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Rex Ryan mocks Bill Belichick’s ‘We’re on to Cincinnati’ 10.02.14 at 11:42 am ET
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Rex Ryan. (Getty Images)

Rex Ryan had some fun at Bill Belichick‘s expense. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Maybe it was a way to loosen things up after a 1-3 start. Maybe it was a way to remind his team that things aren’t all bad. Or maybe Rex Ryan was just looking for another reason to get in a friendly jab at nemesis Bill Belichick.

But on Wednesday, just hours after the Patriots coach answered every probing question about the problems with his team with, “We’re on to Cincinnati,” the Jets coach couldn’t resist opening his press conference with the reference.

“Obviously, [we're] on to San Diego,” Ryan smirked, alluding to not only his team’s upcoming road game with the Chargers but Belichick’s answers in Foxboro.

After some silence in the Florham Park, New Jersey, media center, reporters finally caught on and laughed.

“OK, here we go,” Ryan said. “Can we just move on?”

For the record, Belichick said, “We’re on to Cincinnati” three times, “We’re getting ready for Cincinnati” twice and, “We’re preparing for Cincinnati” once in a span of two minutes when asked about Tom Brady and reports of his quarterback’s displeasure with the Patriots roster.

While Ryan might have been having some fun at the expense of Belichick, the Jets coach was repeating another theme coming out of Foxboro — urgency.

The Jets (1-3) have lost three straight, and are going cross-country to take on the 3-1 Chargers, who handed the Seahawks their only loss. Still, they trail the 2-2 Dolphins, 2-2 Patriots and 2-2 Bills by just one game in the underwhelming AFC East.

“We know that, obviously, you drop three games in a row, that sense of urgency, it better pick up — and it has, I think,” Ryan said.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, New York Jets
What we learned Sunday: J.J. Watt is a beast, Steve Smith is awesome and Adam Vinatieri is ageless 09.28.14 at 8:55 pm ET
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With the Patriots set to play Monday night, here’s a quick look at what we learned around the league Sunday, mostly from a New England perspective.

1. J.J. Watt could be an MVP.

Remarkably, the last defensive player to win MVP was Lawrence Taylor in 1986, but if he continues on his current path, Houston’s J.J. Watt could certainly make a case to be the next defensive player to take home the honor. The defensive lineman had six quarterback hurries and a pass defense before picking off an EJ Manuel pass and rumbling 80 yards for the pick-six to help lift the Texans past the Bills.

Through the first three games, the Patriots offense has five touchdowns. Watt has two of his own this year, and is just the second player since the merger with a receive touchdown and interception in the same season. (Ex-Pats linebacker and current Houston assistant Mike Vrabel was the first to turn the trick back in 2005.)

2. EJ Manuel is apparently suffering from a crisis of confidence. The second-year Buffalo quarterback was apparently pretty shaken in the wake of Sunday’s loss to the Texans. Manuel ended the day 21-for-44 for 225 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Texans as the Bills lost their second straight to fall to 2-2 on the young season. To be fair, things were a little shaky around Manuel, given the fact that his offensive line was struggling, there were a couple of key drops and the fire-breathing monster known as Watt was on the other side of the ball. Coach Doug Marrone said after the game there were no plans to hand the reins to backup Kyle Orton, but the idea of jumpstarting the offense with a switch at quarterback has to be entering the minds of the Buffalo coaching staff.

3. Maybe the Dolphins weren’t as dysfunctional as we thought. The week of back-and-forth between Miami coach Joe Philbin and quarterback Ryan Tannehill ended Sunday in London, where the Dolphins absolutely crushed the Raiders, 38-14, at Wembley Stadium. Tannehill, who engaged in a weird public exchange with his coach after Philbin refused to name him the starter in the media, was an impressive 23-for-31 for 278 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Meanwhile, the Raiders, who looked good last week when they came to Foxboro and put a scare in the Patriots, were a mess. Their issues were compounded by the fact that rookie quarterback Derek Carr left the game in the third quarter, and told the media after the game that he has a high ankle sprain and sprained MCL. Yikes.

4. The Jets are in trouble. New York struggled at home against the Lions, and it was another bad outing for quarterback Geno Smith, who was 17-for-33 for 209 yards, one touchdown and one pick in a 24-17 loss to Detroit. After the game, Rex Ryan said he was standing by Smith. “I’m confident in Geno. If Geno’s healthy, then Geno Smith will start,” Ryan told reporters after the game. “I’m not gonna replace him. I feel good about Geno, and again, I think he’s gonna get it turned. He’s a tough, resilient young man, and I think we’re gonna win.” Meanwhile, it doesn’t sound like Jets fans are going to stand by Geno.

Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson told reporters after the game that fans who were booing Smith should “shut up.” Yikes.

5. Not everyone needs a punter.

Sunday’s game between the Packers and Bears was either the second or third game in NFL history without a punt. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns in the 38-17 win over Chicago. The Packers, who had been suffering from offensive inconsistency over the course of the first three games of the year, scored on their first six possessions and finished with 358 total yards on the way to their fifth consecutive victory at Soldier Field. It was a bit of a redemption for Rodgers, who told Green Bay fans to “R-E-L-A-X” this week when they started worrying about the Packers‘ 1-2 start.

6. No one knows what to make of the Steelers.

There are weeks where the Steelers look ready to crush all those who come before them. Then, there are occasions like Sunday, where they melt down in the fourth quarter and end up losing a game to a Tampa Bay team ‘€¦ that lost to the Falcons by six touchdowns a week ago. Mike Glennon hit Vincent Jackson with the game-winner with six seconds left on the way to a shocking 27-24 win over host Pittsburgh. The Steelers, who were poised to move to 3-1 with the win, fell back to .500 with the surprising last-second loss. (Pittsburgh committed a whopping 13 penalties for 125 yards.)

7. Steve Smith is never not awesome.

As promised, the gritty receiver one-upped his old team. The former Panther lit up Carolina for seven catches — including an awesome reception on a tipped ball he ended up taking for a touchdown — for 139 yards and a pair of scores on the way to a 38-10 win over the Panthers. There wasn’t “blood and guts” like he promised, but Smith, who played 13 seasons in Carolina before he was cut in the offseason, clearly enjoyed making his old team eat a little crow after the contest. “I’m 35 years old and I ran by those guys like they were schoolyard kids,” the veteran said after the game. Meanwhile, while we were all upset about the state of the Panthers’ offense, it’s worth noting that Carolina has yielded 75 points in two games.

I want to know what this kid is thinking.

8. Adam Vinatieri is some sort of superhuman.

It’s remarkable to think that the former Patriots kicker is now in his ninth season in Indy, and while the 41-year-old isn’t the kicker he once was, he’s still money when it comes to working extra points and field goals. Through four games, he’s 8-for-8 on field goal attempts and 16-for-16 on extra-point attempts, including a pair of field goals and five extra points Sunday in the 41-17 win over the Titans.

Oh, and this happened 18 years ago.

9. Chip Kelly can feel Bill Belichick‘s pain.

Philly went West on Sunday and nearly knocked off the Niners, despite the fact that the Eagles continue to have serious offensive line issues. Pro Bowl left guard Evan Mathis went down in Week 1, and with starting right tackle Lane Johnson already serving a four-game suspension, things got even worse when starting center Jason Kelce went down last week with a sports hernia. Despite those woes, Philly nearly pulled off the upset, despite the fact that the Eagles’ offense didn’t pass midfield until the fourth quarter and it had just two more first downs (five) than turnovers (three) late in the third quarter. Things should get better next week when Johnson is eligible to return from his ban, but the fact that Kelce and Mathis won’t be back until the second half of the season should provide some interesting phone conversation between BFF’s Kelly and Belichick when it comes to commiserating about their woes.

10. The Patriots are in first place.

The Bills’ loss to the Texans in Houston allowed the 2-1 Patriots to sneak into first place in the AFC East.

Read More: aaron rodgers, Adam Vinatieri, Bill Belichick, Chip Kelly
Darrelle Revis: Through three games, Patriots ‘doing great’ at limiting deep balls 09.25.14 at 3:48 pm ET
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Through three games, Darrelle Revis and the New England secondary have done well to limit deep balls. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Through three games, Darrelle Revis and the New England secondary have done well to limit deep balls. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Last week against the Raiders, some questioned the sight of Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis playing off some of Oakland’s quicker receivers, particularly James Jones, Denarius Thomas and Rod Streater. That approach may have played a role in the fact that Revis yielding five catches for 63 yards in what appeared to be man coverage.

Revis was asked Thursday after practice about giving those receivers some sort of cushion.

“Every week is a different strategy and different game plan,” he said. “Oakland did a great job of taking care of the ball as well — [David] Carr did. Every week is a different emphasis. As a secondary as a whole, deep balls will kill you. They kill any defense. Double moves in the high red area usually [means] teams go for the end zone and try and take a chance. We’ve been doing great so far, and we just have to continue to stay consistent in that area.

“[But] deep balls will kill you. Just overall. It can be a long day for a secondary, and it’ll be a longer day Monday coming in and the coaches getting after you about it,” he added. “Like I said, we’ve been doing a great job all around the board. We and the safeties have been doing a great job and alerting it in certain situations and key moments and guys have been paying attention, and we’ve been taking care of that.”

To this point in the season, the Patriots are tied for second in the league (six) when it comes to allowing the fewest pass plays of 20-plus yards. And they’re tied for the top spot when it comes to yielding the most pass plays of 40-plus yards (zero). That stands in sharp contrast to the last few seasons, where the New England secondary was usually at or near the top of the league when it came to giving up deep balls, particularly pass plays of 20 yards or more.

2013: 55 20-plus (11th), 9 40-plus (15th)
2012: 74 20-plus (1st), 8 40-plus (14th)
2011: 79 20-plus (1st), 9 40-plus (17th)
2010: 55 20-plus (7th), 4 40-plus (30th)

To this point in the season, a less aggressive approach in the secondary has yielded greater success when it comes to defending the deep ball. It’s a change from the system Revis learned as a younger player with Rex Ryan and the Jets.

“It’s a different system. It’s a totally different system,” he said when asked to stack one against the other. “Rex is more aggressive. We switch it up here. We plan man sometimes, and sometimes, we switch it up and do different things. It’s just two different things.”

Of course, you always have to bring some level of aggression to the cornerback position.
Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Rex Ryan,
Tom Brady isn’t afraid of (preseason) blitzes: ‘You figure out how to solve the problem’ 08.21.14 at 6:08 pm ET
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Tom Brady isn't afraid of a little preseason pressure from defenses as was case against Philadelphia in Week 2. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady isn’t afraid of a little preseason pressure from defenses as was case against Philadelphia in Week 2. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — As far as Tom Brady is concerned, go ahead and bring the heat, even in the preseason.

And certainly, with the Carolina Panthers coming to town Friday, the opponent certainly has the wherewithal to execute a blitz or two.

But usually, in the preseason, defensive coordinators like to hold off on showing too much on film when it comes to exotic or advanced defensive approaches. And offensive coordinators, similarly, do the same.

However, usual and customary are not two words commonly used to describe Rex Ryan. The Jets coach watched last Saturday as his defense was torched by Andy Dalton for 144 yards on 8-for-8 passing and a touchdown. His response? Start blitzing the Bengals second and third stringers along the offensive line.

Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander took some offense.

But if the Panthers want to do the same from the start against Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback says he’d have no problem with it, since there is no “wrong” defense to play, even in the third preseason game.

“They can blitz, they can do whatever they want to do,” Brady said. “Every defense is right. Like every call, there is risk and reward to everything. If they’€™re going to blitz, then you’€™ve got to figure out a way to beat the blitz. If you don’€™t fix the blitz, they’€™re just going to keep running them. It’€™s the same thing on offense.”

Then Brady got to the heart of the matter and revealed what competition is all about, even in games that don’t count.

“If you see a weakness, you’€™re just going to keep going to it, and that’€™s what separates pro-caliber players from guys who aren’€™t. There are guys who can fix problems and know that this is what a team is trying to do, and then you figure out how to solve the problem, and then they’€™ve got to work on something else. But if you know there are weaknesses, that’€™s what you go after. That’€™s what pro football is all about.

“We’€™ve got two games left, and they’€™re both very important for our season, for our preparation leading up to the opener. Coach told us we’€™re going to get a lot of work, and what that means I don’€™t know. I don’€™t think anyone ever knows with him. But we’€™ll be prepared and ready to go for 60 minutes, and hopefully it’€™s a good 60 minutes. We’€™ve had a couple doozies in the third preseason game lately, and it’€™d be nice to have a good one.”

Brady also took some time to talk about the other Ohio team, which named its starting quarterback this week, old friend and teammate Brian Hoyer, Brady’s back-up between 2009 and 2011. Hoyer was chosen as the Browns starting QB over Johnny Manziel this week by Cleveland coach Mike Pettine.

“I love Brian. He’€™s just such a great guy, person and friend. We’€™ve always kept in touch,” Brady said. “I’€™m proud of him. He’€™s fought through some tough circumstances over the years, being released here, going to Arizona, getting a little bit of an opportunity there, and then really taking advantage of his opportunity in Cleveland. It’€™s great for him, and he’€™s a great player, so I’€™m very happy for him.”

Read More: 2014 training camp, Andy Dalton, blitz, Brian Hoyer
Calvin Pace on Jets D: ‘We’re the best’ 07.28.14 at 5:48 pm ET
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Leave it to the Jets to make a Patriots off-day still worth paying attention to.

Jets linebacker Calvin Pace says his team’s defense is not only improved for 2014, but he insists it’s the best defense in football, not the defending champion Seahawks, not the vastly improved Patriots or Broncos or the young and hungry Bengals. The Jets.

“€œ[Compared to] the rest of the defenses in the NFL? S—€”, man, we’€™re the best,” Pace told the New York Daily News. “You ask anybody around the league, we’€™re not the team you want to see coming in, even in a down year.”

Why would Pace make such a statement? He believes the basis of such confidence lies in his head coach Rex Ryan.

“There’€™s a certain type of aggression when we come [play you]. You know we’€™re going to come with a lot of stuff and teams don’€™t want to see that,” he said. “They want to see a vanilla defense, that just lines up and you know where they’€™re going to be. I’€™ll take these guys and Rex and this system any day.”

Pace is hardly the first Jet to pop off this summer. After all he’s learning from the best. Ryan has already labeled David Harris the most underrated linebacker in the NFL and Ryan describing himself as ‘€œa great coach” while corner Dee Milliner says he’s the best corner in the NFL.

Read More: Calvin Pace, New York Jets, nfl, Rex Ryan
Jets coach Rex Ryan: Patriots ‘need to worry about us’ 07.20.14 at 11:16 am ET
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Sounds like Rex Ryan is back to being old Rex again.

After sounding chastened the last few years, in a series of interviews Saturday, the Jets coach sounded off about the state of the NFL, his own legacy, and where the Jets stand in relation to the Patriots.

“Somebody asked me if we focus on New England. Bull[expletive],” Ryan told the New York Post. “We’re focused on us. We’re focused on us and how are we going to be better. I have to be honest, I don’t worry about them. They need to worry about us. I think that’s really where we’re at now.”

Ryan didn’t make any Super Bowl predictions, but still sounded confident in his abilities as a head coach.

“Do I think that I’m a great coach? I absolutely know I’m a great coach,” Ryan told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “But it’s not just about me. What makes a great coach is the people that surround you, the people that are with you every day.”

Ryan, who has a 46-40 career record as a head coach and has seen his team fall short of the postseason the last three years, will lead the Jets against the Patriots twice this season — Oct. 16 in Foxboro and Dec. 21 in North Jersey.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Rex Ryan,
Rex Ryan: Idea that Patriots got copy of Jets playbook ‘ridiculous’ 06.19.14 at 4:39 pm ET
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Rex Ryan said Thursday the idea that the Patriots had gotten their hands on a Jets playbook was “ridiculous.”

The Jets coach was responding to a story in Monday Morning Quarterback where former New York assistant Mike Pettine said that during Wes Welker‘s 2012 wedding, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had bragged to former Jets assistant Mike Smith — Welker’s college roommate — that New England “may or may not have had possession of a couple Jets defensive playbooks.”

That charge didn’t sit with with Ryan.

“No. 1, I think it’s disrespectful to New England to sit back and say that they did this,” the Jets coach said. “‘Because I can tell you, every single game that we’ve ever had with New England has been decided on the field. Nobody’s had a competitive advantage. And that’s a fact. So all that type of stuff, is ridiculous.”

Pettine said that Ryan — who “would give [Jets playbooks] out like candy,” according to Pettine — gave one to Alabama coach Nick Saban, a close friend of Belichick. Pettine told Ryan, “Don’t you know Saban and Bill are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England.’”

However, Ryan wasn’t having any of it on Thursday.

“Every single game’s different. So when you go into my room … you’ll see every one of those playbooks. And if you flip [through] them, they’re a lot different each week. And it’s always gameplan-specific. So, to me, it’s ridiculous.

“But it sounds like everybody needs to talk to Pettine because apparently he’s got all the information,” he added.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Mike Pettine, Mike Smith, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady
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