FOXBOROUGH — Cornerback Marquice Cole knew he would gain a different perspective on the Patriots-Jets rivalry when he switched allegiances by signing with New England on March 19.
“It’ll be fun, going against the guys I’ve played with for years and gone against in practice and stuff,’’ said Cole, who played for the Jets from 2009-11. “So it’ll be fun. It’ll be a competitive game.’’
Cole, however, will have a different vantage point in this intense AFC East matchup on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
“I know it’s a rivalry and everything,’’ said the four-year veteran out of Northwestern. “But you go out to win every game, so it’s not like this game will be different than any other game.’’
Asked if the chance to play against the Jets had any influence on his decision to sign with New England, Cole replied, “Just another opportunity to come out here and play football, so this was a place that wanted me here and I decided to come here.’’
Cole will face former teammates such as quarterback MarkSanchez, whom he often engaged in good-natured competitions in the Jets locker room.
“He’s just an energetic guy,’’ Sanchez said.
“Really played great for us on special teams, on defense, but he’s one of the best teammates you could ever ask for, so I know they’ve got a great player and a guy that can fit in anywhere.
“[He’s] one of those guys you never want to see leave your building, but sometimes that stuff happens. It’s too bad, but I love him as a player and even more as a person.
“It will be cool to see him, but we’ve got to try to win and put the friendship aside for a little bit.’’
Back to school
While much has been made about the Patriots-Jets rivalry, Matthew Slater, who went to UCLA, was the first to equate it to his old college rivalry with Southern Cal.
For Tom Brady, nothing beat the intense border war between Michigan and Ohio State.
For Vince Wilfork, it was the civil war between Miami and Florida State.
As for Danny Woodhead? Nothing beat the smoldering intensity between Division 2 Chadron State, Woodhead’s alma mater, and its intrastate rival.
“That would’ve been Kearney-Nebraska,’’ said Woodhead. “That’s UNK, because they were pretty much the only other Nebraska team we played. It was a big rivalry because we had played them for a long time.’’
Did his teams beat UNK all four years at Chadron State?
“No, we didn’t,’’ Woodhead said. “I think we might’ve split, 2-2. But we got ’em the last time.’’
After his team squandered a 23-10 fourth-quarter lead in last Sunday’s setback at Seattle, guard Logan Mankins is hoping the Patriots can find a way to finish out opponents. Asked what was the mystery surrounding the team’s end-of-game struggles, Mankins said, “I don’t know. We just haven’t done a good enough job of it. It’d be nice to get out there in the fourth quarter this week and have a really strong finish to the game, and score some points in the fourth and maybe close out the game with the offense. I just think it takes a better effort from everyone out there.” . . . The Patriots signed linebacker Jeff Tarpinian from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. To make room, offensive lineman Matt Tennant was released.
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.