2014 DRAFT GUIDE
No Gronk vs. Jets, but Pats still go as Brady goes

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. - AP Sports Writer
    2012-11-21 12:17

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - There were no sighs of relief, no jumps for joy when the New York Jets found out they wouldn't have to worry about Rob Gronkowski this week.

Sure, the New England Patriots lost perhaps the league's top playmaking tight end for a few weeks with a broken forearm. But Rex Ryan's team knew better than to celebrate.

``I don't know,'' Ryan said, shaking his head. ``They have five tight ends on their roster, so I don't know if they'll put another guy in that role. I'm not sure how they'll do it.''

If Ryan has learned anything in his nearly four seasons as coach of the Jets, it's that Bill Belichick usually finds a way to win no matter who's out there - or isn't - on the field for the Patriots. Ryan also knows New England can change the personnel, but as long as it's still Tom Brady's bunch, it'll be a tough task.

``When you look at him,'' Ryan said, ``you can almost say he's a machine back there.''

And Ryan is right about the Patriots' glut of tight ends. Aaron Hernandez could return for the game against the Jets (4-6) Thursday night at MetLife Stadium after missing the last three with a sprained right ankle, and New England also has Daniel Fells, Visanthe Shiancoe and Michael Hoomanawanui at the position.

``New England is so multiple, they give you sometimes it could be four wides, five wides, could be a bunch of tight ends and all that,'' Ryan said. ``So, we'll see as the game goes how it affects them.''

Belichick was typically tight-lipped when asked if the loss of Gronkowski will change the offense for the Patriots (7-3).

``Well, we'll see,'' he said. ``I don't know. We'll see.''

Sounds as though Belichick, one win from becoming the eighth NFL coach with 200 victories, has something up his hoodie. Just as he always does. Gronkowski or no Gronkowski, the Patriots still have Brady, of course, and that's enough for anyone in New England to feel confident.

Brady was asked earlier this week if Gronkowski seemed to be in a decent mood when the two spoke.

``I haven't been thinking about his spirits,'' Brady said. ``I've been thinking about the Jets.''

Uh-oh.

A focused and determined Brady is certainly cause for concern for the Jets.

``He's going to be Brady,'' safety LaRon Landry said. ``He's going to complete passes and he's going to be great out there. We are going against a tough quarterback.''

Talk about an understatement. Brady needs one touchdown pass to extend his streak with at least one to 43 straight games - third-longest in league history behind Drew Brees (53 and counting) and Johnny Unitas (47). He has 51 career 300-yard passing games in the regular season, and one more would put him into tie for fifth place with Kurt Warner. Brady also needs 86 yards passing to move past Dan Fouts (43,040) for 10th place on NFL's career list.

``The thing about him is he's a machine, yet he's passionate and a fiery leader and all that type of stuff, so you wish he was just a machine,'' Ryan said. ``His competitive side elevates his team as well. That's what you get in those once-in-a-generation type quarterbacks, that he's just a special guy.''

The Jets know all about it, too. Brady is 4-0 with 10 TDs and one interception in his last four regular-season games against them. He's 17-5 overall when playing New York, including New England's playoff loss in the 2010 postseason.

The Patriots have also been dominant in the second halves of seasons since 2010, going a combined 18-0 so far - including 8-0 in both 2010 and `11, and 2-0 this season. That doesn't bode well for a Jets team trying to get back into the playoff hunt after a miserable start.

``This is a very important game for our season, so I'm not overly concerned with their season,'' Brady said. ``I think about what our season is all about and what we need to do. This is a very good team. It's always very challenging to play them, especially on the road. It's a short week and there's a lot to prepare for, so it will really test our mental toughness and see what we're all about.''

Well, the entire league already knows that the Patriots' top-ranked offense is efficient and explosive, as proven by their 59-24 walloping of Indianapolis on Sunday. Brady leads a steady passing game, and a four-man rotation of Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden gives New England a productive and unpredictable rushing attack.

The Jets handled Brady and the Patriots' offense for much of the game the last time the teams played last month in a 29-26 overtime victory by New England that New York thought was theirs for the taking.

``When it mattered most, he delivered and they got the victory,'' Ryan said. ``We know each other so well. We know enough of Tom Brady to know if he knows exactly what you're in, you're in trouble.''

That game ended when Rob Ninkovich forced and recovered a fumble by Mark Sanchez, moments after Stephen Gostkowski kicked a go-ahead field goal in overtime. It started a string of three straight losses for the Jets, who appeared on the verge of seeing their season slip away until a solid performance last week in St. Louis.

Sanchez was efficient and mistake-free for the first time in weeks, giving the Jets plenty of hope heading into this matchup with the Patriots.

``They played really well against St. Louis if you watched that game,'' Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker said. ``They're a physical team. They got to the quarterback. They forced some negative plays for them and really did some good things. So, they got some momentum coming off that game and we've just got to make sure that we keep our momentum going.''

Both teams are cramming to prepare for their second game in five days, a short work week for such a big game.

For the Jets, a win would get them within a game of .500 and avoid a sweep by the Patriots for the second straight season. For New England, it would put them in control of the division at 4-0 with just two games against Miami left and send New York scrambling to stay in the wild-card hunt.

``You look at this as a chance to separate yourself from the rest of the pack,'' Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo said. ``We handled the Bills and now this is a big game for us to kind of distance ourselves.''

---

AP Sports Writer Howard Ulman in Foxborough, Mass., contributed to this story.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Steven JacksonDec 22 09:33a

Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson (quadriceps) is expected to be ready for Week 17.

Mark SanchezDec 22 08:43a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez will start in Week 17 against the New York Giants instead of QB Matt Barkley, according to head coach Chip Kelly.

Johnny ManzielDec 22 03:33a

The Cleveland Browns may look to upgrade the quarterback position in the offseason despite the presence of QB Johnny Manziel. League sources have said Browns general manger Ray Farmer [ More ]

Aaron RodgersDec 22 12:02a

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (calf) tweaked his calf in the Week 16 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but said Sunday, Dec. 21, that he expects to [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Dec 21 09:13p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. posted eight receptions for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Week 16 game against the St. Louis Rams. He [ More ]

Alameda Ta'amuDec 21 07:42p

The Arizona Cardinals have declared DL Alameda Ta'amu, OG Anthony Steen, WR Brittan Golden, SS Chris D. Clemons, QB Drew Stanton, OG Jonathan Cooper, DL Kareem Martin inactive for Week 16.

Chris MatthewsDec 21 07:32p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared WR Chris Matthews, DL Demarcus Dobbs, WR Kevin Norwood, C Max Unger, OT Russell Okung, TE Tony Moeaki, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 16.

Matthew StaffordDec 21 05:12p

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford completed 22 of 39 passes for 243 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in the Week 16 game against the Chicago Bears. He [ More ]

Ahmad DixonDec 21 11:52a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Ahmad Dixon, LB Anthony Barr, OT Carter Bykowski, OG Charlie Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, CB Shaun Prater, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 16.

Devier PoseyDec 21 11:52a

The Houston Texans have declared WR DeVier Posey, TE Garrett Graham, LB Jason Ankrah, S Josh Aubrey, LB Mike Mohamed, QB Tom Savage, OG Xavier Su'a-Filo inactive for Week 16.

A.J. KleinDec 21 11:52a

The Carolina Panthers have declared LB A.J. Klein, OG Amini Silatolu, CB Carrington Byndom, OT David Foucault, RB DeAngelo Williams, DL Kyle Love, SS Robert Lester inactive for Week 16.

Charles GodfreyDec 21 11:52a

The Atlanta Falcons have declared CB Charles Godfrey, LB James Anderson, OG Jon Asamoah, CB Ricardo Allen, QB Sean Renfree, DL Stansly Maponga, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 16.

Jamarca SanfordDec 21 11:52a

The New Orleans Saints have declared SS Jamarca Sanford, DL Lawrence Virgil, LB Moise Fokou, WR Seantavius Jones, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, OT Terron Armstead, RB Travaris Cadet inactive for Week 16.

Justin BrownDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Clifton GeathersDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Carl BradfordDec 21 11:42a

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Davon House, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo, QB Scott Tolzien inactive for Week 16.

Chris McCainDec 21 11:42a

The Miami Dolphins have declared LB Chris McCain, OT Dallas Thomas, RB Daniel Thomas, CB Don Jones, WR Matt Hazel, OG Nate Garner, WR Rishard Matthews inactive for Week 16.

Arthur BrownDec 21 11:42a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, DL Casey Walker, CB Chris Greenwood, C Gino Gradkowski, WR Michael Campanaro, OG Ryan Jensen, DL Terrence Cody inactive for Week 16.

Aaron MurrayDec 21 11:42a

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, RB Charcandrick West, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, CB Marcus Cooper, DL Nick X. Williams inactive for Week 16.

Gary BarnidgeDec 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared OT Andrew McDonald, TE Gary Barnidge, RB Glenn Winston, CB Joe Haden, DB K'Waun Williams, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 16.

Chris ConteDec 21 11:42a

The Chicago Bears have declared FS Chris Conte, QB David Fales, OG Kyle Long, PK Robbie Gould, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott, DL Will Sutton inactive for Week 16.

Dakota DozierDec 21 11:33a

The New York Jets have declared OL Dakota Dozier, SS Jaiquawn Jarrett, QB Matt Simms, FS Rontez Miles, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 16.

Alfonzo DennardDec 21 11:33a

The New England Patriots have declared CB Alfonzo Dennard, OG Dan Connolly, RB James White, OT Jordan Devey, WR Julian Edelman, CB Kyle Arrington, RB LeGarrette Blount inactive for Week 16.

Anthony CollinsDec 21 11:32a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared OT Anthony Collins, FB Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, DL Lawrence Sidbury, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron, WR Solomon Patton inactive for Week 16.

Kelvin BenjaminDec 21 11:22a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin won't face Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) Sunday, Dec. 21, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Joe HadenDec 21 11:22a

Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) is out Sunday, Dec. 21.

Julio JonesDec 21 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is active Sunday, Dec. 21.

Jay CutlerDec 21 10:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler is receiving trade interest from the Tennessee Titans. If the Titans landed him, it would alter the 2015 NFL Draft board dramatically.

T Y HiltonDec 21 10:22a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is a long shot to play Sunday, Dec. 21. However, he's going to try to suit up.

DeMarco MurrayDec 21 10:12a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) will play Sunday, Dec. 21, but the team is nervous how well he'll hold up in pass protection. If the team qualifies for [ More ]

Zach ErtzDec 20 07:42p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz had 15 catches for 115 yards Saturday, Dec. 20. Both of which are career highs.

Philip RiversDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group