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Matthew Bonesteel
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Matthew Bonesteel

Washington Post Editor and Football Guru

New England at New York Jets, Week 2

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4:15 p.m.

Just once, it would be refreshing for NFL players to tell us what they really think. For instance, this week would have been the perfect time for a Jets player to say, in regards to Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel, "We're going to try to freak him out," or for another player to say, in regards to the Patriots without Tom Brady, "They're not as good a team without him."
But no, the Jets said no such things this week.
"To say that team is done and it opens things up [for us] because Brady is down is not right," Jets guard Brandon Moore told the New York Post this week. "He didn't make that team. That team made that team. There's still going to be a big battle in the AFC East."
"Tom is a great player and you cannot underestimate the impact he has, but New England is an outstanding team in a lot of different areas," said Coach Eric Mangini, who probably has a lot of things he would like to say about the Patriots.
The Jets likely will face a Patriots offense that's a bit different from the explosive attack we're all accustomed to. The Patriots threw the ball on 11 of 15 offensive plays, including on their first eight plays, while Brady was in the game against the Chiefs last Sunday. After Brady exited, New England mixed it up more, passing six times and running five during Cassel's first series (which included both a 51-yard pass and a 10-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss).
The Jets' pass rush, which sacked Miami's Chad Pennington four times last Sunday, should be a little more aggressive than the Chiefs', who sacked Cassel twice.
Keep in mind that the Patriots rarely use the same offensive game plan twice in a row, instead tailoring each week's plan of attack toward the weaknesses of the opposing team's defense (in the Jets' case, New England could try too go after rookie cornerback Dwight Lowery, although he looked good in his first NFL start last week, breaking up three passes). But Brady's ability to read defenses and make adjustments in the no-huddle was a big reason why New England could be so varied in its game plans in recent years, and it remains to be seen whether Cassel can replicate the quick-strike offense so often marshaled by Brady.

By Matthew Bonesteel  |  September 11, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Post Gameday Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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