The last time Tom Brady met up with the Jets, he was a one-man wrecking crew — against his own team. At least, that’s the way it felt to the Patriots quarterback, who had two interceptions and a strip-sack fumble during the 28-14 Week 2 loss at New Meadowlands Stadium.
But 11 weeks later, armed with his perfect passer rating from the Thanksgiving win against Detroit, plus a few extra days to get a handle on the Jets’ fancy schemes, Brady is feeling pretty confident heading into Round 2 Monday night.
“We had a lot of time to meet (Wednesday) and go through a lot of games that they’ve played and really get a good feel for their scheme and what they’re doing,” Brady said yesterday. “I certainly feel like I have a very good idea of what we’re going to see and things that worked for them, things that haven’t worked for them and things that have worked against other teams . . . I think that playing them on 11 days (between games) has certainly been a huge benefit for me.”
It’s rare that Brady admits or acknowledges having anything down pat, so he must really be feeling good about his preparation for this highly anticipated game.
As it is, it’s hard to imagine many quarterbacks much hotter than Brady has been the past three weeks against Detroit, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. San Diego’s Philip Rivers and Kansas City’s Matt Cassel are certainly in the discussion, but Brady, who earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts against the Lions (21-of-27 for 341 yards, four TD passes), has really been in the zone of late.
That’s in contrast to what he was like during the first meeting with the Jets. It was the tale of two halves with the good Brady and the bad Brady, and he knows it’s going to take a complete-game effort, not just from him, but from everybody to take down the Pats’ archrivals.
“Hopefully we play better than we did in Week 2. I think that’s what we’re all trying to accomplish this week,” he said. “I don’t think we played very good. We need to play a lot better this week to be a team that is really playing great football and has really proven that we can win in a lot of different ways. We like to think of ourselves as very tough, physical, smart, resilient, and that’s what they are, too. So as much as it pains me to say, that’s kind of what it’s been with the Jets this year.”
Jets coach Rex Ryan has said all week he wasn’t going to treat Brady with kid gloves. He wasn’t about to be passive and let Brady sit back in the pocket and dissect his defense. He’s going to come after the Pats QB.
“Well, they’ve always done that. I don’t think that’s anything that we don’t expect,” Brady said. “When you look at their blitz percentages, they blitz about half the time. On third down, they blitz about three-quarters of the time. They’re blitzing a lot and that’s really a trademark of the defense: to try and find different ways to get after the quarterback. That runs in the family. Rex said the same thing and I know, talking to coach Belichick, his dad (Buddy Ryan) was the same way. If you could hit the quarterback, who cares about the coverage? But, with this team, they cover you well, too. They hit the quarterback and they cover. I think that’s what makes them so unique.”
Whatever Brady has seen from his film study, however, makes him believe he’ll be able to avoid the hits and crack the coverage on Monday night.