and squeezed out a 13-10 win as the driving rain pelted players, coaches and fans.
The Patriots have won their last five regular season games against the Jets at Gillette Stadium, not including the 28-21 loss to New York in the 2010 playoffs. Overall, the Patriots have won 20 of the last 27 meetings between the two AFC East arch-rivals.
The Patriots will be playing the first game since losing starting linebacker Jerod Mayo and starting tailback Stevan Ridley to season-ending knee injuries. Both were placed on injured reserve. Taking their place are running back Jonas Gray and offensive lineman Chris Barker, who have been activated off the practice squad and are eligible to dress for the game.
Tom Brady enters the game with a perfect 6-0 record in Thursday night games. Bill Belichick is 7-2, with his last loss coming with Matt Cassel at the helm of a 34-31 overtime loss to the Jets on Nov. 13, 2008. Belichick’s only other Thursday loss was the 34-9 Thanksgiving blowout at the hands of the Detroit Lions in his first season in New England in 2000.
The game will also feature the Patriots paying tribute to Ty Law, the cornerback who was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame on Aug. 1. The halftime ceremony will be similar to the ones that former Patriots Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown have enjoyed past primetime games.
The national anthem will be performed by Joey McIntyre of “New Kids on the Block” fame. The game is on the NFL Network as well as CBS nationally. McIntyre stars in the new CBS show, “The McCarthys.”
|Stephen A. Smith on MFB: ‘Rex Ryan was sabotaged this year, and it’s a pretty damn shame that he’s going to lose his job’||at 1:36 pm ET|
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith checked in with Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the Patriots-Jets matchup and why he thinks Rex Ryan has been sabotaged this season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Smith hails from New York and does not attempt to hide his preference for teams from the Big Apple, but he acknowledged the Jets aren’t likely to leave Foxboro with a win Thursday night.
“I don’t think that the Jets have a chance,” Smith said. “I don’t think they have a snowball’s chance in hell. I think their offense is pathetic, I think it’s weak. And because of it, I don’t see how they can win this football game. …
“Defensively with Rex Ryan, you know that he’s going to have some kind of scheme that’s going to work to their advantage to some degree, but that’s assuming that the offense is going to be able to give you something. I don’t have faith that Geno Smith, with Chris Johnson, with Eric Decker as your No. 1 option as a receiver being out on that field on the offensive side of the ball is going to be able to to any damage against New England. And as a result, they’ll wear the Jets defense down. And ultimately the only question in my mind is whether or not it’s going to be a blowout, because I can’t see the Jets winning this game.”
Smith said he does not expect Ryan to be back next season, and he blames general manager John Idzik.
“I think that it’s going to be one of those situations where Rex is going to end up losing his job, because I think he’s been set up to fail,” Smith said, adding: “The word that comes to my mind is sabotage. I think that Rex Ryan has been sabotaged for this season.
“You look at Geno Smith, he was clearly Idzik’s choice to be drafted, not Rex Ryan. You look at the fact that they had about $20 million-plus in cap space. In desperate need of a corner, not only do you let Antonio Cromartie get out the door, you didn’t do what it took to get Darrelle Revis back — you lost out on him to New England, your nemesis within the AFC East. You didn’t buffer anybody at the cornerback position. [Alterraun] Verner went to Tampa. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie went in the same building to the New York Giants instead of the Jets. Everywhere you turn, when you had an opportunity to get a bona fide corner, you didn’t do so. And you left your No. 1 corner to be an individual [Dee Milliner] who was a rookie last year, benched three times before he got himself together and was Rookie of the Month in the month of December. But that was going to be your No. 1 corner coming into the season, knowing what Rex Ryan likes to do on the defensive side of the ball? I’d say that spells sabotage. Now Milliner is out, he’s hurt. So what do you have? Pretty much nothing.”
|Darrelle Revis Report, Week 7: What the hell was Buffalo thinking?||10.15.14 at 11:56 pm ET|
Each week, we’ll present The Darrelle Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England welcomes Revis’ old team — the Jets — to Foxboro for a Thursday night clash.
Last week: Working almost exclusively against talented young Buffalo wideout Sammy Watkins, Darrelle Revis had perhaps his best game of the season last week against the Bills, yielding two passes on three targets for 27 yards. The biggest play was a 20-yarder midway through the third quarter that looked a little like a broken play, but Watkins was able to haul in the pass from Kyle Orton just shy of the goal line.
He finished the game with four tackles, including one for a loss. Of the 68 snaps he played, we had him on the left for 23 and the right for 45, and all of those were opposite Watkins. There were times where he was clearly playing press coverage — we counted 32 snaps where he was close enough to Watkins where he was able to get hands on him as he came off the line — and there was what appeared to be zone. But it was all Watkins, all the time for Revis on Sunday.
“He played a great game. He held me to two catches and that was his job,” Watkins said of Revis. “He’s a competitor, competes every play. He got balls to come up and press every play and I [tip] my hat to him.”
Revis played very well, but on the other hand, there was almost no inclination to try and think outside the box when it came to getting Watkins the ball. There were a couple of fake reverses to the rookie — on one in the early going, Revis got caught up in the crossing traffic, and if Orton had gotten Watkins the ball, he would have almost certainly had a big gain. But other than that, on almost every snap, Watkins was a stationary figure, either in the slot or split wide. No motion, no pick plays, no disguising anything. There appeared to be one stack play on Buffalo’s two-point conversion, but on that play, it was Robert Woods who got open after Logan Ryan was picked off and not Watkins.
The one thing that Buffalo did appear to do was try and use the matchup to create space underneath — that is, Watkins would take off on a go-route, and bring Revis with him. Then, another receiver would flow to the open area where Revis and Watkins were previously located — usually either Woods or tight end Scott Chandler. But in terms of trying to get Watkins free from the death grip of Revis, the Bills did virtually nothing.
By our highly unscientific count, in six games, Revis has now allowed 16 catches on 28 targets for 228 yards this year, with one touchdown and one interception
Read the rest of this entry »
|10 things you have to know about Jets-Patriots||at 7:32 pm ET|
Here’s everything you need to know about Thursday’s contest between the Patriots and Jets:
Our three favorite matchups on the evening:
1. The Patriots offensive line against the Jets defensive front: For both teams, this is the absolute key matchup on the night. The strength of the New York team is the front seven — when the Jets have been able to be competitive, it’s been because of their front, a grouping that includes big defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson and nose tackle Damon ‘Big Snacks’ Harrison. They are a stout and dependable combination, and have forced teams to try and get creative to find a way around them. They do a good job getting after the quarterback, as their 19 sacks are tied for second-best in the league, and their 235 passing yards allowed is a middle-of-the-pack 15th overall. But their strength is against the run, having allowed an average of 92.2 yards per game on the ground (ninth-best in the NFL) and 3.5 yards per carry (sixth-best in the league). From the Patriots perspective, there are a few ways to try and minimize their overall impact of the Jets defensive linemen, including lots of heavy sets that feature two tights ends, as well as fullback James Develin and another back (Shane Vereen?) kept in for protection, or at the very least, a chip on a blocker before running a route. If New England can find a way to neutralize their presence, it’ll go a long way toward a Patriots win.
2. Quarterback Tom Brady against the Jets secondary: This summer, the New York defensive backs were seemingly dropping at the rate of one a day, and as a result, the Jets are left with an alarming lack of depth in their secondary. Meanwhile, after some talk early in the season that Brady was zeroing in solely on one or two receivers, the quarterback has spread the ball around masterfully over the course of the last two games: eight Patriots had at least one reception in the victory against Cincinnati, and 10 players made at least one catch last week against the Bills. With tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receivers Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell having emerged as the three go-to targets over the course of the last two weeks (not to mention the work of Vereen, who is on pace for almost 50 catches this season), it’s debatable as to whether or not the Jets have the depth to keep up with New England’s suddenly surging passing attack.
3. Tight end Rob Gronkowski against safety Calvin Pryor: With Gronkowski returning to fully functional Gronk status last week against the Bills — seven catches on nine targets for 94 yards in the win over Buffalo — he figures to again be a colossal part of the New England passing game on a weekly basis. (The big tight end has always tortured the Jets, with 28 catches for 362 yards and four touchdowns in six career games against New York.) The Jets have yielded six touchdowns to tight ends over the first six games of the season, including four the last two weeks to a pair of oversized pass catchers in Denver’s Julius Thomas and San Diego’s Antonio Gates. The Jets will likely counter Gronkowski with a few different defenders, including Pryor, a rookie out of Louisville who made some waves this offseason with some statements about the Patriots. Should be an interesting matchup.
4. Under the radar opponent who Patriots’ fans need to know: The Jets tight ends, Jace Amaro and Jeff Cumberland. The two have combined for 32 catches over the first five games — Amaro leads the Jets in receptions with 24 — and have provided some small measure of security for New York in the passing game. Over the years, if there’s been an Achilles’ heel for New England when it comes to defending the Jets passing game, it’s been the tight ends. With Jerod Mayo sidelined for the rest of the year, the Patriots’ work against tight ends and backs in the passing game will be tested, and the Amaro/Cumberland combination provides an interesting dynamic for New England to consider.
5. By the numbers: 0 — The number of pass plays of 40 or more yards that have been given up by the Patriots’ pass defense this season. New England is the only team in the league not to yield a single pass play of 40-plus yards. For what it’s worth, the Patriots are tied for 13th in the league in pass plays of 20 yards or more, having allowed 17. Those good numbers on the deep ball stand in contrast to the last few seasons, where New England was at or near the top of the league in the number of deep balls allowed over the course of the season
2013: 55 20-plus (11th most), 9 40-plus (15th most)
2012: 74 20-plus (most), 8 40-plus (14th most)
2011: 79 20-plus (most), 9 40-plus (17th most)
2010: 55 20-plus (7th most), 4 40-plus (30th most)
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