Patriots look to establish 'D' vs. Jets ground attack


Patriots look to establish 'D' vs. Jets ground attack

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
FOXBORO After a humbling 34-17 beatdown at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the usually boisterous New York Jets coach Rex Ryan proclaimed that changes would be made heading into Sunday's game against the New England Patriots.

The Jets would return to their ground-and-pound, rushing attack ways.

Regardless of the loss suffered by the Jets, New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork wouldn't expect the Jets to play the Pats any other way.

"One thing we're not doing is looking at the games and saying, 'They're gonna do this. They're gonna do that.' We know the Jets better than that," Wilfork said. "They're going to come out and try and establish the running game."

Against the Patriots, can you blame them?

New England is giving up a league-high 477.5 yards per game.

And the Pats run defense, ranked 18th in the NFL, is giving up 108.8 yards this season.

But the Jets surprisingly have been among the NFL's worst rushing teams this season.

Their 71 yards rushing per game ranks 30th (out of 32 teams) this season, a far cry from Rex Ryan's first two Jets teams which ranked first and fourth in the NFL in rushing in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

That's what makes Sunday's game so intriguing for both teams.

New York is trying to get its ground attack off and running, while the Patriots are still trying to figure out how to become an effective team defensively.

"Inconsistency at times, has cost us," Wilfork said. "A handful of plays in each game really cost this defense from being a pretty good defense. We understand that. We have to keep striving for it, keep moving forward and keep getting better."

And like success, struggles can't be pinned on one player or unit.

The defensive line and linebackers aren't getting nearly enough pressure on quarterbacks, which makes the job of the defensive backs a lot tougher.

And when the pressure is there, the defensive backs aren't doing their part to make plays.

"They do what they do," Ryan said of the Patriots defense. "They force take-aways. They never ranked way up there (defensively); it's not like they're one or two in the league in defense. They're effective. They make you make mistakes. They do a great job playing the run, and they don't have the ball shot over their heads."

Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots defense has finished among the NFL's top-10 five times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008), but no higher than fourth which came in 2007 when the Pats went undefeated in the regular season before losing in Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants.

"We still have work to do," Wilfork said. "We've done things well; we've done some things not so well. What we've done well, we have to continue to get better. The things that we have to get better at, we have to do a good job of going out and correcting them."

That mentality should serve the Patriots well this week against a Jets team that hasn't played up to their Super Bowl-or-bust mentality.

"We'll get their best shot," Wilfork said. "The same guys over there, the same guys that played us last year. The same guys that beat us three of the five times we played them. This (Jets) team is definitely a good football team. Let's not get that wrong."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Clayborn beats out Seymour, Vrabel to enter Patriots Hall of Fame


Clayborn beats out Seymour, Vrabel to enter Patriots Hall of Fame

Raymond Clayborn has been voted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, beating out both Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour for the honor. The corner, who is tied for the franchise record for interceptions with Ty Law (36), will be the 26th person inducted to the Hall. 

Clayborn was a three-time Pro Bowler (1983, 1985, 1986) during his 13-year Patriots career from 1977 through 1989. He was drafted by the Patriots in the first round (16th overall) out of Texas in 1977, and chipped in both in the secondary and as a kick returner. As a rookie in the return game, he averaged 31 yards per return and brought back three for touchdowns. 

Clayborn reacted to the news on Twitter soon after the announcement was made. 

"I was fortunate to be a season ticket holder during Raymond's entire Patriots career," Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "For the first half of his career, he teamed with Michael Haynes to form one of the best corner tandems in league history. Throughout his career, Raymond was a physical, shutdown corner.

"One of my favorite memories was watching the 1985 team advance to the Super Bowl after Raymond helped us break the Orange Bowl curse when he stymied future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino with a dominant performance against Pro Bowl receivers Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. Raymond had six passes defensed and an interception to help us claim our first conference title. It was the greatest upset victory in franchise history at the time and one the entire New England region celebrated. It is a well-deserved honor and I look forward to presenting him his hall of fame jacket."

Clayborn has been a finalist for each of the last four years but was not able to generate enough support in the annual online vote to beat out Ty Law (2014 inductee), Willie McGinest (2015) or Kevin Faulk (2016). Clayborn was eligible to be voted in by the senior committee since he's now been retired for 25 years, but he did not receive the requisite eight of 10 senior committee votes to be elected in that way. 

As it turns out, he didn't need to be. When Kraft called Clayborn with the news, he said Clayborn received over 40 percent of the vote to beat out the pair of three-time Super Bowl champs. 

Kyle Shanahan: One play I regret in Falcons' collapse vs. Patriots

Kyle Shanahan: One play I regret in Falcons' collapse vs. Patriots

Remember that Atlanta Falcons offensive game plan against the Patriots in the final five minutes of the Super Bowl?

Kyle Shanahan, then the Falcons offensive coordinator and now coach of the San Francisco 49ers won't forget it. If Atlanta had simply run the ball and kicked a field goal with an eight-point lead, the Falcons would have likely held off Tom Brady and the Pats' comeback from a 28-3 third-quarter deficit.

Shanahan told The Rich Eisen Show there's one play call he'd like to have back. 

"The second-and-10 that we got sacked on,” Shanahan said. “I wish I had dialed up something differently. And then the next play, we called an option to [Mohamed] Sanu, we got right back in field goal range, but we had a holding call on the play and it knocked us out some more, and an incompletion on the next one.”

Click here for the play: Patriots defensive lineman Trey Flowers sacked Matt Ryan for a 12-yard loss. 

"I go through every single play in the game, but when it comes down to it, the big one was the sack that we had on second-and-10,” Shanahan told Eisen. 

Shanahan probably won't see the Patriots again this season, unless it's in the Super Bowl. And with the 49ers rebuilding under him, that's not likely to happen.