Laurence Maroneyoffered a one-word answer when asked what he expected Giants Stadium to be like on Sunday when the Patriots visit the New York Jets.
Then he offered a few more.
"I can see it now being one of those games you dream about playing in. One of those games you know you're going to have to play all 60 minutes ... It's going to be a physical game. We've gotta be ready for it."
One of the ways Maroney is getting himself ready is by watching film. Lots of it. Not just of the Jets but also of the Baltimore Ravens. It's not that Maroney is looking ahead to his team's Week 4 match-up, it's that the Jets head coach is Baltimore's former defensive coordinator and the New York defense looks a lot like the Ravens'.
"You can see similarities. They use their personnel the same way."
And the way the Jets use their personnel often is to blitz, which can be a game-changing strategy on either side of the ball.
"There are going to be a lot of one-on-ones, a lot of open zone. So, if we can stand up to the blitz, we can make big plays on them," Maroney reasoned.
"We have to make sure the running game is present that day because if the running game's doing its thing, they're going to shy away from their blitzes and a lot of the things they do."
That said, Maroney maintained that he enjoys the physical aspect of the game, especially early on.
"I do. I can't speak for anybody else, but I do. Because it tells me how ready I am for the game."
Maroney was ready, it seemed, from the get-go against Buffalo Monday night. As the primary kickoff return man, he took the season-opening kickoff half the distance of the field to give the Pats great starting field position. Though he hasn't been a contributor on the kick return team since his rookie year, Maroney is eager to do so again.
"You know, we always preach, 'Start fast,'" he observed. "I feel like, what's a better way to start fast than take the opening kickoff to the house."
Punter Chris Hansondivulged that, in his mind, the Meadowlands, where the Jets play their home games at Giants Stadium, is one of the more challenging arenas in which to punt in the NFL. He said he and All-Pro kicker Stephen Gostkowski like to stick to their kicking routine in such conditions, but they realize the elements force them to change sometimes.
"It's just a mindset," Hanson explained. "You focus on the little things and work on your fundamentals. Stephen and I … we get to the stadium on game day and see what the wind is like. After that, we go and make our adjustments."
The night before a game, Hanson also likes to stick to his time-honored routine.
"Talking to my kids and my wife. That's about it. I call them before games. It gets my mind away from things. I think if we focus too much on some things, it can hinder us, especially big-picture things. That's why I go back and focus on the little things that got me where I'm at."
Thursday locker room/practice notes
Mayo was again the only player absent from practice on Thursday. The rest of the team was out on the field, in full pads.
An unusually slow day in the Patriots locker room Thursday. Not many players were around and even fewer granted media interviews.