Troy's Keys: Week 2 vs Jets

Troy's Keys: Week 2 vs Jets
September 11, 2013, 6:30 pm
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Geno Smith can make plays with his feet, but if the Patriots can contain the rookie in the pocket, he might be in a good bit of trouble in his second NFL start.

(AP Images)

The Patriots clawed their way to a 23-21 victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, a gritty effort that meant the difference between 1-0 and 0-1.

The final result does not, however, mask the fact that New England played sloppy football, committing three turnovers and allowing a rookie quarterback to have his ways at times with an experienced secondary, and almost failed to beat an opponent widely believed to be one of the bottom feeders in the NFL.

So improvements are highly prevalent, and highly necessary, for the Patriots as they contest their home opener against the Jets Thursday.

With the commentary on what exactly the team need to do tomorrow night to put on a quality performance and start 2-0 was ex-Patriot Troy Brown.

The former wide receiver (and emergency cornerback) started with the team's less formidable side of the ball.

"My number one key to the game is for the defense. You must contain Geno and keep him in the pocket. Make this a one-dimensional game for him," Brown said. "With the running game he has, 44 yards on 22 carries last week, do not let them beat you running the football. Make them sit in the pocket and try to beat you passing."

As maligned as the defense has been in recent years, it is not exactly a foregone conclusion that the offense will be clicking on all cylinders in every contest in 2013. The turnover at wide receiver and tight end has been much discussed this offseason and proved to be a factor in a rather disappointing showing from that unit in Buffalo.

How do the Patriots remedy what had been a consistently explosive offense in recent seasons?

It's simple, the rookies need to come of age fast.

"Boyce, Thompkins, whoever is playing in this game," Brown said. "It's time for you to step up and make some plays for Tom Brady and make him comfortable throwing you the football."

Finally, the often forgotten special teams component will play a role as well. As the adage goes, "special teams is a third of the game."

While that may be an exaggeration, with a new punter in the fray in New England, that "third of the game" will go a significant way in deciding this contest.

"The Patriots need to win the battle on special teams. Ryan Allen had a rough week last week, let's see if he can get on track," Brown said. "If this is going to be a field position game, we're going you to make some plays, some big punts in this football game."