Apparently the Patriots’ season will continue. It seemed hard to tell after last week’s devastating loss to the Colts, which felt like some sort of crashing end to the season. A little reflection and time to heal finds that is not the case. The season continues. All the Patriots goals are still in front of them. They have another opponent this week. They’re on track to win the division. Life, and the NFL, continues. So here we are writing another “First Impressions” ready to move on, just as hopefully the Patriots are.
This week’s matchup between the Jets and Patriots finds the Jets crying like they just won the Super Bowl. Oh, wait, according to them they did in week 2 when they knocked off the Patriots in New York 16-9. This week, however, having lost 5 of 6, the Jets come in to Foxboro a lot quieter than they were in week 2. Their record stands at 4-5. The Patriots are 6-3. A win here by the Patriots would basically whatever remote hope the Jets have of capturing the division. The Jets are good on defense, number 3 in the league according to yardage. Their problem has been offense and, occasionally, special teams. As good as their defense has been for the most part, even they have let at least two teams, Miami and Jacksonville, drive down the length of the field on them for wins as time expired. With all the trash talking this essentially mediocre team did early in the year, you can be sure nothing will help the Patriots refocus after the tough loss to the Colts than a home game versus the Jets.
Edwards is a very talented receiver the Jets acquired from Cleveland in early October. Since that time, Edwards has had his moments but has been far from great. His career-long trend of drops of easy balls has continued. A free agent at the end of the year, one wonders what the Jets really thought they were getting. Yes, he’s talented. But for the most part he has underachieved throughout his career and the drops are at times just killers for his team. This past week he plead not guilty to assault charges stemming from an incident that occurred his last week in Cleveland. There is a phrase for players like Edwards. Coach killers. These are guys who tease the coach with their talent, but ultimately never live up to their potential and let the team down on the whole. Seems to sum up Edwards perfectly. He does have a pretty cool website though even if his webmaster doesn’t realize they playing New England this week, not Oakland.
Jones is a workhorse type back for the Jets and probably their best player on offense right now. He leads the Jets #1 ranked rushing attack and has averaged 4.6 yards per carry. The truth is, quarterback Mark Sanchez just isn’t a very good player yet. But he can be acceptable if the Jets keep him out of difficult situations. They use Jones and rookie running back Shonn Greene to do so. The Patriots stopping Jones is basically the key to this game. If they can keep him from consistently getting four plus yards and putting Sanchez in maneageable situations, they should have little trouble slowing down the Jets offense.
The 25 year old DeVito is a local kid from Wellfleet, Mass. who played his college ball at the University of Maine where he was a teammate of Patriots safety Brandon McGowan. DeVito this year is playing more due to injuries on the Jets defensive line and playing pretty well against the run. He can play both end and nose tackle and does a very solid job as a run stuffer in both areas. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he plays hard and has been pretty effective for the Jets particularly in recent games. With his increased playing time, local kid makes good and returns home to play is the story of the weekend as far as DeVito goes.
Scott is an overrated linebacker whose mouth makes a lot more noise than the quality of his play. Its not that he’s a bad player, he is decent. He has one Pro Bowl under his belt, though it came as an injury replacement for his old teammate Ray Lewis who he has had the luxury of playing next to most of his career, as well as other quality linebackers. Scott likes to talk, but I mean why? When you think the Pistons are going to win the East this season maybe you are better of just remaining quiet than opening your mouth and removing all doubt you’re an idiot. On the field, one of Scott’s problems is he makes stupid mistakes in critical mistakes in big situations. He’s an emotional player, but that emotion rarely translates into big plays. And here is the thing with Scott, for the 6 year $48 million dollar deal the Jets handed him, they had to expect they’d get some big plays. He’s a veteran. He came in with a knowledge of Head Coach Rex Ryan’s defense. They had to expect he’d be a playmaker. So what have they gotten? No interceptions, no forced fumbles, no passes defensed, no fumbles recovered. They did get one sack so far. A single sack. And that has to be disappointing. And makes Scott, at least at the early stages of his mega-deal, just another Jet who talked more than he was able to produce.
Smith will probably start at safety for the Jets with regular starter Jim Leonhard probably out. Smith has started 10 games in his 4 seasons, so its not like he’ll totally be out of place. But with Leonhard out and fellow safety Kerry Rhodes having a subpar year, the middle of the field could be an area of the field the Patriots really exploit. Look for a variety of crossing patterns and perhaps some deep posts. Wes Welker could have a big game and Ben Watson may be able to get down the seam a bit. Smith is a solid player as a backup and a very good special teams player, but as a starter it seems this is a weak spot in the Jets defense the Patriots will try to find.
As top notch a corner as there is in the league. One of the best things Eric Mangini did for this franchise while he was in New York was make a push to move up to get this cornerback. The results have been excellent and Revis has become a true shutdown corner. Last time versus the Patriots Revis got the better of his matchup with Randy Moss. With Wes Welker out of the lineup, it freed up the safeties to give a bit of over the top help, allowing Revis to play a little more aggressively tight. Not to mention the crowd noise hindered the Patriots offense getting off the line some. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the best of this matchup in Foxboro with Moss playing well and Welker back and also playing well and taking attention of the Jets secondary more than his replacements did back in September.