Clearing The Air:
* I don’t know why Jet’s Safety Kerry Rhodes felt the need to add some more fuel to an already scorching fire, but Thursday morning I awoke to “breaking” news of Rhodes ranting about embarrassing Tom Brady and the Patriots this Sunday in East Rutherford, NJ. If Kerry Rhodes is going to “embarrass” us like the picture above or the epic last second Randy Moss touchdown that he just gawked at last year, then I’m all for it. Who can he actually embarrass as a safety?
* I wont drag this out, but here are just some FACTS (a word some one should kindly teach the Jets, along with RESPECT)
o Since Kerry Rhodes has been playing Jet football, the Patriots are 7-2 against them; not to mention carrying out an 8-game winning streak in the Jet’s house… or Giants Stadium.
* I’ll be the first to say, Rhodes is a good safety. Facts, however, say that his tackles have dropped from 80 tackles and 20 assisted tackles to a little more than 80 combined. From 2006-07 he average 4.5 interceptions, and in one of their better seasons (2008) he had 2.
o For some one talking about hitting Tom Brady more than six times, he has only recorded 3 sacks in the past two years after recording 5 in 2006 alone. Last year he also had no forced fumbles, slightly down from his previous average of 2.5 a season.
o And in my opinion, one of the biggest stats of them all: Passes Defended: 13 in ’06, 10 in ’07, and a mere 5 in ’08. Just sayin’.
* We’re all familiar with Rex Ryan’s new trash-talk first strategy and how he isn’t going to kiss Hoodie’s rings and isn’t intimidated by us. The fact of the matter is that humility is preached to the Patriots and at very least appear to respect their opponents. So it would be nice for the rookie head coach and his brash-mouthed boys to do the same. I was born to not like the Jets and it’s taking every bit of energy to not start cursing and resorting to my Jet-bashing instincts. But I wont, because like my colleagues, friends, and the Patriots-we know who the better team is. Just sayin’.
* On Monday, after the 24-7 romping of the Houston Texans, nose tackle Kris Jenkins said, “We’re going to be playing this game like it’s the Super Bowl.”
* “Talk is cheap [...] They can treat it however they want to treat it,” Tom Brady said. “We’re going to treat it like we treat every game and we’re going to put everything we have into it. It’s not the Super Bowl. It’s not. That doesn’t get played until February. But it’s as important as they come, in terms of our division and what that means in our place in our division.”
* I heard this quote after I finished writing this article and it just further proves my point about respect and humility:
“I think we follow the lead of our head coach. I think because we feel a certain way, we don’t necessarily need to tell everybody about it. I mean, we’re confident. We have as much confidence as most teams in the league. No matter what you say on a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday, it doesn’t matter much. I think our execution is what’s most important, and that’s what we choose to focus on.” -Tom Brady
* The Blood Traitor: Even if it wasn’t his choice, former Patriot and backup QB Kevin O’Connell is now a Jet. This, with no doubt, was Rex Ryan’s way of getting a little insight into the Patriots playbook. You can’t explain to me why, with a headline QB in Sanchez, a backup Kellen Clemens, and a stellar performance from Erik Ainge in the preseason, they felt urgency to trade for little-old Kevin other than information.
“Well, we’re going to release him after this game,” Ryan said as reporters laughed. “No, I’m just kidding.”
You’d think a bunch of grown men would act like grown-ups…
The World Renowned Weekly Match-ups:
* Rex Ryan’s Blitz Schemes vs. Bill Belichick’s Blocking Schemes – Rex Ryan will be sure to utilize double-teams on the massive Kris Jenkins, who will be playing in his fantasy Super Bowl, to allow the linebackers to blitz in more often. It will be up to Dan Koppen-a-Feel to try and manage Jenkins by himself so that the rest of the blockers can manage Bart Scott and David Harris. Expect Kevin Faulk and Ben Watson to get some nice time blocking the Jet’s new pass rush.
* Tom Brady vs. The Jet’s Defense – Brady will have his work cut out for him passing with Jim Leohnard and Kerry Rhodes over the top and Darrelle Revis and Lito Sheppard at CB. Hopefully the O-Line can hold up the heavy pass rush in order to buy him time so slice and dice. Tom cannot perform in the first half the same way he did during Week 1 and I don’t think that he will. The jitters are out and the offense should all be on the same page.
* Darrelle Revis vs. Randy Moss – Revis limited All-Star wideout Andre Johnson to just 35 yards receiving last Sunday and that just won’t cut it for Moss this weekend. We all remember Revis as a rookie vs. Moss’ first time as a Patriot: Moss burnt him and 2 others for a 51-yard tochdown bomb. But I don’t expect this weekend to be such a walk in the park. Revis has become a prime-time cornerback and should give Moss a tough time. I’m going to say that Moss has 7 catches for 65 yards and one touchdown.
* Patriots Run Defense vs. Leon Washington – Leon Washington is a back with a lot of potential for explosiveness. He’s quick. He’s strong. He’s good. It’s up to a good D-Line rotation with fresh legs and confidence in the linebacking corps to stuff him at the line and take away the Jet’s running game. If the Patriots can limit the run, Mark Sanchez will be forced to take it to the air.
* Mark Sanchez vs. A Real NFL Game/Patriots Defensive Line – Not to downplay the Texans because they have a real good team there, but his game just has way more hype, side-stories, and expectations. The Jets are even calling it their Super Bowl, remember? Anyway, now we get to see how Sanchez fares against one of the biggest football rivalries. Rodney Harrison expects the Jets’ remarks to rile up the boys and make the game-time tension even higher. Against the Bills, the Patriots pass rush was minimal when only bringing pressure from four men. If the d-line can muster up a better pass rush on their own and get to Sanchez early, it will most likely throw the newcomer off balance. Also, if the d-line can bring sufficient pressure, when linebackers blitz in it will be lights out for Marky boy. Mangold, Faneca and company will hopefully have their hands full with Wilfork, Wright, Thomas, Green and Burgess.
* The Unspoken Battle – Whether the Patriots will acknowledge it or not, they want to shut the Jets mouths and stuff their words back down the throats they came out of. No one takes blatant disrespect lightly. When words like “embarrass” are used, it gets personal. Bill Belichick will dig deep into the playbooks and pull out ways to get under the Jets’ skin and confuse both sides of the line of scrimmage. Rex Ryan has said he’s not intimidated by the Hoodie, but he also has never felt the heat of the Jets-Patriots rivalry. Maybe the 1-0 rookie coach should be a little more worried about the 154-90, 2x NFL Coach of the Year, 4x AFC East, and 3x Super Bowl Champion coach. Maybe he should have been more careful about trash-talking the Patriots organization. When people disrespect Bill Belichick, they end up getting embarrassed-not the other way around. But that’s apparently just the way Rex Ryan is… and Sunday we’ll see just the way the Patriots are.
Tags: Pre-Game Meal