ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith checked in with Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the Patriots-Jets matchup and why he thinks Rex Ryan has been sabotaged this season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith checked in with Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the Patriots-Jets matchup and why he thinks Rex Ryan has been sabotaged this season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Smith hails from New York and does not attempt to hide his preference for teams from the Big Apple, but he acknowledged the Jets aren’t likely to leave Foxboro with a win Thursday night.

“I don’t think that the Jets have a chance,” Smith said. “I don’t think they have a snowball’s chance in hell. I think their offense is pathetic, I think it’s weak. And because of it, I don’t see how they can win this football game. …

“Defensively with Rex Ryan, you know that he’s going to have some kind of scheme that’s going to work to their advantage to some degree, but that’s assuming that the offense is going to be able to give you something. I don’t have faith that Geno Smith, with Chris Johnson, with Eric Decker as your No. 1 option as a receiver being out on that field on the offensive side of the ball is going to be able to to any damage against New England. And as a result, they’ll wear the Jets defense down. And ultimately the only question in my mind is whether or not it’s going to be a blowout, because I can’t see the Jets winning this game.”

Smith said he does not expect Ryan to be back next season, and he blames general manager John Idzik.

“I think that it’s going to be one of those situations where Rex is going to end up losing his job, because I think he’s been set up to fail,” Smith said, adding: “The word that comes to my mind is sabotage. I think that Rex Ryan has been sabotaged for this season.

“You look at Geno Smith, he was clearly Idzik’s choice to be drafted, not Rex Ryan. You look at the fact that they had about $20 million-plus in cap space. In desperate need of a corner, not only do you let Antonio Cromartie get out the door, you didn’t do what it took to get Darrelle Revis back — you lost out on him to New England, your nemesis within the AFC East. You didn’t buffer anybody at the cornerback position. [Alterraun] Verner went to Tampa. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie went in the same building to the New York Giants instead of the Jets. Everywhere you turn, when you had an opportunity to get a bona fide corner, you didn’t do so. And you left your No. 1 corner to be an individual [Dee Milliner] who was a rookie last year, benched three times before he got himself together and was Rookie of the Month in the month of December. But that was going to be your No. 1 corner coming into the season, knowing what Rex Ryan likes to do on the defensive side of the ball? I’d say that spells sabotage. Now Milliner is out, he’s hurt. So what do you have? Pretty much nothing.”

Smith also questioned Idzik’s offseason decisions on the offensive side off the ball, saying he missed out on a chance to sign wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders because the GM was attending Texas Tech’s pro day and had to “settle for an Eric Decker.”

“There’s still an APB out for Eric Decker,” Smith said. “We saw him in the Super Bowl, we knew he give a quote, and then after that we saw a quote after the game. But during the game, for those 60 minutes, we could not find Eric Decker anywhere. So to me, in my mind, I just sit there and say that’s sabotage to me, because I can’t understand for the life of me why the Jets have the roster that they have and why they subjected Rex Ryan to have to work with it.”

Despite the team’s struggles, Smith predicted Ryan will last at least until the end of the season.

“He’s not going to get fired during the season,” Smith said. “I don’t think [owner] Woody Johnson‘s going to allow that to happen. But I think the handwriting’s on the wall, that this is the end of the Rex Ryan era. To some degree it’s self-inflicted, because he never ever learned how to coach offense. But he’s an elite defensive mind in the National Football League who has shown an ability to motivate his players and certainly deserved better than the job John Idzik has done for him as general manager.

“Rex Ryan was sabotaged this year, and it’s a pretty damn shame that he’s going to lose his job but other people are going to get to keep theirs. John Idzik won’t deserve to keep his job if Rex Ryan get booted out the door. And Woody Johnson — if only we could replace owners, I think New York would be a much, much better place than it is. Unfortunately you can’t get rid of an owner who has shown a flagrant level of ineptitude that’s quite alarming, that I might add. Certainly when you look at him and you compare that to the greatness of Robert Kraft, it’s night and day. Woody Johnson doesn’t belong on the same football planet as Robert Kraft as an owner. And that’s really what this all comes down to.”

Smith said the Patriots-Jets rivalry exists in name only.

“They upset New England in the playoffs a few years back, we understand that. But the biggest reason why it’s a rivalry is because of Rex Ryan’s mouth. Rex Ryan talks a good game,” Smith said. “So because Rex Ryan talks a good game, it makes you think that there’s something competitive going on when in fact when you look at the overall record of the two teams it doesn’t even compare. Rex Ryan did go to two consecutive AFC championship games — one year en route to that they knocked off New England in the playoffs, that much is true. But in totality, Rex Ryan and the New York Jets aren’t even in the same stratosphere as the New England Patriots. That’s just a fact.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

The hot rumor heading into Thursday night’s Patriots-Jets game is that Pats cornerback Darrelle Revis might line up at wide receiver against his former team.

The hot rumor heading into Thursday night’s Patriots-Jets game is that Pats cornerback Darrelle Revis might line up at wide receiver against his former team.

Asked by the Boston Herald if he was in the game plan at receiver, Revis laughed and said, “We’ll see.”

Revis reportedly expressed interest in catching a touchdown against the Jets before he signed as a free agent with the Patriots in March.

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The former high school receiver told the Herald he’d be willing to give catching passes a try against any team should Bill Belichick want to consider it.

“I mean, I’€™m very confident in catching balls. I know that,” Revis said. “We’€™ve got some great receivers on this team. Usually when something happens like that, it’€™s the depth chart, maybe injuries. Knock on wood, I hope we don’€™t get to that point. But if there was an opportunity, if Bill came to me and said we need help, I’€™m willing to do whatever coach says. And that’€™s any position. That’€™s just what it is. We get asked to do some crazy things sometimes. Whatever coach needs me to play, I’€™ll be up for the challenge.”

Added Revis: “I’ll leave it up to Bill. He’s the guru and he’s the genius at those type of things. He has a history of doing things like that.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Earlier in the week it was reported Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo would be out for the season with a “bad right leg injury.” Thursday, the extent of t

Christian breaks down what the Pats need to do to beat the Jets on Thursday Night Football

Earlier in the week it was reported Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo would be out for the season with a “bad right leg injury.” Thursday, the extent of the injury was revealed.

According to Tom E. Curran, Mayo had surgery Thursday morning to repair his patellar tendon, which he injured in Sunday’s win over the Bills. Mayo is hoping for a six month recovery time.

It is the second season in a row Mayo has suffered a season-ending injury in Week 6 as last year he tore his pectoral muscle against the Saints. In his five-plus games played this season, he leads the team in tackles with 37.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

 

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Darrelle Revis will face his former team in the Jets Thursday night.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis will face his former team in the Jets Thursday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Each week, we’ll present The Darrelle Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England welcomes Revis’ old team — the Jets — to Foxboro for a Thursday night clash.

Last week: Working almost exclusively against talented young Buffalo wideout Sammy Watkins, Darrelle Revis had perhaps his best game of the season last week against the Bills, yielding two passes on three targets for 27 yards. The biggest play was a 20-yarder midway through the third quarter that looked a little like a broken play, but Watkins was able to haul in the pass from Kyle Orton just shy of the goal line.

He finished the game with four tackles, including one for a loss. Of the 68 snaps he played, we had him on the left for 23 and the right for 45, and all of those were opposite Watkins. There were times where he was clearly playing press coverage — we counted 32 snaps where he was close enough to Watkins where he was able to get hands on him as he came off the line — and there was what appeared to be zone. But it was all Watkins, all the time for Revis on Sunday.

“He played a great game. He held me to two catches and that was his job,” Watkins said of Revis. “He’s a competitor, competes every play. He got balls to come up and press every play and I [tip] my hat to him.”

Revis played very well, but on the other hand, there was almost no inclination to try and think outside the box when it came to getting Watkins the ball. There were a couple of fake reverses to the rookie — on one in the early going, Revis got caught up in the crossing traffic, and if Orton had gotten Watkins the ball, he would have almost certainly had a big gain. But other than that, on almost every snap, Watkins was a stationary figure, either in the slot or split wide. No motion, no pick plays, no disguising anything. There appeared to be one stack play on Buffalo’s two-point conversion, but on that play, it was Robert Woods who got open after Logan Ryan was picked off and not Watkins.

The one thing that Buffalo did appear to do was try and use the matchup to create space underneath — that is, Watkins would take off on a go-route, and bring Revis with him. Then, another receiver would flow to the open area where Revis and Watkins were previously located — usually either Woods or tight end Scott Chandler. But in terms of trying to get Watkins free from the death grip of Revis, the Bills did virtually nothing.

By our highly unscientific count, in six games, Revis has now allowed 16 catches on 28 targets for 228 yards this year, with one touchdown and one interception

Looking ahead: On Monday, Revis was asked if he knew anything about the upcoming opponent, the New York Jets. He responded with a straight face.

“Ah, I know nothing about them. I definitely don’t. Hope that answers your question,” he said before breaking into a smile.

Revis against the Jets is one of the more intriguing matchups of the 2014 season. The veteran, who spent six seasons in New York, evolved into an All-World cornerback on Rex Ryan‘s watch. But now, he’s on the other side of the battle.

The corner, who spent last season in Tampa Bay before joining the Patriots this offseason, said that when it comes to the Jets, there’s a “lot that has changed” since he left North Jersey. As a result, any familiarity he might have had with personnel or scheme is pretty much out of the window … other than the fact that he’s familiar with the basics of Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast offense.

“[Brian] Schottenheimer was the coordinator there when I was there. It’s a different coordinator now, and they run a totally whole different offense.

“It’s a West Coast offense — that’s what [Mornhinweg] runs. We’ve played other coaches who run the West Coast offense,” he added. “Once you’ve been doing this for awhile, things look the same, especially when you play against the same west coast offense. Coaches might put some kinks in here and there, or different things in the offense — their little touch. But at the same time, it’s still a West Coast offense.”

Also, he indicated that he’s focusing on his own responsibilities instead of offering much help dissecting the New York offense.

“The coaches are focusing on that on their own. I have a lot on my plate and what I need to do, game-plan wise. I’ll leave that to the coaches.

Possible man matchups this week (with the understanding that it won’t solely be one on one): There are no elite receivers on the Jets, but the best option at this point might be to try and match him against Eric Decker. While other pass catchers have emerged as favorites of quarterback Geno Smith (rookie tight end Jace Amaro actually leads New York in receptions), the Decker-Revis matchup might be a good one, if Belichick and the Patriots are inclined to try and utilize Revis in the man-on-man coverage he’s been doing the last two weeks.

Decker is a 6-foot-3, 206-pounder out of the University of Minnesota who made his bones the last two seasons catching passes from Peyton Manning in Denver. (He had 85 catches and 1,064 yards in 2012 and 87 catches and 1,288 last season.) He’s struggled with a hamstring injury, but has still 20 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns through six games with the Jets this year.

Problem is they have the least effective passing game in the league. Smith and Michael Vick average a 55.5 completion rate between them, 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.) Not that it matters, but Smith is expected to start Thursday against the Patriots.

This is Revis second career game against the Jets, and his second against Smith. In the 2013 clash with New York at MetLife Stadium, he finished with one tackle in an 18-17 loss to New York.

Money quotes: “A little sick to my stomach.” — Ryan on how it makes him feel watching Revis in a New England uniform

“He’s one of the best, if not the best. It’s going to be, if we have one-on-one matchups at all, it’s going to be tough.” — Decker on Revis

One more thing: If Revis and the Patriots can win Thursday, the Ravens will be the only remaining AFC team he has never beaten.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Rex Ryan and Geno Smith have their work cut out for themselves Thursday night. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)Here's a five-point plan for how the Jets could possibly, maybe, somehow, perhaps beat the Patriots in Foxboro Thursday night (even though they won't).



Bill Parcells said he reacted to Bill Belichick‘s decision to walk away from the Jets head coaching job 15 years ago with a simple philosophy;