By: Ian Logue
The Jets may have lost two in a row, but that doesn’t seem to be affecting their confidence coming into Sunday’s game.
Defensive end Mike DeVito expects New York to shut down the NFL’s top rated offense when they come into Gillette Stadium this weekend.
“I think we can completely shut them down. That’s what we’re going to go in there to do,” said DeVito. “If you’re not going in there thinking that, you’re thinking the wrong thing. We have the defense and we have the players, so we’re going in there trying to shut down this offense.”
Jets coach Rex Ryan seemed upbeat yesterday, and according to what he said during his press conference, his team appears to be rising to the challenge of playing in New England and avoiding a 3-game skid. He told the New York media yesterday that the team had the best practice they’ve had all season, and he’s encouraged by what he’s seen.
Rex Ryan says his team had their best practice of the year this week. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
“Great practice today,” said Ryan. “I tell it the way it is. Last week I said we had a poor practice on Friday with the offense. We had a poor game. Today might have been our best practice we’ve had all year, so I’m encouraged by that.”
When asked what made it so “great”, Ryan responded, “No mentals. Very few mental mistakes. Guys were bouncing around. We just looked crisp and we looked sharp out there. Great communication.”
A lot of talk this week has centered around stopping Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and their high-powered offense, which has been their strength through the first four games as their defense continues to get acclimated to the scheme changes being implemented. That leaves them trying to figure out a way to slow down #12, which Ryan says entails playing something other than “standard coverage”.
“I think it’s really a team deal,” explained Ryan. “I know it looks like it’s just defense. But it’s your offense, as well. You want to put him in situations where maybe he’s more careful with the football than he has to be or might normally be because we have a chance to control the game with our offense. I don’t know what it is. If you just play standard coverage against him, you got no chance, I mean zero. You better hope for a hurricane or something — might be your only chance. Quite honestly, I’ve been on the sideline wishing there was a hurricane because he’s that kind of guy. He’s as good as it gets right now.”
Obviously they had plenty of success with throwing Brady off back in January when they came into Gillette Stadium and knocked the Patriots out of the playoffs. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine knows they dealt New England quite a blow that afternoon, and he’s guessing they spent plenty of time this offseason making sure they’re better prepared for them this time around.
“I have a feeling that there were more than a few days in Foxboro spent — whether it was over the lockout or whether it was since the season started — preparing for our defense, knowing that we had success against them in the playoff game,” said Pettine. “Again it’s a challenge for us. We’ve got to make sure that we kind of forge ahead with some new things, but at the same time not get away from what’s been successful against them in the past.”
This game doesn’t hold the same implications as their last meeting, but this is certainly the type of game that could end up being important to both teams later in the year since it could potentially be a key division win for either club.
That leaves most fans wondering if this will be either a silmilar showing to the one we witnessed in December in a 45-3 nationally televised beating that New England put on them, or if we’ll instead see a big performance from Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez as he looks to bounce back from a miserable start last weekend.
Albert Haynesworth may return on Sunday for the Patriots. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
The good news about this meeting – if all goes well of course – is that New England may potentially have some additional help defensively Sunday, with Albert Haynesworth potentially being part of the mix on the defensive line. He’s practiced the last couple of days (as has Mike Wright) which should allow them some additional flexibility moving guys into different spots while making things a little tougher on Sanchez this time around.
Hopefully things are different in this meeting, and when asked if they could use the same blueprint for this game, Ryan said that the plan will change, but the mentality and attitude won’t.
“No, but I think it’s still the same kind of mentality,” said Ryan. “You’ve got to change your coverages, your fronts, your blitzes. They’re running the ball more so they can say, “Well, chase ’em out of this. OK, go ahead.” We’ve got to dial in run blitzes, do different things like that. That’s who we are and that’s how we’ll play.”
As Sunday continues to creep closer, Ryan knows that dropping to 2-3 on the year is something they don’t want to do, and getting back on the right track starts Sunday for his football team.
“We have to get it,” said Ryan. “And it’s still not a cop out because we have to get it fixed in a hurry. You’re playing the number one team in your division. You need to get it fixed right now.”
If all goes well, hopefully it will stay broken for at least another week.