Randy Moss has departed the rivalry, so it’s natural to wonder how the Jets will use the NFL’s top corner tandem on Monday night when they battle the Pats in Foxboro.
“Honestly, me and [Darrelle] Revis, we don’t care whoever we get,” said Antonio Cromartie, who leads the Jets with three interceptions. “We might get a darned tight end at the end of the day. For us it really doesn’t matter. We just have to go out there, take care of our job and do what we’re supposed to do, be aggressive with it and play at the high level that we both have been playing at.”
Wes Welker, who caught six passes for 38 yards and a TD in the Jets’ 28-14 win back in Week 2, leads the Pats with 65 catches and is tied for the team lead with six scoring receptions. He remains a dangerous intermediate threat. And after the Pats traded Moss to the Vikings, they moved quickly to add another receiver by reobtaining Deion Branch from Seattle.
“He is a good receiver,” said Revis of Branch, who has averaged 13.1 yards a catch on his 33 receptions in seven games with New England. “They bringing him back — the guy was a Super Bowl MVP for their team. I think he’s familiar with their offense and you see he’s making plays in that offense and Brady is looking for him to make plays.”
The Pats targeted Moss a team-high 10 times in the teams’ first meeting and he finished with just two receptions. He made a ridiculous one-handed 34-yard scoring catch on a play that sent Revis to the sideline for a couple of games with a sore hamstring, but No. 84 was absolutely stranded on Al-Cro-Traz Island in the second half.
Without Moss in the lineup, the Pats don’t take as many vertical shots with their receivers.
“It’s a little different. A lot of their stuff is based on underneath routes and they like to send their tight ends more vertical than they send their receivers,” Cromartie said. “It’s little things like that they changed up. Their outside guys run a lot of underneath routes. It’s something you look forward to and you want to be physical on the outside.”
The last time the Jets played at Gillette Stadium, a 31-14 loss in Week 11 last November, Welker set career highs with 15 receptions (also the mark for a Jets opponent) and 192 yards. It wouldn’t come as a shock if the Jets stick the 5’11, 198-pound Revis on the 5’9”, 185-pound Welker.
“His route just might be to run across the field, but he might make up his own route to get open. He’ll stem you up, juke you this way, option route that way and get open. It’s very tough,” said Revis. “We struggled with that early with teams attacking us inside. We do have to be aware of them trying to attack us on the inside again.”
Tom Brady is having another wonderful season, completing 66 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions. His two rookie tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, have combined for 61 receptions and nine touchdowns while former Jets back Danny Woodhead has pitched in with 25 catches.
“He is going to complete some passes,” said Cromartie. “Our biggest thing is to make sure we make the tackles that we need to make and make sure they don’t have many yards after the catch. We’ve been doing a great job of that the past few games and we have to continue that.”
The Jets will definitely mix up their coverage looks for Brady and you know that head coach Rex Ryan, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and DBs coach Dennis Thurman are in the laboratory right now.
“I think it’s big because Brady is real good at picking out coverages. With us disguising and showing different things, it will help out a lot,” Cromartie said. “We have to show some type of blitz and then drop off, drop off and then come. Our whole thing is just to be consistent throughout the week and then make sure we do it in the game also.”
The Patriots average a league-best 30 points a game, but they’ve been held to 18 points on average by the Jets since Ryan has taken over the coaching reins. And no matter how the Jets deploy Revis and Cromartie on Monday Night, there is reason for Jets Nation to be confident.
“I think we have favorable matchups on the outside. They have a great, speedy receiver and a crafty vet, but I think we match up against them well,” said WLB Bart Scott. “We’re going to expect those guys to do what they do, shut those guys down and allow us to play football on the inside.”
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Bart Scott, Danny Woodhead, Darrelle Revis, Deon Branch, New England Patriots, Tom Brady, Wes Welker
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