Little time for Tom Brady, Patriots to plan for Jets' defense
FOXBORO, Mass. -- When it comes to Patriots-Jets, familiarity has usually bred contempt.
Having only three days to prepare for tonight's Thanksgiving tilt in MetLife Stadium, familiarity breeds a bit of confidence for the Pats, who can rely somewhat on having faced the Jets a month ago. But it only goes so far.
"I think you can maybe get lulled into a sense of confidence that 'Oh yeah, we know this team. It's the Jets,' " Tom Brady said Tuesday. "But, you've got to prepare just as hard. You may know the players and know some of the scheme stuff, but at the same time, you have to put as much as you can into it in the short amount of time that we have. You just can't take anything for granted against this team. They'll have something new for us; they always do."
The Pats have less time to prepare for whatever Rex Ryan will throw at them defensively, but it goes both ways -- the Jets may not have had much time to devise new schemes to throw Brady off his usual track.
Ryan said this week that his coaches had prepared during the Jets' bye week two-plus weeks ago for this shortened stretch. Bill Belichick gave no such hints that he and his staff had scheduled extra study time for the Jets, but rest assured, he probably did something similar.
"If we were going to show 40 plays, maybe we show 10 or 15 in that particular situation this week. We just don't have time," Belichick said. "But again, we're not going to reinvent the game here. They'll give us a couple looks that are a little different from what they've shown."
The Pats' preparation would have already been a bit off, given that tight end Rob Gronkowski (broken arm) is out. The Pats are deep at that spot, though, and could get Aaron Hernandez (sprained ankle) back from him missing the last three games. He was a limited participant in the team's two practices this week. But no Gronkowski leaves the Patriots not only without Brady's top scoring target, but also without one of their better blockers, something Hernandez is less adept at doing.
They will also face a rejuvenated Jets defense that has looked better in recent games, starting with the 29-26 overtime loss to the Pats on Oct. 21.
"They played us in our game as well as any defense we've faced all year," Brady said. "They limited us offensively in what we did; we didn't do much. They looked like the same Jet defense to me like they always have. They're very good, disruptive, physical, tough, smart."
Three days for Pats-Jets has left this week a bit of a letdown in the trash talk department. Brady warned against letting down in the shortened preparation time.
"There's a lot to prepare for, so it will really test our mental toughness and see what we're all about," Brady said. "Hopefully everyone is spending their time wisely, not playing video games and stuff like that, trying to understand our plan and what we need to do."