Man for man, the New York Jets’ defense usually matches up pretty well against the New England Patriots’ offense. The X-factor, however, is communication.
Gang Green’s focus on defense, particularly in the secondary, against the Patriots Thursday is being in the right place at the right time pre-snap. If they do that, the rest will fall into place.
“I think the biggest thing for us is to make sure we match up well and when they go into the hurry-up offense, to make sure we get a call in, line up well, make sure we don’t get a quick count, and when the offense puts in different guys, just communicate on the back end as quickly as possible,” Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie said.
Brady will be without his top target in tight end Rob Gronkowski, who will sit out four to eight weeks with a broken forearm. The Patriots will certainly miss that huge target in the red zone, but Gronkowski’s injury comes just in time for the return of fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez.
“Hernandez is definitely going to be fired up to play us and he can fill in the shoes of Gronkowski,” Jets safety LaRon Landry said. “So we still need to play a ball game as if he was playing.”
Brady is having a pretty incredible season thus far, amassing 21 touchdowns to just three interceptions.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said earlier in the week that the only chance New York has against Brady and the league’s best offense, which is no slouch in the run game, either, is to throw as many different looks as possible at the future Hall-of-Famer.
“We know enough of Tom Brady to know if he knows exactly what you’re in, you are in trouble,” Ryan said. “You have to make adjustments, you have to be multiple and that’s hard to do."
“They actually slowed down their no-huddle. It hasn’t been quite as fast as it was, but we’ll see. Maybe they’ll go to that. Maybe they won’t, but against a Bill Belichick team, you have to be prepared for anything.”