FOXBOROUGH - Before his Jets headed to New England to face their AFC East rivals, Rex Ryan said New York had had its best week of practice of the year. After his Patriots beat New York Sunday, 30-21, Bill Belichick said his team had had one of its best weeks of practice this season.
The same opinion, but with opposite results.
So does a good week of practice more often than not lead to a win or does it merely serve as a confidence booster for a team heading into a game?
“That’s a good question,’’ Belichick said yesterday. “The one thing you can never evaluate is how the other team practiced. You could have a bad week of practice but relative to what the other team did, it might be a good week of practice. Or you could have a good week of practice but relatively speaking you could be behind your opponent. There’s really no way to know that.
“All I know is that we only have so many opportunities. We have opportunities to meet, we have opportunities to watch film, we have opportunities to walk through plays, we have opportunities to practice them. Those are limited; it’s not an infinite number.
“I think that the more you get out of those, the better off you’re going to be. The better your meetings, the better your film study, the better your walkthrough, the better your practice, the more prepared you are to go into the game and play it. That’s what we try to emphasize.’’
Some weeks are better than others, Belichick continued. The goal is not to waste the number of chances the Patriots have to prepare for the coming opponent, to maximize the time they have in an effort to put forth the best performance possible.
“I think that definitely helps our execution in the games and certainly our confidence going into the games,’’ he said. “Not that we’re not confident in winning, but on each individual play that you’re asked to do, if you’ve done it in practice and you know that it’s worked and you know exactly how to do it, then you can go out on the field and do it a lot more aggressively than if that isn’t the case. I think there’s certainly a lot of carry-over and it’s tied together.
“Again, you can have the greatest week of practice in the world and if you don’t go out there and play well on Sunday, I don’t want to say that’s all that matters, but it is all that matters. There’s nothing in the standings for practice. It’s how you perform under pressure. That’s the ultimate test, but all the preparation that leads up to it is certainly important.’’
Caught in the act
It was a play reminiscent of Benjamin Watson’s chasing down of Champ Bailey in the 2005 playoffs: on Sunday, Tom Brady and Wes Welker connected on a perfect deep ball, and Welker seemed off to the races.
Only Darrelle Revis had other plans. The Jets cornerback caught up to Welker before he could reach the end zone, tackling him at the 7. New England went on to score, but Welker was denied the chance for another long touchdown to add to the 99-yarder he had in Miami.
Brady was asked yesterday if Welker would take some ribbing from teammates for being chased down.
“Hell yeah, he’ll take heat for getting caught. Are you kidding me? Seventy-three-yard-catch?’’ he said with a chuckle. “That should have been an 80-yard touchdown. Believe me - that will motivate Wes. He’ll be out there doing sprint work, making sure he won’t get run down again.’’
Brady made the comments during his weekly contractually obligated appearance on WEEI.
The Patriots released offensive lineman Thomas Welch. Because of Sebastian Vollmer’s back injury, Welch has gone back and forth between the practice squad and 53-man roster this season. He played Sunday against the Jets as a sixth blocker/tight end, and also played against Oakland and Miami.
A seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 2010 who was cut out of training camp and spent last season with the Vikings , Welch must clear waivers before he can be re-signed to the practice squad. There was no word on who would fill the open spot on the roster.Shalise Manza Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.