FOXBORO -- The Patriots know what's coming from the Jets defense Sunday night. Cornerbacks up in the faces of New England's wide receivers, one safety playing centerfield and an intense effort to mess up the timing of every single pass play. Meet the press (coverage). "We been playing them for a long (time)," said Deion Branch. "We know exactly what they're gonna do. That's the game. They play Cover-1 (one deep safety), that's what they do, that's where we gotta be." As the season's worn on and opposing defenses have seen the nature of the Patriots' offensive leanings -- bang it to Welker and Branch on underneath and routes in the flat and hit tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in the seam -- the counter has been to apply more pressure. The Patriots haven't shown an ability yet to have a receiver beat the press and run past that one deep safety to make defenses pay. So the press coverage continues. But Branch bristles at the suggestion the New England offense is struggling the past few weeks. "I'm trying to understand what you mean (about struggling the past few weeks)," he said in response to a reporter's question about diminishing passing yards. "Where are we ranked? Our offense? What do we rank? Our job is to go out and execute our plays. Somebody pressing, that don't make any difference. Everybody press. Every game. That's what it is."For the record, the Pariots are second in total offense, averaging 437.3 yards per game.They have the most productivepassing attack by yards per game (325.6). But the Jets are going to be a tough matchup. They've won three straight since the Patriots beat them a month ago. They harassed the face off of Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, forcing him into a 15 for 31 day with 191 yards and two picks. The key is corner Darrelle Revis who will probably be asked to mark Welker frequently. "He's a great player," said Welker."Fast, patient, strong. He does a lot of good things and he's a smart football player. You have to come up with creative ways to attack him."Jets corner Antonio Cromartie pointed out this week that thekey to slowing the Patriots is knocking Welker around. Every team is starting to notice that if you bang him around, their timing is knocked off, Cromartie said."It's a physical game," Welker said Friday. "That's the way it's supposed to be played. You just gotta be ready for it and make sure you're being physical out there and playing the way you need to."Welker says there's an art to breaking free of jams. "A lot of the routes are won at the line of scrimmage so you're always trying to find little things about a guy that he does and really be on top of it and that you're attacking what he's trying to do to you," said Welker. The Patriots wideout studies both the corners and what other wideouts do. There's a lot to process. "You just watch film on different guys and pick up different stuff and see things," said Welker. "You try it, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Inside releases, outside releases, inside leverage, outside leverage. (You need to combine all the factors). You're not going to be 100 percent (in beating it)."Said Brady, "The Jets have done this for years against every team so it's probably the thing they do best. Get up to the line of scrimmage and force your guys to get off the line of scrimmage and into their route. It's important this week, it's important every week they decide to do it and if they do, you gotta make them pay."We'll see what the cost ends up being on Sunday night.
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