NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Patriots’ injury issues and the upcoming game against the Jets.

NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Patriots’ injury issues and the upcoming game against the Jets. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Harrison said he expects Thursday’s game will be a tough one despite the Jets coming in with a 1-5 record and struggling badly on offense.

“I think it will be competitive,” Harrison said. “The Jets, they have such a hatred for the Patriots. Rex Ryan, he’s had success against Tom Brady, he knows what to expect. And I think he will have this team ready. And this team, they’re 1-5, they’re not very good. Geno Smith, he stinks, Michael Vick doesn’t want to play, they haven’t practiced well. This team has lost a lot of players, young guys in the secondary. Tom [Brady] can really eat up this defense.

“But just knowing Rex, and just knowing how much he dislikes the Patriots, I think this game will be a lot more competitive than what people think.”

Added Harrison of the Jets: “They’re going to have to win on defense, because they’re offense is nothing.”

Smith, the second-year quarterback, has struggled on the field and made some questionable comments off it, which leads Harrison to question his approach.

“When they talked about drafting him, I never viewed him as a top first- or second-round pick. I thought maybe he was a guy that could probably go between Rounds 3 and 5. I just wasn’t really impressed with him,” Harrison said.

“Sometimes when you’re a young quarterback and you’re struggling, sometimes it’s best just to be quiet and not say too much in the media, just come off as a very humble guy, just trying to learn the system. But he continues to talk, he continues to put his foot in his mouth.

“What he needs to do is stop turning the ball over, bottom line. Every game this year he’s turned the ball over, and they just don’t have a chance if he continues to turn the ball over.”

The Patriots’ win over the Bills on Sunday was costly, as Bill Belichick‘s team lost linebacker Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley to season-ending injuries.

“When I saw what happened I was just absolutely devastated,” Harrison said. “Jerod, coming off the injury he had last year, to have worked so hard to get back, like I think Tedy [Bruschi] said, he was like the quarterback of the defense, he’s such a good person, he works hard, he sets a good example every single day. And a linebacker that can still play — you saw him very active in the backfield, blitzing, running from sideline to sideline, just a great young man I had the pleasure of playing with. I feel terrible for him. That’s a tremendous loss for the Patriots.”

On the positive side, the offense looked to be in sync for one of the few times this season.

“They’re getting better. And I think that’s what you look at. In terms of being a coach you look at the improvement,” Harrison said. “The offensive line, they played against one of the best front fours that they’re going to see all year, and I felt like the offensive line was solid.

“I also loved the fact that Josh McDaniels, he actually changed the game plan. He kept them off balance, he took some shots down the field, they were very aggressive and they had different formations. I thought he was really the MVP of that game.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On the quick turnaround for the Thursday night game: “That short week makes a big difference. You’re coming off an emotional win. At first you’re happy about winning the game, but it’s bittersweet because you lose a couple of your best players. Obviously [Dan] Connolly is a guy that doesn’t have the big name but he’s an integral part of that offensive line, smart guy, very consistent.

“Bill’s been through this. If any coach can handle a situation like that, it’s Belichick. He’s lost Brady, myself, other great players that have come through. He hasn’t been very emotional about it. He’s always going to come into a meeting room and say, ‘Hey, guys, we lost this guy, other guys are going to have to step up,’ and make it seem like it’s second nature. So if any coach can handle it, Bill can.

“This team is very resilient, obviously, just the way they started, the way they’re playing now. And I think this team, they’ll get better. I don’t really worry about this team despite all the losses.”

On the running game without Stevan Ridley: “I think that’s where you see Ridley’s loss being so devastating. Regardless of the fumbles, the kid ran hard. He’s excellent through the tackles. He was always running tough, finding the holes. I really like this kid. I think he could have been a special running back if he didn’t fumble so much.

“But I think you have to maintain that balance, keep them off their heels. You can’t just drop back and pass the ball 50, 60 times, especially once the weather starts getting cold and rainy and snow. You have to have some balance. So [Brandon] Bolden has a responsibility to step in there and keep the ball rolling, as well as Shane Vereen. And who knows what they might get out there in free agency or if someone’s available at home?”

On why cornerback Brandon Browner is having an issue adapting to the Patriots defense: “I think Bill’s going to play the guys that have the best understanding of the defense. I think he’s going to play the guys that he feels most comfortable with. When you’re playing in Bill Belichick‘s defense, it’s not the defense that has to adjust to you, you have to adjust to the defense. And that just shows versatility. I played free safety, strong safety, I played as a nickel back guarding those little 5-9, 5-10 receivers. So whatever he asks you, you have to be able to do. Bill goes out and he gets the guys that are very versatile. …

“Brandon Browner, if he wants to get on the field he’s going to have to humble himself and say, ‘Hey, Bill, whatever you need me to do, I’ll try to get better.’ [Darrelle] Revis did it, he learned zone coverage. He said, ‘Hey, that’s just making my portfolio look a lot better, because I’m so used to man coverage.’ So I think it’s one of those things. But I like Alfonzo Dennard. I think he’s going to be a good, young player. I like his aggressiveness. He got beat on a couple of passes, but you expect that. But I love the fight in him.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

FOXBORO — There are plenty of people around the football world who feel bad that the Patriots lost their starting middle linebacker and running back in one game on Sunday in Buffalo. Rex Ryan is not one of them.

Rex Ryan. (Getty Images)

Rex Ryan. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — There are plenty of people around the football world who feel bad that the Patriots lost their starting middle linebacker and running back in one game on Sunday in Buffalo. Rex Ryan is not one of them.

The Jets head coach, speaking on a conference call Tuesday morning, said injuries are part of the game and reminded reporters that he’s lost plenty of players already this season to injury, most recently starting corner Dee Milliner on Monday.

Ryan is expecting Belichick to make the necessary adjustments for Thursday night’s game.

“Well, we certainly don’t feel sorry for them,” Ryan said of the season-ending injuries to Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley. “We’ve gone through a few injuries, to say the least. And I know they don’t feel sorry for us. The next man steps up and there’s definitely ways of playing it. Belichick is a heck of a football coach and he’s going to put the guys out there, if it’s playing another safety, if it’s playing another D-lineman, whatever it is. Obviously, you have some adjustment in the back of your mind that you’ve been working on.

“I still see where they have Tom Brady, Gronk, Edelman and the guys. And on defense, Big Vince and there’s a new guy out there that’s pretty good. Obviously, it’s the New England Patriots.”

Of course, that “new guy” is his former Pro Bowl corner Darrelle Revis.

“Oh gosh, I’d rather not comment on him,” Ryan said sarcastically. “He’s a great player, obviously, matching him on the top receivers and things like that. He’s still just a great player.”

As for the criticism on Tom Brady two weeks ago, Ryan said he got a kick out of that.

“That was hysterical I thought,” Ryan said. “Yeah, really? OK. I mean, come on.”

Ryan then praised Brady for his bounce back over the last two games.

“They do what they do and it’s not a machine but it’s pretty [close]. They know what they want to get done and they’ve done it for so many years that it’s just like clockwork. He’s back there [in the pocket] in a rhythm, and that’s obviously a dangerous thing for the people that they play.

“That’s hard to say. I don’t really see any difference. I think last year, they really committed to running the football at the end. That might have been a little different than times past. It just looks like the same Patriots to me.”

The focus on his team, on the other hand, has not been so complimentary. Does Ryan think his team is dysfunctional.

“I think you guys [media] saying it’s dysfunctional I think maybe a perception that you have,” Ryan said. “But it’s certainly not the case here. We haven’t won as much as we want, clearly. But shoot, but this far from a dysfunctional team. Again, you’ll see it when we get there. This is a good football team. We just haven’t produced the wins yet.

“We haven’t done ourselves any favors getting off the start we have. I believe in this football team, absolutely believe in this football team.

“I just see how hard our team works. This team works hard. They prepare, they care and I think that’s no guarantee of success but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. And we have a lot of good players and good coaches. I’m confident that it’s just a matter of time.”

As for the see-saw at quarterback between Geno Smith and Michael Vick, Ryan came to the defense.

“It’s not just one man. It seems like we’ve been breaking down at certain spots throughout the year. We’ll need a big stop and instead, a team will drive it on us for a big touchdown. We’ll turn the ball over. There’s something that happens but it’s certainly not on one man.

“I definitely know you guys are doing better than me. We’re definitely onto New England.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Patriots are in the midst of their most condensed stretch of games over the course of the 2014 season. With four games in 18 days (road dates against the Chiefs and Bills and home games against the Jets and Bengals), it represents a mental and physical challenge for the players and coaches alike. The compacted schedule is difficult, but it’s not wholly new for the franchise. Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots have had three other stretches of four games in 18 days. Here’s a look at how they did:

2002: New England had four games in 18 days in 2002, a stretch from Nov. 10 through November 28 that featured three straight Sunday games and a Thanksgiving day clash. The Patriots went 3-1 through that series of games, three of which were on the road. New England beat the Bears at the University of Illinois (Soldier Field was being renovated at the time), 33-30. Then then lost in Oakland, 27-20, before taking a home wins against the Vikings (24-17) and a road win on Thanksgiving against the Lions (20-12).

2008: That year, the Patriots had three of their four games at home. They opened on Oct. 26 with a 23-16 win over the Rams, followed by a Nov. 2 road loss to the Colts in Indy (18-15). New England returned home for a 20-10 win over the Bills, but coughed up a loss in its last game of that stretch, a Thursday night contest against the Jets in Gillette that saw New York take a 34-31 overtime win, leaving New England with a 2-2 mark.

2010: Four years ago, the Patriots went 3-1 through the series, a November stretch of games that saw them play four times in 18 days, with three of them on the road. That series opened with one of the worst performances in recent team history, a 34-14 loss to the Browns in Cleveland on Nov. 7. The Patriots then bounced back with three straight wins: a 39-26 crush job on the Steelers in Pittsburgh the following Sunday, a narrow 31-28 home win over the Colts the following week, and a 45-24 Thanksgiving Day thumping of the Lions in Detroit.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr

Welcome to the Week 7 waiver wire! This is a time to really strike in free agency if some of this week’s options are available in your league. You can do some serious upgrading right now or build some high-quality depth to help get you through the bye weeks, which will be picking up steam soon enough. The time to get ready for Weeks 9-11 is right now. All of those weeks have four or more teams on the bye. Don’t wait. Prepare while you still can.

The ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that.

If you play in really big leagues, as I tend to do, you should head on over to Rotobahn this afternoon and check out my expanded waiver wire. The expanded edition gives you about twice as many options. To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

QUARTERBACKS

Joe Flacco, Ravens — 50 percent

He is getting hot and his receivers both are settled in now. No way should he be on the waiver wire. Add Flacco and you have a guy you can play on an as-needed basis the rest of the way.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals — 30 percent

Palmer was on the field last week and the results were solid. His nerve is on the mend and things should get better from this point forward. Add him in all leagues as a solid QB2.

Kirk Cousins, Washington — 49 percent

He has a solid schedule for the near team, so he is a good asset, but there is the possibility that Robert Griffin III gets back and reclaims the job. This makes Cousins more of a short-term solution, but with long-term potential.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars — 12 percent

Bortles is getting comfortable now, and his receivers are getting healthy around him. He is a nice QB2 option, and unlike Cousins he should hold the gig all the way through 2014 and beyond. His ability to score fantasy points with his arm and his feet make him consistently dangerous.

Austin Davis, Rams — 14 percent

He’s young and he’ll make mistakes, but they have a deep array of weapons around him, so he’s a viable QB2 in most leagues. The key with Davis is his schedule. Line up your starter’s bye week with his schedule and see if it’s a good fit. For example, he’s got Seattle this week, so he’s not a great fit for Nick Foles owners who are looking for a Week 7 option.

RUNNING BACKS

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings — 37 percent

I told you a few weeks back that McKinnon was the back to own in Minnesota, and it appears that the Vikings have made the switch. McKinnon started over Matt Asiata and carried the load for the most part. The Vikings were overmatched by the Lions front seven, but the schedule is not bad at all going forward. McKinnon is a must-own in all formats. Check out his pre-draft scouting report if you are unfamiliar with him.

Ronnie Hillman, Broncos – 45 percent

Montee Ball’s injury is not going to heal anytime soon. Hillman could be a back you can ride as a starter for another three weeks and conceivably more if he plays well. He should be owned in all leagues for now.

Isaiah Crowell, Browns — 19 percent

He’s seemingly won the battle for the backup job behind Ben Tate, and this is an offense that has consistently been using two backs. Moreover, Crowell has been getting red zone touches all year. He needs to be owned now, because Tate is well known for missing time and Crowell could be a serious fantasy option as the lead dog. Add this guy in all leagues, especially if you rely on Tate. Check out Crowell’s pre-draft scouting report.

Khiry Robinson, Saints — 43 percent

Mark Ingram could be back this week, but Robinson has stand-alone value and still could be the main ball-carrier this week and until Ingram is back at 100 percent. He should be owned in all formats right now.

Tre Mason, Rams — 2 percent

He’s probably more of a 12-team target in free agency, but in case you have extra bench space or are relying heavily on Zac Stacy, you should know about Mason, who was Rotobahn’s No. 2 back in this year’s draft class behind only Carlos Hyde. He was finally active Monday night. As we expected, he was clearly the most explosive back on the team. If you want to try to get Mason ahead of the curve, the time to act is now. He’s a must-own in big leagues.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Odell Beckham, Jr., Giants – 37 percent

He’ll be highly sought now that Victor Cruz is out for the year, so I hope you’ve already added Beckham. He’s got star potential and must be owned in all formats. Go get him.

Mohamed Sanu, Bengals — 61 percent

He’s now fully legit as the only healthy outside option in Cincinnati. A.J. Green will return eventually, but now there is talk that Marvin Jones might need surgery, and that turns Sanu into a weekly option for the rest of 2014. Add the playmaker in all formats.

Justin Hunter, Titans — 55 percent

He’s now the most active receiver in Tennessee. The Titans have made the commitment to Hunter and so should you. His ability to make big plays is clear. He’s a high-upside WR3 in all formats.

Mike Evans, Buccaneers — 52 percent

Evans was supposed to be out up to a month, but he missed a single week and returned with a touchdown. He’s out there in a lot of leagues, so go get him. He can start for you as long as he is healthy. As I said in his pre-draft scouting report, Evans is a potential star.

Robert Woods, Bills — 2 percent

He is running ahead of Mike Williams now, and that’s the key along with the switch at quarterback. Woods is very much available in all leagues and now is a player who needs to be owned. Go get him and you have a WR4 who can play for you when you need him.

Josh Gordon, Browns — 58 percent

If you have bench space and you want to make an investment at WR, this is the guy with all the upside. You can’t cash the check until Week 12, but he’s one heck of a payoff for those who can afford to wait.

Cecil Shorts, Jaguars — 38 percent

We wanted to see him handle a full complement of snaps and he did it. Shorts can help you on a weekly basis for as long as his health lasts.

TIGHT ENDS

Travis Kelce, Chiefs — 75 percent

If he was dropped during his bye, go after him. He won’t be available again this year if he stays healthy. Kansas City is getting healthy and finding its groove, and that should mean some big plays for Kelce.

Jordan Reed, Washington — 59 percent

He returned strong with eight grabs for 92 yards. Reed can start for you in any league, so go get him if he’s available. There’s always injury risk with this guy, but you will get high-end performance, so add him and play him while he lasts.

Dwayne Allen, Colts — 61 percent

He’s going to be consistent and he has some untapped ceiling, too. Allen has scored touchdowns in four games so far this year and his targets are on the rise. He’s a weekly starter in all leagues.

Ladarius Green, Chargers — 30 percent

He’s still a bit of a sleeper or stash in smaller formats, but his usage is on the rise and he is a serious playmaker with a high-end quarterback throwing him the ball. Green is a red zone weapon of the highest order and he’s making plays between the 20s as well. If you are looking for a player to stash at tight end, this is a guy to add.

Jace Amaro, Jets — 2 percent

While I do not like his upcoming matchup with the Patriots, I do like Amaro’s chances of posting good numbers the rest of the way. The Jets are trying very diligently to get their second-round pick involved, and the rookie responded with a big Week 6. It’s not just that he was heavily targeted. Amaro responded very well to the increased playing time. He’s a good bet to stay involved the rest of the way. The Jets will be in full-blown developmental mode soon enough.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson
Geno Smith and the Jets passing game have struggled this season. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Geno Smith and the Jets passing game have struggled this season. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Here are five things you have to know about the Jets, who will travel to Gillette for a Thursday night contest this week against the Patriots:

1. They have the least effective passing game in the league. Regardless of who is under center, the Jets have had almost no success when it comes to throwing the ball this season. New York is averaging 182.2 passing yards per game, the worst total in the league. Geno Smith and Michael Vick average a 55.5 completion rate, 31st in the league. The Jets’€™ passer rating is 67.4, also 31st. New York also averages the fewest yards per attempt (5.6) and the seven picks are tied for third-worst in the NFL. (They’re only one of three teams in the league to have more interceptions than touchdown passes.) When the Jets do throw the ball, the leading targets are new receiver Eric Decker (20 catches, 258 yards, 3 TDs), returnee Jeremy Kerley (20 catches, 172 yards, 1 TD) and rookie tight end Jace Amaro (24 catches, 212 yards, 1 TD). But it’s been a serious struggle to get it to them.

2. Their run game is middle-of-the-pack. As bad as the passing game is, the running game isn’t awful. Sure, free agent pickup Chris Johnson has been a disappointment (51 carries, 200 yards, 1 TD), but Chris Ivory has been a nice surprise (67 carries, 325 yards, 2 TDs, to go along with 8 catches for 85 yards). They won’€™t remind anyone of the ground-and-pound era New York teams, but an average of 121.2 rushing yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry has to be respected if you’re New England. The problem for the Jets is that the passing game is so weak, teams have been stacking the box with the primary focus on stopping the run. Figure on New England loading up along the defensive line with an eye toward making the Jets win by throwing the ball.

3. They have a very good front seven. The strength of the Jets lies with the defensive front. Their 3-4 scheme will be a challenge for New England’s offensive line, as defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson and nose tackle Damon Harrison are a formidable grouping for any team, much less one that has suffered from offensive line issues over the first six games like the Patriots. The Jets are one of the better teams in the league when it comes to run defense, with an average of 92.2 yards per game allowed on the ground (ninth-best in the NFL) and 3.5 yards per carry (sixth-best in the league). They also do a good job getting after the quarterback, as their 19 sacks are tied for second-best in the league, and their 235 passing yards allowed is a middle-of-the-pack 15th overall. Wilkerson (four sacks), veteran linebacker Calvin Pace (3.5 sacks) and Richardson (three sacks) do most of the damage when it comes to the pass rush. Look for New England to load up with two tight end sets and a heavy dose of fullback James Develin when they try and run on Thursday night.

4. They have a bad secondary. Part of this is simply because of injuries — the Jets were losing defensive backs at a crazy rate over the course of the summer, and the bodies they replaced them with were just not that good. Antonio Allen and Darrin Walls, the latter of whom will have to step in after Dee Millner went on IR this week, are their lead corners. And oh yeah — just as a reminder, rookie Calvin Pryor talked a lot over the course of the offseason about the opportunity to knock off the Patriots. Don’t think this hasn’t been brought up this week in Foxboro. If quarterback Tom Brady can get an extra second or two in the pocket, those throws to targets like Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell should be there against New York. (I had to find an excuse to use the single best Tweet about the Jets’ defense this season, especially as it relates to the overall disconnect in play between the front seven and secondary.)

5. The Patriots can just about drive a stake through their collective hearts on Thursday. Even though the season isn’€™t even halfway over, the Patriots can fundamentally crush any postseason thoughts New York might be entertaining if they win Thursday night. The Jets have lost five of their first six games to open the season, and a loss to New England on Thursday would drop them to 1-6. According to Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders, only one team in NFL history that started the year 1-6 has made the postseason: the 1971 Bengals. You could probably understand why Bill Belichick might be calling for Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots offense — which has scored 80 points over the last two games — to sweep the leg on the Jets Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Through six games, the Patriots have been flagged for 54 penalties (second in the league) for a total of 526 yards (most in the NFL). To this point in the season, here’€™s a breakdown of the calls that have gone against the Patriots this year, not including penalties that were declined or offset:

‘€¨Most penalized players, listed by total flags and with total yardage lost:
ST/DB Logan Ryan: 5 penalties (illegal block above the waist, two defensive pass interference, defensive holding, illegal use of hands), 78 yards
WR Brandon LaFell: 4 penalties (offsides on free kick, two offensive pass interference, false start), 30 yards
OL Nate Solder: 4 penalties (offensive holding, illegal block above the waist, 2 false starts), 30 yards
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 3 penalties (roughing the passer, defensive offsides, unnecessary roughness), 35 yards
OL Jordan Devey: 3 penalties (2 offensive holding, false start), 25 yards
DL Chandler Jones: 2 penalties (2 roughing the passer), 30 yards
S/ST Duron Harmon: 2 penalties (face mask, illegal block above the waist), 21 yards
TE Rob Gronkowski: 2 penalties (false start, unsportsmanlike conduct), 20 yards
ST/DB Don Jones: 2 penalties (2 offensive holding), 20 yards
DL Dominique Easley 2 penalties (neutral zone infraction, unnecessary roughness), 20 yards
WR Aaron Dobson: 2 penalties (offensive pass interference, false start) 15 yards
OL Cameron Fleming: 2 penalties (false start, offensive holding), 15 yards
OL Bryan Stork: 2 penalties (false start, offensive holding), 15 yards
CB Alfonzo Dennard: 2 penalties (2 defensive holding), 10 yards
CB Malcolm Butler: 1 penalties (defensive pass interference), 24 yards
WR Danny Amendola: 1 penalty (face mask), 15 yards
LB Jamie Collins: 1 penalty (unnecessary roughness), 15 yards
OL Ryan Wendell: 1 penalty (facemask), 15 yards
OL Dan Connolly: 1 penalty (chop block), 14 yards
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 1 penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
S/ST Tavon Wilson: 1 penalty (offensive holding) 10 yards
OL Marcus Cannon: 1 penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
Team: 1 penalties (illegal substitution), 10 yards
QB Tom Brady: 1 penalty (intentional grounding), 10 yards
DL Sealver Siliga: 1 penalty (illegal use of hands), 5 yards
CB Darrelle Revis: 1 penalty (defensive holding), 5 yards
S Patrick Chung: 1 penalty (defensive holding), 5 yards
OL Josh Kline: 1 penalty (false start), 5 yards
WR Julian Edelman: 1 penalty (false start), 5 yards
LS/ST Danny Aiken: 1 penalty (false start), 5 yards

Most penalized by position
Offensive line: 15 penalties, 129 yards
Cornerback: 9 penalties, 117 yards
Wide receiver: 8 penalties, 65 yards
Defensive line: 5 penalties, 55 yards
Special teams: 5 penalties, 40 yards
Linebacker: 4 penalties, 50 yards
Tight end: 3 penalties, 30 yards
Safety: 2 penalty, 20 yards
Team: 2 penalties, 10 yards
Quarterback: 1 penalty, 10 yards

Most frequently called penalties
False start: 11
Offensive holding: 10
Defensive holding: 5
Facemask: 3
Roughing the passer: 3
Unnecessary roughness: 3
Offensive pass interference: 3
Defensive pass interference: 3
Illegal block above the waist: 3
Illegal use of hands: 2
Offsides on free kick: 1
Neutral zone infraction: 1
Defensive offsides: 1
Offsides on free kick: 1
Illegal substitution: 1
Unsportsmanlike conduct: 1
Intentional grounding: 1
Chop block: 1

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Jace Amaro is a rookie tight end with the Jets. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jace Amaro is a rookie tight end with the Jets. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Jets quarterback Geno Smith gave rookie tight end Jace Amaro a big compliment Monday, saying that the Texas Tech product compares to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

“I think he has big time potential,” Smith said of Amaro, who some believed would have been a good fit in New England. “We don’€™t like to talk about the guys on the other side, but when I think about Jace I think about [Rob Gronkowski] — two really big, bouldering guys who have physical statures, but are as nimble as some of the smaller guys who can run great routes and have great hands and can run after the catch.

“I think Jace can be a really good tight end if he continues to work at the pace that he’€™s been working. We expect big things from him in the future.”

Amaro, who has 24 catches for 212 yards and a touchdown, has become a sizable part of the New York passing game as a rookie. Meanwhile, ex-Patriots tight end Zach Sudfeld has also found a home as a tight end with the Jets. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Sudfeld, a training camp star last summer with New England before being released, has apparently become good pals with Smith.

“Zach has been one of my best buddies on my team — I really like the way that he works,” Smith said of Sudfeld, who has one catch for 15 yards this season. “He has a great work ethic. He’€™s been in there every single day. He even comes into all-quarterback meetings we have with the offensive linemen and watches tape with us. He’€™s just continuing to gain experience and continuing to learn this offense.

“He’€™s a guy that we’€™ve used in multiple packages. He’€™s a big target, a guy who can stretch the field, and he’€™s got great hands. So, he’€™s a guy that we definitely should get the ball to a little bit more. But you always got to take what the defense gives you. He’€™s been great with that, not forcing the issue, but he’€™s always preparing and he’€™s always coming in to work, working to the best of his ability.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — With just three days in between games when playing on Thursday Night Football, it may be tough to get up for your next opponent.

Not this week for the Patriots and Jets, as the AFC East division rivals will meet for the first time this season Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

“I think records go out the window when you play these guys,”€ special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “Everything goes out the window when you play these guys and you don’€™t have a problem getting up for them because of the history that is there. We will be ready as well.”

Even though the Jets come into the game 1-5 — losers of five straight — they are coming off a game Sunday where they were competitive right until the end with the Broncos, ultimately falling, 31-17. It is also their first division game of the season.

Having limited time to prepare, it does help facing a team you’€™re familiar with.

“Obviously every year teams are different,” Slater said. “We have new players, they have new players so there is still a sense of urgency when I comes to getting to know them, but it does help that we know some of their tendencies and we know their coach. We know kind of what to expect.”

After getting back from Buffalo late Sunday night, the biggest thing for the players is to try and get their bodies back to full strength after the beating they took Sunday afternoon, while also trying to become familiar with the game plan as quickly as possible with only two days until the game.

“You have to get recovered as fast as you can and then jump right into the game plan and scouting on the Jets,”€ defensive end/outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich said. “Definitely a short week — you lose a couple of days there — so we have to get right into it.”

With the short week, there does come a payoff — having a mini-bye week of sorts — with the entire weekend off. And for the Patriots, beginning Thursday it’s a stretch of four of their next five games being at home.

“It definitely crosses your mind, it’s always nice to be at home and be in your home routine and not worry about traveling,” Slater said. “It gives you a little extra time to take care of yourself physically. It gives you a little extra time to have down and be with your family or whatever it may be. It’s nice to have your home game routine game going.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable