Judging by safety Kerry Rhodes’ comments that broke in this morning’s papers, I think it’s safe to say Gang Green feels confident heading into Sunday’s showdown with the New England Patriots.
The safety was asked yesterday if the Jets defense will be able to get to Tom Brady more than the six times the Buffalo Bills were able to hit him Monday night, to which he replied:
“We’ll hit him more than six times, I can promise you that.”
But Rhodes didn’t stop there. He went on to provide the Patriots with the quintessential bulletin board material.
“You go out from the first quarter on, from the first play on, and try to embarrass them,” the safety said. “Not just go out there and try to win, try to embarrass them. Try to make them feel bad when they leave here. We don’t want to just beat them. We want to send a message to them, ‘We’re not backing down from you and we expect to win this game, and it’s not going to be luck, it’s not going to be a mistake.’ ”
The Pats retorted with their standard “talk is cheap” mantra, and they might be right. But these are the kind of things that have been missing from this team since the previous regime took the reigns.
You can call it “bravado” if you wish. But Rhodes’ comments are entirely necessary for this particular set of circumstances.
The Jets have lost eight consecutive home games to the Patriots. Meaning they haven’t beat the Pats in Giants Stadium since we entered the new millennium. The Patriots have been the class of the NFL in this decade, and in the swamps of Jersey have made the Jets their personal whipping boys for quite some time.
The mentality of this team has to change if that statistic is going to change. Rhodes’ words are right now just that, words. But they show a confidence that wasn’t allowed to be verbally expressed under Eric Mangini, an outward expression of “We’re not going to take this anymore, it ends here”.
Some might think that’s asking for trouble with the Pats coming to town. But I disagree. With a new coach who is not averse to verbalizing his confidence in the team he has, it’s only natural his players will feed off that, and exhibit heightened confidence in the process. Rhodes’ statements come before a “Statement Game” for his team, and that’s not a bad thing. He’s put extra pressure on his teammates, but it’s a pressure they should welcome – we know their coach does.
The Pats are the team the Jets will have to get through in order to get to where they want to be, and there’s nothing wrong with letting them know they’d better be ready. Because things are different in the Meadowlands, and it’s about time somebody let Tom Brady’s bunch know it.
LIGHTER IN THE WALLET
The club was fined $100,000 Wednesday for leaving former QB Brett Favre off their injury report at the end of last season. The league also fined Mangini $25,000 for his role in the coverup.
“We have been fully cooperative with the league throughout this investigation and respect their decision,” the organization said in a statement.
So it looks like we can finally close the Brett Favre Era in New York. And as has become custom, it ends unceremoniously.
Running back Shonn Greene participated fully in practice today, and is ready to go for Sunday’s tilt against the Pats. Head coach Rex Ryan is unsure of how much the rookie from Iowa will play, and what his role will be in the offense in his first action of the season. But it will certainly be nice to have an extra back of Greene’s caliber Sunday against a vulnerable Patriots defense.
In other injury news, QB Kellen Clemens participated fully in practice after an elbow injury had limited him previously. Defensive tackle Kris Jenkins was also limited in practice, but is expected to play Sunday.
The team works out again Friday in their final preparation for Sunday’s game. Be sure to check back to JetsInsider for all your breaking news and updates.