2009 Week 2 - Jets vs Patriots Photos
Jets head coach Rex Ryan knows how to prepare for an opponent. In looking ahead to the matchup with the Patriots, rather than choosing to stack the line, he decided to concentrate on the Pats' strongest point — the pass.
"It's the style we adopted and we go out and practice it and we just execute it at game time," CB Drew Coleman told newyorkjets.com on Monday. "It's nothing new to us."
Before the game the Jets deactivated DE Mike DeVito, DT Howard Green and DE Ropati Pitoitua, all of whom played in the opener at Houston, not because they were unable to play but to make room for some of the Jets' talented DBs in an effort to counter Tom Brady's ability to get the ball to his receivers.
The week before against Buffalo, Brady tied his career high with 39 completions. But Ryan wouldn't have that happen to his team on its home turf as he sent an assortment of blitzes at the three-time Super Bowl winner.
"We were going to go in there with 10 DBs," said Ryan. "We needed the corners, we thought. As it worked out, it's a good thing we had them up because we needed every one of those guys.
"If you can bring three to get there, great. Four, five, six, seven, eight, whatever it takes, we thought we had to do that. You can't let Tom Brady be comfortable back there."
Brady was limited to 23 completions on 47 attempts, and wide receiver Randy Moss was held in check by Darrelle Revis.
And as a group, the Jets DBs, who are often put in 1-on-1 matchups because of Ryan's heavy blitzing schemes, were more than up to the task, racking up six pass deflections and one interception as a group.
"The defense is all about everyone doing their own assignment. That's what it comes back to," said Coleman. "If everyone's doing their own assignment, something good is going to happen."
Two of the frontline DBs, starting CB Lito Sheppard and nickelback Donald Strickland, had to come out of Sunday's victory with injuries and the reserves had to step up.
And they did in a big way. Sheppard, who forced the Pats to settle for a field goal after knocking the ball out of Joey Galloway's hands in the end zone but left with a strained quad, was replaced by Dwight Lowery, who sealed the "W" on the Pats' last offensive play of the game with a pass breakup on Brady's fourth-and-10 pass.
After Strickland, who racked up six tackles, came out in the third quarter with a sprained ankle, Coleman went in to make three tackles. Eric Smith, playing what the Jets call the "X" position in the dime, came through with a hit on Brady, a PD and three tackles.
"There was a lot of moving around. Everyone had to communicate and go back to fundamentals, just play football," said Coleman. "We knew they were going to make some plays but fortunately we did enough to keep them out of the end zone."
When WR Wes Welker (knee) was listed as inactive 90 minutes before the start of the game, Brady's receiving options figured to be more limited. But the Patriots received production from rookie wideout Julian Edelman, who as a pro had caught only six passes in the first two preseason games prior to his eight-catch, 98-yard performance Sunday.
Coleman said the defense didn't underestimate him for one second.
"That's the whole mentality," he said. "Brady's a good quarterback so we knew he was going to make good throws and we know they didn't have No. 11 in that slot for nothing. They must have known he could do something and with that system it's just a matter of time before Brady gets poised and starts trying to work away and get a little extra time to work away."
But the Jets' defense kept their focus and stuck to their game plan.
"It's definitely exciting when you know you can rattle arguably the best quarterback, and we know other teams are going to look at that," said Coleman. "Even though we didn't get a sack, we got 23 hits on him and we rattled him. He didn't make the clutch throws that he usually makes. It was definitely exciting and we're going to take that into the next few games."