By Danny Picard
FOXBORO -- If there was ever an example of NFL teams taking on the personality of their head coaches, then look no further than the New England Patriots and New York Jets. Both are 9-2. Both are thriving under their current leaders.
And while the records may be the same, both teams have a different style off the field.
The Patriots talk. But they don't necessarily fuel the fire. If they're the clear-cut favorites, they give all the praise in the world to the underdog. If they're the underdog, they certainly aren't allowing their bulletin-board material to leak into the press.
The same can't necessarily be said for the Jets, who, since the preseason, when they were featured on HBO's hit series "Hard Knocks," have been talking the talk, both on and off the field.
But say what you want about Rex Ryan's loudmouth squad. At 9-2 and atop the AFC East entering Monday night's showdown with Bill Belichick's Patriots at Gillette Stadium, they're walking the walk.
So all the "talk" doesn't necessarily frustrate New England. Because they know where it comes from.
"I mean, that's there from the coach," said Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch before Tuesday's practice. "The head coach pushes that out there. Ryan is a good head coach. His guys respond to the things that he does. And they have the right to be that way. What are they, number one, number two in the league in defense?
"I think your team resembles your coach. And I think we're a resemblance of what Coach Belichick is."
Ryan said on Monday that as much as he respects and admires Belichick, he "came here to kick his ass."
In pure Belichick form, the Patriots' coach responded to Ryan's comments.
"Sure, that's understandable," said Belichick on Tuesday. "There's no love lost out there between the two teams. We both want to win. That's what we're here for . . . Is that a big story? Is that something we didn't know? The Jets want to win the game?"
In fact, it's not that big of a story. None of it. Not the Jets talking trash. Not the Patriots responding to the trash talk in a respectful, "we'll show it on the field" style.
Both teams have taken on the identity of their coach. And it's fair to say that it's working for everyone.
"It starts from, I guess you could say, from the top down," said Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington prior to Tuesday's practice. "Rex is very outgoing, and they don't have a problem with that. I guess we're more of an internal team. Every team has its own personality."
"That's the nature of the Jets," said Patriots veteran tight end Alge Crumpler. "They're going to do what they do. They take after their coach, they play well. We take after our coach, and we play well."
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard