Curran's Patriots - Jets Week 2 Preview Review

Curran's Patriots - Jets Week 2 Preview Review
September 13, 2013, 10:15 am
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FOXBORO – The Patriots are 2-0. Yay? With Shane Vereen, Zach Sudfeld and Danny Amendola down, it was ugly. The Patriots defense had its way with Geno Smith and the Jets offense but that was secondary to the issues the Patriots offense had. New England now has 10 days to get ready for the Buccaneers. They’ll need every minute to prepare, heal and get things right.

It’s probably not going to be pretty. The Jets will do what the Bills had some success doing – jamming receivers, blitzing and trying to disrupt timing. The Patriots are going to have to continue their metamorphosis to a potent, wear-you-down, run-first team, especially with the number of offensive players dinged. There will be no Shane Vereen, no Danny Amendola, probably no Rob Gronkowski. Zach Sudfeld has a bum hammy and Aaron Dobson is trying to come back from his own hamstring issue. The only skill position players who haven’t popped up on the injury report are Kenbrell Thompkins and LeGarrette Blount (Ridley has a shoulder injury and Leon Washington has a leg injury). So what, then, is the Patriots’ strength? Running the ball. And that’s what the Jets did well against in their season opener against Tampa, holding Doug Martin to 2.7 yards per carry on 24 attempts. The Jets’ 3-4 front is young – rookie end Sheldon Richardson, third-year nose tackle Kenrick Ellis (along with second-year nose Damon Harrison) and third-year end Muhammad Wilkerson. The Jets held Tampa to 250 yards of offense, forced seven punts, two fumbles and came up with a pick. Demario Davis, David Harris, Calvin Pace, Garrett McIntyre and Antwan Barnes are the key linebackers. The secondary has rookie Dee Milliner and Antonio Cromartie at the corners, Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen at the safeties. The Patriots will need to make some plays downfield and on the perimeter to get the Jets to back off and cover sideline-to-sideline. Expect New England to keep working the tear screen game to Julian Edelman and – if Dobson is good to go – take advantage of his size on the perimeter. Dobson will have to play with some intensity because the Jets’ corners will try to knock him around.
Told ya it wasn’t going to be pretty. Brady realized the only consistent option was going to be Edelman and he pounded the ball to him – 18 targets and 13 catches. He threw it 17 times combined to Dobson and Thompkins and completed just five. Brady completed no passes to running backs or tight ends and one to fullback James Develin. The Patriots went 4 for 18 on third down. They managed 232 yards of total offense. The last time I remember it looking this ugly was the shutout against the Dolphins in 2006.
Rookie Geno Smith led the Jets to the desired result last Sunday – a win – but his overall performance was spotty, especially when it came time to get rid of the ball. Smith took five sacks. While he did run six times for 47 yards, some of that was a by-product of not making it through his reads before taking off. The Patriots sat back and let EJ Manuel try to beat them with his arm. Manuel did a nice job. Smith is not known for the same type of poise, so expect the Patriots to disguise and lay back in coverage. The Jets, aside from Smith, had little success on the ground churning out 44 on 22 carries by backs Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory. With Jeremy Kerley dealing with a concussion, the wideouts the Patriots will be dealing with are the aging Santonio Holmes and second-year burner Stephen Hill. The Jets have nothing resembling the offensive potency of the Bills. New England should cause a punt-filled night.
The Jets actually ran the ball pretty well as Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell gained 100 on 25 combined carries. Smith was a step down from EJ Manuel – Smith was picked three times and sacked four times as he tried to process what he was looking at. He was also forced to throw a few away because of the Patriots pass rush. The Patriots held the Jets to 6 of 18 on third down and allowed 318 net yards.
Nick Folk buried three field goals including the game-winner for New York. The Jets punter, Robert Malone, had an 85-yarder against the Bucs. With Kerley possibly down, Clyde Gates becomes the main punt returner for the Jets. Edelman will likely be the returner on punts for New England. Stephen Gostkowski had a game-winner of his own, and rookie Ryan Allen’s day was a mixed bag with a couple of decent punts and getting an errant snap down for Gostkowski on the kicker’s first field goal of the day.
There was a total of 20 punts in the game – 11 by the Patriots. Rookie Ryan Allen had a terrific night with a 46.7 yard average and a 42.5 net (would have been better except for two touchbacks). Edelman was very good on punt returns, averaging 12 yards on his six returns. Stephen Gostkowski missed badly on a 43-yarder before the half.

The Patriots are dinged up good, but so are the Jets with 21 players listed on their injury report to start the week. Who can go and at what level will be two big determinants in this one.
Neither team looked too smooth. To say the least.

The Jets front-seven. If they can cause Brady torment and bottle up the running game, it will make things easier on the New York offense which is going to struggle to sustain drives itself.
The Patriots did a bit better this week than they did against Buffalo in terms of keeping Tom Brady out of grave danger. But the Jets did a terrific job swarming to the ball and the Patriots were in second and third and plenty for a big part of the game.

Ridley. Or, if he is not the featured back and still in the doghouse, Blount. Bottle up the running game and put the Patriots in second-and-long and the depth and inexperience of the Patriots’ targets will be in the spotlight.
The Jets run defense – a strength of their team – did a good job on Ridley, holding him to 40 yards on 16 carries.

Despite consternation over the Patriots narrow win in Buffalo and all the injuries the Pats have, New England finds a way to throw the first punch at the Jets and get Geno Smith in chase mode.

The first punch was thrown but the Patriots offensive woes caused their first touchdown – off a turnover – to be their only touchdown.

“The great part is we have a chance to do something about it. So regardless of what anyone may say to us, or think, we have a chance to prove everybody wrong or right. That’s the great part about playing professional football, is you have the chance every week to back up what you think.” – Brady on doubters of the Patriots potency.
Anyone alleging the Patriots offense was in trouble was proven right Thursday night. Don’t need a football doctorate to know that backups and rookies are going to be tough to work alongside.

“They are an extremely, extremely physical defense up front, and in the back end they are extremely smart. They know how to read routes. A lot of times they are playing zone and they are passing things off. They are constantly in good position. I’ve seen a ton of turnovers; they force a lot of turnovers. I think that’s going to be a key emphasis for us: just managing those situations, not turning the ball over and executing when we have the opportunity.” – Geno Smith on the problems posed by the Patriots defense.
Three picks for Geno. The Patriots defense came as advertised by the rookie quarterback.

Patriots 20, Jets 10
Patriots 13, Jets 10