FOXBOROUGH — Before he put his team through its first workout of the week Wednesday, a walkthrough at Gillette Stadium in preparation for Sunday’s AFC East showdown against the Jets, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the familiarity the division rivals share would likely prevent either team from springing a surprise.
What could the Patriots possibly throw at the Jets that they hadn’t already seen by now?
“Nine-foot line splits,’’ Belichick deadpanned.
“I think it really comes down to execution,’’ said Belichick, turning serious. “I’d really be surprised if this game is won by the team that comes out with something that has never been seen in the history of football before.
“I think this is going to be a game of execution,’’ he continued. “Running . . . blocking . . . tackling . . . throwing . . . catching . . . defending . . . kicking game . . . a lot of basic things — a lot of things they do well.’’
Belichick was particularly impressed by the Jets defense in their 35-9 victory over the Colts last Sunday. The Jets held the Colts to three field goals, 41 yards rushing, and forced four turnovers (2 interceptions, 2 fumbles) while recording four sacks, all of which matched or set season highs.
“Well, they did a good job in the running game,’’ Belichick said when asked what impressed him about the Jets’ defensive performance against the Colts. “In the passing game, they used a lot of different personnel combinations. They used nickel, dime, quarter, 6-7 defensive backs, they changed up looks.
“They got ahead in the game, so that made it a passing game and so they used a lot of their multiple defensive back, multiple blitz coverage schemes and got a couple of turnovers. They were ahead in the game and they were able to get into their multiple defensive pressure/pass schemes and they did a good job of it.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.