Pettine told a story of how, at Wes Welker’s wedding, Tom Brady bragged a little bit to Jets outside linebackers coach Mike Smith, who was Welker’s college roommate, that the Patriots may or may not have had possession of a couple Jets defensive playbooks. “It didn’t shock me because Rex would give them out like candy anyway,” Pettine says. “He gave one out to [Alabama coach Nick] Saban and I was like, ‘Don’t you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England.’”
A Pats-Jets Q & A with Joe Caporoso of TurnontheJets.com
As has become tradition, each Pats-Jets week we do an email back-and-forth with Joe Caporoso of TurnontheJets.com. You won’t find a better football blog or more knowledgeable writer than Joe and it’s always insightful when we pick his brain.
First up, Joe’s questions to me, Mike D about the Pats….
How have New England’s rookie wide receivers been coming along since their struggles in week 2 against the Jets?
There’s no other way to describe them than up and down. Dobson had his best game of the season against the Saints, leading the team with six catches for 63 yards. Still, he had an offensive pass interference and a couple drops, including a really bad one on fourth down late in the game that probably should’ve meant a loss for the Pats.
Thompkins has had 21 catches and four touchdowns on the season, but last week was the first time he’s played less than Dobson. Obviously the game-winning touchdown stands out from last week, but there was also one catch where he basically just fell down after making the catch.
Both have had their moments, but it hasn’t been a clear “each week they’re better” progression. Really, they’re inconsistent from snap-to-snap, much less game-to-game. Still, the Pats continue to put them out there and the good plays are starting to outnumber the bad ones, but each snap is an adventure and I think that will continue vs. the Jets.
How do you expect the front seven to hold up without Wilfork and Mayo? Who will New England be looking to step up in their void?
In what is becoming a yearly tradition, we’re excited to do another Q & A with the fantastic Jets blogTurn on the Jets' Editor-in-Chief Joe Caporoso. You won't find better insight on the Jets anywhere else.
First, I pick Joe’s brain on the Jets…
Mike D.: We saw Pettine’s Bills defense give the Patriots offense problems and his experience with the Jets clearly gave him an advantage. Rex knows how to play Brady, and how to mix man and zone coverage to make him hold the ball that extra second. Who are the new and returning impact players in the front seven that will be coming after Brady?
Joe Caporoso: The Jets have assembled one of the best young defensive lines in football. Muhammad WIlkerson is an elite 3-4 defensive end and rookie Sheldon Richardson looked terrific in his debut, showing athleticism and versatility. They are missing Quinton Coples as a presence off the edge but newcomer Antwan Barnes has added some juice there. A pleasant surprise has been the emergence of second year player Damon Harrison at nose tackle, who looked like a strong compliment to Wilkerson and Richardson in week one. The Jets still lack overall speed at linebacker but they generate pressure up the middle with their defensive line.
MD: What were you most surprised and disappointed with in the regular season debut against the Bucs?
JC: Surprised? I’d say Geno Smith. He exceeded my expectations by improving dramatically in the second half and playing with an encouraging amount of confidence and intelligence. Smith is going to have to rookie growing pains and will make his mistakes but he is going to make his share of plays as well. Disappointed? Chris Ivory and the running game, which struggled all pre-season and was very weak in week 1. The Jets need a consistent running game to support Smith and we’ve seen no signs of it yet.
PatsPropaganda is written and edited by Mike Dussault, a card-carrying Belichickian. He has a soft spot for hard core X's and O's, and believes in "throw to score, run to win", low pad level, and touchdown celebrations that last two weeks.
He is a Patriots Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report, and his work has been featured on FoxSports.com, Yahoo Sports, and SI.com. He also co-hosts the weekly PatsPropaganda & Frenz Podcast with Bleacher Report's AFC East Editor Erik Frenz.
PatsPropaganda was TruFan.com/CSNNE's 2011 winner for Best Patriots Blog.
He can be contacted at PatsPropaganda [at] gmail.com
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