It’s a hot one today at the Meadowlands for the Jets’ long-awaited home opener against the Tom Brady-less New England Patriots. Matt Cassel instead will quarterback the visitors after Brady suffered his season-ending knee injury in last week’s opener vs. Kansas City, while Brett Favre will again pilot the Jets offense.
Weather.com says the East Rutherford temperature is 90 degrees with a heat index reading of 96, right in the ballpark with last week’s 100-degree on-field temps at Miami (although it’s expected to cool slightly from here into the evening).
A few pleasantries have already been exchanged by these often heated rivals. with OT Damien Woody and NT Kris Jenkins chatting up Patriots DE Richard Seymour at midfield an hour and 45 minutes before the 4:15 p.m. EDT kickoff.
Contingents from both teams have already come out to do some running with their strength coaches. Now the kickers are holding forth, and for the Jets that means No. 3, Jay Feely, is limbering up for his first appearance as the Jets’ kicker.
Feely, whose signing was announced Wednesday, replaces Mike Nugent, who has been deactivated as expected due to the thigh injury he suffered in the season-opening 20-14 win over the Dolphins. Feely is hitting them easily and nicely in the heat, first alone from his tee, then from the snap of James Dearth and the hold of Ben Graham.
Feely had a great quote Wednesday based on his two seasons as the Giants’ kicker: "You have to learn which flags to trust and which not to trust" from the assorted strips and banners around the Meadowlands. The flags today are flitting lazily in a warm breeze while Feely hits from 43, 48 and then 55 yards toward the east end zone.
The Jets are wearing their green jerseys and white pants. It is true the team flirted with the idea of wearing their Titans throwback uniforms for today’s game against the Patriots, who have beaten them here seven straight seasons, but after the trade for Favre and some strong input from Jets fans, the team exercised its option and switched back to its green and white, in which they’ve gone 2-3 in home openers since 2000 (wins vs. NE in ’00 and Miami in ’05).
The Jets’ inactives for today, besides Nugent: QB Brett Ratliff (third QB), K Mike Nugent (as expected with his thigh injury), QB Erik Ainge, WRs Marcus Henry and David Clowney, CB-KR Justin Miller, OL Robert Turner and DL Kareem Brown.
The Patriots’ biggest name on the inactive list is starting TE Benjamin Watson, who was on the Pats’ injury report this week with a knee injury. Likely TE starter is David Thomas, with Stephen Spach backing Thomas up.
Also IA for the Patriots: Matt Gutierrez (third QB), CB Terrence Wheatley, LBs Eric Alexander and Shawn Crable, C Dan Connolly, OL Wesley Britt, and WR Sam Aiken.
We’re about an hour away from today’s battle of AFC East rivals, and maybe, hopefully from an indication that there can be a change in the division’s balance of power this season.
Tags: Benjamin Watson, Brett Favre, Jay Feely, Matt Cassel, Mike Nugent, Tom Brady
Posted in Randy Lange | 10 Comments »