The Jets' coordinators — Mike Pettine (defense), Mike Westhoff (special teams) and Brian Schottenheimer (offense) — speak with reporters every week. Here are highlights of their news conferences Thursday afternoon:
Head coach Rex Ryan talked up the play of Justin Miller in practice today, saying he was "outstanding". The D-coordinator echoed that, saying the lack of "real football action" while he wasn't on a team was what he needed to get back on track.
"He really stood out," Pettine said. "He's getting his legs back, which is encouraging."
The coach didn't count him out for Sunday but said that since he doesn't have the defense down completely, if he were activated, he would play defense in a "defined role," getting "five or six calls" that he would know ahead of time.
Darrelle Revis vs. Randy Moss is one of the most intriguing matchups not only in this game but across the league. Last time the two matched up, Revis held Moss to four catches for 24 yards, the fewest yards for No. 81 all season. Following that game Moss implied that Revis did not contain him alone but rather needed deep help. But according to Pettine, "if it goes to the outside, he's on an island".
In Game 2, rookie WR Julian Edelman, in place of the injured Wes Welker, had eight catches for 98 yards. On Sunday, Welker will be on the field and Edelman, limited in practice today (forearm), may be, too. Welker is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL, or a Pro Bowl player who Pettine said was a "shot in the arm" for the Pats' offense once he returned.
Considering the success the Pats had with Edelman in Week 2, they may try to use some four-wide formations to get both Welker and Edelman on the field at the same time.
The Jets are still the No. 3 overall defense in the league, but they can surely improve upon their tackling. Pettine calls their lack of finishing games lately a reflection of the "growing pains" from being in "the first year of a new system".
He said the toughest thing for a defensive player is to get beaten mentally.
"Sometimes you can handle it a little better when you just get beat physically," he said. "It's frustrating when it's a mental thing, and some of our breakdowns are self-inflicted."
With Jim Leonhard possibly out this weekend, the Jets are in need of a punt returner. They may give their No. 1 receiver a shot at it.
"What's looked good in practice has been Jerricho [Cotchery]," Westhoff said. "Plus I like the fact that he came to me and wants to do it."
J-Co is a great runner after the catch and a sure-handed guy that the team could rely on for punt returns. His only season returning punts was 2005, when he logged 23 for 182 yards, a 7.9-yard average. Westhoff said he might add a wrinkle and use Cotchery and Brad Smith two-deep at times.
As a rookie kickoff returner in 2004, Cotchery had a 27.8-yard average, which would have led the NFL except that his 13 returns weren't enough to qualify for the leaders' list, plus a 94-yard return in the regular-season finale at St. Louis.
J-Co won't be returning kickoffs at New England, Dwight Lowery will likely be the deep man, as he was vs. Jacksonville.
"I like what I see in Dwight," Westhoff said. "And then we worked Brad Smith back with him, and I threw David Clowney in for a particular type of return."
The Pats played without second-year linebacker Jerod Mayo the last time these teams matched up. Coach Schotty is aware of Mayo's potential impact on the field and stressed the need to account for him this week in practice.
"He makes a lot of the checks. He and [safety Brandon] Meriweather are the two guys that you see doing a lot of the communicating," Schottenheimer said. "They don't bring him all the time, but when they do, he's a good pass rusher. He's good in coverage. … He is the one guy that doesn't move around too much. You know he'll be off the ball and the other guys are kind of interchanging."
New England has allowed only one pass longer than 40 yards this season. Their safeties do a good job of protecting against the big play. But the Jets in Game 2 didn't have WR Braylon Edwards, whose "ability to go up and get deep in-cuts and deep balls is special," said Schottenheimer.
"They are going to play deep and kind of read the quarterback, so when [Meriweather] is supposed to be in the deep middle of the field, you might see him 15 yards deep on the hash where the quarterback is looking," Schotty said. "It's hard to get behind him with the way the corners play."
The Jets have been playing behind in many of their games over the past few weeks during this difficult stretch. The O-coordinator is ready to change that, adding "We have to start faster."
In the Jacksonville game they ran an option reverse with Edwards, who decided to throw a pass that was almost picked. Schotty said he would rather have had Edwards run the ball for 4 or 5 yards but said that they will continue the trickery with "half a dozen gadgets for each game".
What will he pull out of the hat this week?