FOXBORO -- New England got facing a Mike Pettine defense out of the way early by opening 2013 against Buffalo. But meeting the Jets won't necessarily be easier because the old coordinator is gone. Rex Ryan has taken control of the defensive play calling. And he's off to a good start.
The Jets let Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman complete just 15 of 31 passes in New York's 18-17 Week 1 win. Freeman also fumbled in the end zone and matched his lone touchdown with an interception.
Did I mention he was sacked four times, once in the end zone for a safety?
"How they defend you and how they defended the team before or the opponent after is all based on how he sees the matchups and what he wants to do," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday. "There’s certainly going to be some in-game adjustments that we’ll have to make, I’m sure, in all three phases of the game based on how they specifically want to try to attack us."
Of course, no one is comparing Josh Freeman and Tom Brady.
The Patriots quarterback was sacked twice by the Bills, took seven hits, and had a mere 55.8-percent completion rate. But what he did manage was a beautifully orchestrated 6-for-6 passing drive that got Stephen Gostkowski in range for the game-winning field goal.
That's the thing about numbers. Brady has a career 63.62 completion percentage against the Jets. He's also won 17 of 22 games played against them. New York has lost in the last four meetings and Rex Ryan is only 1-4 at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots will study film from Josh Freeman and Tampa's failings against the Jets. But given Ryan's penchant for specific game planning, that tape may not be New England's focus.
"From week to week in the game plans, they have quite a bit of variety as to how they want to play one team versus how they want to play another team," Belichick said. "I don’t think you really know that until the game starts. You can try to anticipate it, but it’s just an educated guess."
Fundamentals of a Jets defense look similar to those of old, the coach noted. Seeing as the Patriots offense is unchanged at its roots with Brady, is that a good thing for Ryan? Or not?