Brady warns against complacency with Jets

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Brady warns against complacency with Jets

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick has a saying quarterback Tom Brady has repeated at press conferences before.

"The season doesn't really start until Thanksgiving," it goes.

If that's the case, New England's real work begins in just two days. The Patriots will play New York on the road Thanksgiving night. A divisional game is no easy way to start grinding out a playoff run, let alone on short rest.

"It feels different than any game you really play," Brady said Tuesday. "We're just trying to put as much as you can into it. These three or four days -- there's just no time for anything other than the Jets. You just try to watch as much film as you can. We're fortunate to have played them three weeks ago, so there's some recall from that previous game and preparation that we put in before that game, but . . . it's definitely a challenge.

"I think we're at that point where every game is bigger than the last one. It was a good win for us against Indianapolis the other night, but now we need to put together another one. This team makes it tough on you, they do quite a few things defensively and they really played us well last time."

Brady believes his teammates will manage fine -- if they stay smart.

"We're just trying to prioritize our time. We don't have much of it; we have to leave tomorrow. Hopefully, everyone is spending it wisely -- not playing video games and stuff like that -- trying to understand our plan and what we need to do," the quarterback smiled. "It's a very tough place to play -- we've always played this team very tough."

New England barely escaped the Jets' last effort, winning 29-26 in overtime. Brady has only had two games this season with a worse completion percentage (61.9) than he did in that Week 7 game. The 6.2 yards per pass is tied for his lowest of the year.

The Patriots quarterback remembers it well, and he's expecting another fight.

"Obviously we didn't execute very well. We had some opportunities that we just didn't take advantage of. And they play really well. They always seem to play us well. There's one game where we beat 'em up pretty good a few years ago, but other than that they've been tight games. That's just the way it always is against the Jets."

Rex Ryan's defense can cause problems even in the worst of times. Brady noted the array of blitz schemes and personnel groupings New York likes to throw at opponents to create chaos.

Of course, many of them are familiar to the Patriots; these two teams have faced off 21 times during Brady's tenure. But any advantage gained must be balanced against the danger of complacency -- exactly why Brady stressed the importance of this short week's work.

"I think you can maybe get lulled into a sense of confidence where, 'Oh, yeah, we know this team -- it's the Jets.' But you've got to prepare just as hard," he said. "You may know the players and some of the scheme stuff, but at the same time you have to put as much as you can into it in the short amount of time that we have.

"You just can't take anything for granted against this team. They'll have something new for us. They always do."

Rex Ryan’s erratic act is his lone consistency

Rex Ryan’s erratic act is his lone consistency

With the Bills 0-2 and sinking slowly in a morass of dysfunction last week, Rex Ryan was anything but his corny, wise-cracking, false-bravado-bringing self. He was subdued before the Bills took on the Cardinals.

Now, with the Bills having spanked Arizona and the Patriots up next, Rex is back at it with the erratic, putting forth an eyebrow-raisingly bad Bill Belichick impersonation to start the week then parachuting into a conference call with Julian Edelman posing as a Buffalo News reporter.

He’s the guy at the house party knocking over the chips and drinks at 9 p.m. and wondering where the motherscratching karaoke machine is because he wants to SING!!

Asked to account for the behavior change from last week to this, Rex’ verbatim response was a look into his addled mind.

“I was still myself, I think just part of it. This week, look guys, we know who we’re playing. When you look at the ESPN deal, I think they’re ranked number one---I don’t know. Like I said, they’re number two, but I don’t think we’re ranked number one so---look, we know the task is going to be a big one. The quarterback thing, yeah you got to be prepared and you actually have to be prepared for three different guys. They’re no dummies, they’re leaving it out there, they can know who it is, I get it. They’re certainly not going to do us any favors.”

Give that a quick re-read.

My verbal syntax and wandering trains of thought aren’t evidence of an ordered mind either, so I do empathize with Rex. But neither am I the head coach of one of 32 entries in the NFL, a pretty high-profile league in which an ordered presentation from the guy in charge is usually a positive.

I spoke at length with Tim Graham – who really does work for the Buffalo News – during our Quick Slants Podcast this week.

Rex’ constant insistence on his own authenticity feels to me like a misdirection. He chooses who he’s going to be and how he’s going to be each week. That’s the only consistent thing about him, other than the fact that he is an eminently likable guy specifically because he is so vulnerable.

 For a guy that wants to projecting an image of a guy who just doesn’t give a s***, he spends a lot of time thinking about this stuff.  

“I learned a long time ago, you got to be yourself in this league and that [acting like Bill Belichick] wouldn’t have worked,” Ryan explained. “If I tried to be like Bill Belichick that would never work for me, just like, not that he ever would, but if he’s going to try to be like somebody else, that ain’t going to work for him. And so, at least one thing we have in common is the fact that we know you better be yourself in this league and look, I think it’s hilarious when he’s on there because that’s who he is but it’s great and he does it better than anybody else. Some guys that try to copy that style, they’re phonies. Belichick does it, that’s who he is. [Gregg] Popovich is probably the closest thing in the NBA. Like those guys are classics but that’s who they are and they’re fantastic and I think the record speaks for itself but you talk about a consistent guy, Bill Belichick is the most consistent guy there is and I try to be consistent, albeit in a much different way.”

Consistent in his inconsistency. Great fun at parties. No way to go through life as an NFL head coach.

 

Patriots have perfect attendance at Thursday walkthrough

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Patriots have perfect attendance at Thursday walkthrough

FOXBORO -- The Patriots opted to have a walkthrough on Thursday, an in-season rarity for Bill Belichick's club. 

The low-key session makes sense, though. Because the team practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, it will still have two practices under its belt, as it usually does every week. Now, instead of having just one walkthrough on a Friday, as the Patriots do typically, they'll have had two. 

All players were present for the on-the-field work, including quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. Members of the media were only able to watch the team walk onto the field, and they were treated to a fashion show of sorts. Bill Belichick stood out with his hooded sweatshirt, as did Jamie Collins, who for some reason wore plastic bags around his gloves. Practice squad defensive lineman Geneo Grissom brought a bit of a business casual look to the field, sporting a collared shirt under his sweatshirt.