Here are this morning’s top stories:
Rex Ryan lights into Jets with Pats game looming – Karen Guregian
Coming off to the loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Guregian writes that Jets coach Rex Ryan reportedly “pulled a nutty on Gang Green” on Monday.
Former Jet Shaun Ellis still settling in – Ian Rapoport
As defensive lineman Shaun Ellis gets ready to face his old team, he told Ian Rapoport that having spent his entire career there, sometimes he still forgets that he doesn’t play for New York anymore.
“When (I’m) talking, they’ll be like, ‘You with us now, you ain’t over there,’ ” Ellis said, shaking his head in amazement. “Just got to retrain my whole thinking. I’d been there forever.”
Taking off on Jets – Karen Guregian
Guregian files her “notebook” this morning, which leads off with the factthat as usual Belichick downplayed the upcoming match-up against the Jets this week in a key division game during his conference call yesterday.
“Well, it’s a division game, so of course it’s a big game — all the division games are,” Belichick said during a media conference call. “This is the next one, so we’ll put everything we’ve got into this one. Then when it’s over, we’ll take a look at it, move on and put everything we’ve got into next week. Obviously, it’s an important game, we’ll do the best we can this week to maximize our preparation opportunities and be ready to go on Sunday.”
Pepper: Rush nothing to sneeze at – Karen Guregian
Guregian writes that Patriots defensive coach Pepper Johnson said yesterday that he was “more than satisfied” with what he’s seen on the field from his defense so far, particularly from his front four.
INSIDE TRACK: Patriots are such Playboys – Gayle Lee & Laura Raposa
The Gossip Queens actually have a good article this morning on tight end Rob Gronkowski and tackle titan Dane Fletcher did their part for the Playboy community by hitting the links, playing Twister and busting out their hula-hoop moves at the Wedgewood Pines Country Club in Stowe recently. There’s also a cool picture of them with the kids in this piece.
Sanchez, Jets encountering early turbulence – Greg Bedard
Bedard writes that the Jets are having their own injury issues, having been without center Nick Mangold for the last two weeks. He also writes that one AFC Scout suggested they need to blitz more, and that could be a problem with Jerod Mayo out of the line-up.
“I still don’t think the Patriots can generate pressure without blitzing,’’ the scout said. “I haven’t seen them do it yet. They don’t have a premier perimeter rusher, so they need to blitz.’’
Defense excelling in pressure situations – Monique Walker
Walker has her “notebook” this morning, which leads off with comments from Pepper Johnson, who said yesterday that they’re getting pressure defensively, they’re just not getting sacks.
“I’m watching our guys do what we’re asking them to do. We’re actually hitting the quarterback. We’re just not coming up with the sacks.
“I’m not much of a stat person. I just know how we have been affecting some throws. We’ve been getting as much pressure as we possibly can from the situations that we are in.’’
ON FOOTBALL: He was paving the way – Greg Bedard
Bedard has his “On Football” article this morning and focuses on Rob Gronkowksi, and the job he did blocking for the running game on Sunday.
Belichick: Patriots ‘looked at’ Plaxico Burress – Matt Pepin
Pepin has an article on the fact New England “looked at Plaxico Burress“, with Belichick telling the media that he’s a tough guy to defend against.
“He hasn’t played in awhile until this year and I think there’s plenty to go off of this year. He played quite a bit in preseason. Of course he’s played here during the regular season. I think kind of what we normally see from him – strong, physical guy, [who] can go up and get the ball. Even if he’s covered, he’s really not covered because he’s capable of going up and taking the ball away from the defender. [He’s] good down the field, good on the catch-and-runs [and a] hard guy to tackle.”
Tackles: LB Spikes on the rise – Mike Reiss
Reiss breaks down the coaches film and lists the number of tackles on the defensive side of the ball, and points out that Brandon Spikes has seen an increase in production recently.
What they’re saying about Jets – Mike Reiss
Reiss points out some stories out of New York on what the sports writers are saying about the Jets.
Patriots’ Pepper Johnson pleased with pressure – Rich Garven
Garven also has an article with quotes from Johnson, who said that he’s been pleased with what he’s seen as there are guys playing in new spots yet they’ve still been productive.
“We’re getting a lot of good plays and a lot of productive plays from some guys that are playing some techniques and are doing some things that they’re not normally used to doing or accustomed to doing,” Johnson said yesterday during a conference call, citing the Patriots’ transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense this season.
“It’s kind of hard teaching some old dogs new tricks, but we have some guys that are buying into the system and working at it, working hard to try to do some of the things that we ask them to do.”
Patriots: Bill Belichick won’t fill Jets’ bulletin board – Rich Garven
Garven files his “notebook” this morning, which leads off with the fact that Belichick was pretty generic with his comments yesterday, and obviously isn’t going to give the Jets anything to read about.
44 lines about 22 Patriots issues – Tom Curran
Curran has an interesting piece with some thoughts on New England’s issues, and points out that defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth hit one incentive by playing in 20 percent of his snaps after having played in 54 of 256 of them.
ATTLEBORO SUN CHRONICLE:
FARINELLA: Best yet to come in Hock – Mark Farinella
Farinella has his “ponderous thoughts” article for this morning, although there’s only a brief mention of the Patriots in this piece.
NOTEBOOK: Defensive line coach Johnson ‘a little more than satisfied’ with his players’ performance – Glen Farley
Farley files his “notebook”, which leads off with his take on Pepper Johnson’s conference call from yesterday where he talks more about the new guys getting acclimated to their new roles.
“I think the more they get acclimated, the more comfortable they play. The more comfortable they’re playing, (the) more confident (they’ll be). You start seeing guys playing a lot more aggressively,” said Johnson. “We have a lot of playmakers, we have some guys that can make some plays, so you would see a little bit more of that when guys become more accustomed to what we’re doing, what we’re asking them do.”
Q&A with Patriots defensive line coach Pepper Johnson – STAFF
The Patriot Ledger has the complete transcript of yesterday’s conference call with Patriots defensive coach Pepper Johnson.
Cease-fire in ongoing war with Jets – Paul Kenyon
Kenyon writes that there was no war of words in Foxboro so far during Jets Week.
Seasoned D-line just fine, says Pepper – Paul Kenyon
Kenyon has another take on Pepper Johnson’s comments yesterday.
That’s it for this morning. It’s a big media day in Foxboro so we’ll have updates later on.