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Notebook: Renewed rivalry with the Jets on tap

Devin McCourty leads the defensive huddle.
Devin McCourty leads the defensive huddle.

With the second week of regular-season preparation under their belt, the Patriots wrapped things up on Friday, ready to take on the New York Jets as they look to get a win and even their season record.

Ball security was certainly an area of focus this week, with the four fumbles (two lost) playing a central role in the takeaways of things to be improved. The mistakes cost them in the one-point game.

"I think anytime you have a team that we all rely on each other, we're all accountable to each other, we all support each other and we all make mistakes," Belichick said on Friday morning. "We can make a mistake at the beginning of the game, we can make a mistake at the end of the game, and sometimes that gets magnified because of the timing of it. But there are other things that could have happened at different points of the game that would have had just as big or maybe even a bigger effect on the game.

"Nobody is not doing the wrong thing on purpose. Sometimes it doesn't work out. Sometimes it does. But in the end, you control your preparation, you control your effort, you control your attitude, you control your toughness, those things are all in your control. You do the best that you can with those. Once you let those go, then I think that's really where the problems start because now you're not doing everything you can to give yourself and your team the best chance."

This Sunday the Patriots will meet a new-look Jets team, with head coach Robert Saleh coming over from San Francisco and second-overall pick Zach Wilson leading the charge at quarterback. The Jets are coming off a loss to the Panthers, where Wilson made a late push and showed some of the talents that rocketed him up the draft boards.

Though a new regime and quarterback, it doesn't take much away from an always heated rivalry.

"You're both chasing the same goal of the division championship," said Belichick, "It's a rivalry where you know your opponent well. They know you well, and you have a high level of competition and respect for the opponent, but you also go at a high level of competition because they know you so well. You know them well, and you kind of prod and poke and look for areas to attack and exploit based on, let's say, almost an intimate knowledge of your opponent, and they do the same. It's not that all other games aren't competitive, but I think those divisional games are just a little more competitive because of the familiarity of the teams and the franchises that we have."

Patriots.com's Mike Dussault shares his players to watch ahead of the Patriots Week 2 matchup against the New York Jets.

Five Points of Emphasis vs. Jets

  1. Make the Big Plays (offense edition): The offense was solid in the opener and with a rookie quarterback and a bunch of new pieces, it was solid. But let's face it, 16 points isn't going to win a lot of games and they need to find a way to finish drives with touchdowns. If the offense is able to push the ball down the field a bit better it could ease the red zone worries by producing some explosive scoring plays. Check out this breakdown from The QB School to see a good illustration of some of the plays the offense left on the field against the Dolphins. There's a lot of reasons for optimism and while there will eventually be games with some steps backward, playing an undermanned Jets defense should be reason for another positive step forward.
  2. Running the Red Zone: Last week, inside the Miami 26-yard line, Mac Jones completed five-of-nine passes for 40 yards and a touchdown for a 103.9 QB rating, however, the Patriots ran the ball just five times for five yards with a fumble in the same area. Mac should take some passing shots to the end zone in this area but the easier answer is producing better yardage on the ground inside the red zone. The Jets' defense was solid in their red zone performance last week, allowing one touchdown in four trips by the Panthers.
  3. Make the Big Plays (defense edition): It looked like things were playing out in a familiar fashion when Jonathan Jones intercepted Tua Tagovailoa last week, setting up the Patriots offense for a potential game-winning drive. Instead, the script was flipped with Damien Harris' fumble. Still, with an opportunity to make another big play to give their offense another chance, the Pats D didn't come through. The veterans on the unit have all made their shares of big plays in big moments but as the 2021 team finds its way, the Pats defense needs to step up. Especially against an explosive downfield thrower who can extend plays with his legs, there will be plays to be made on the ball.
  4. Clean Football: A simple but common point of emphasis for the early part of the season, especially coming off a loose ball security performance, is a clean game low in penalties and devoid of giveaways. That will go a long way toward getting the Patriots the victory. As Bill Belichick has pointed out, teams have to first learn how to not lose before they can win. Not beating themselves is the biggest key to this Week 2 matchup.
  5. Win: Even at the height of the Patriots' power, games against the Jets in New Jersey always seemed to be closer than expected. It was once again evident last year when Nick Folk's 51-yard game-winning kick as time expired was the difference. No matter how it looks or how many of these points of emphasis the team is able to execute, it's all about breaking into the win column and getting to 1-1.

Practice & Injury Report

The Patriots got some good news on Friday for their final practice of the week as Trent Brown (Questionable) returned after missing the first two sessions of the week. Brown left just seven snaps into the Miami game and was missed on the right side of the line, and while it's still tough to know if Brown will be healthy enough to play on Sunday, his presence at practice is a positive.

Kyle Van Noy missed his third-straight practice of the week and was later ruled out along with Quinn Nordin. Expect Nick Folk to be activated and a more extensive role for Josh Uche and Henry Anderson in their absence. Yodny Cajuste, Ronnie Perkins and Jonnu Smith are also Questionable.

New England Patriots
Table - Injury report
Player Injury Game status
Trent Brown, 27, is a veteran of six NFL seasons with San Francisco (2015-17), New England (2018) and Las Vegas (2019-20). The 6-foot-8, 380-pounder originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick (244th overall) by San Francisco out of Florida in the 2015 NFL Draft. Brown was acquired by New England in a trade with San Francisco on April 27, 2018, and signed with the Raiders as an unrestricted free agent on March 13, 2019. Brown has played in 63 regular season games with 60 starts in his career and all three playoff contests with New England in 2018. Brown has started at both right tackle and left tackle during his career. Over two seasons with the Raiders, Brown started all 16 games he played at right tackle. After earning his first Pro Bowl selection in 2019, he was limited to five games in 2020.
Trent Brown
Calf Out
Kyle Van Noy, 29, was signed by the New England Patriots as a free agent on March 19, 2021. He is a veteran of seven NFL seasons with Detroit (2014-16), New England (2016-19) and Miami (2020). He played for the Patriots from 2016 through the 2019 season after joining the team in a trade with Detroit on Oct. 25, 2016. Van Noy was part of two Super Bowl Championship teams with the Patriots. He was waived by Miami on March 10, 2021. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder originally entered the NFL as a second-round draft pick (40th overall) by Detroit in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Brigham Young. He was traded to New England from Detroit on Oct 25, 2016, and signed with Miami as an unrestricted free agent on March 21, 2020. In seven NFL seasons, Van Noy has played in 95 games with 65 starts and has accumulated 348 tackles, 23½ sacks, seven forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, two interceptions and 16 passes defensed. In addition, he has scored touchdowns on a 29-yard blocked punt return, a 46-yard fumble return and a 22-yard fumble return. Last season with Miami, Van Noy started in 13-of-14 games that he played and finished with 69 total tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six passes defensed.
Kyle Van Noy
Throat Out
Yody Cajuste was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round (101st overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft...Three-year starter at tackle, having played in 31 career games and starting 30.
Yodny Cajuste
Hamstring Questionable
Ronnie Perkins was selected by the New England Patriots in the third round (96th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ronnie Perkins
Shoulder Questionable
Nelson Agholor, 27, is veteran of six NFL seasons with Philadelphia (2015-19) and Las Vegas (2020). The 6-foot, 198-pounder originally entered the NFL as a first-round draft pick (20th overall) by Philadelphia in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Southern California. He was signed by Las Vegas as an unrestricted free agent on March 20, 2020. He has played in 87 regular season games with 75 starts and has registered 272 receptions for 3,411 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns. In addition, he has played and started in two postseason contests and posted 19 receptions for 205 yards. Agholor had nine receptions for 84 yards in Philadelphia's Super Bowl LII victory over New England. Last season, he played in all 16 games with 13 starts and finished with 48 receptions for 896 yards and eight touchdowns.
Nelson Agholor
Ankle Not_Listed
Kyle Dugger was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round (37th overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Kyle Dugger
Wrist Not_Listed
Jalen Mills was signed by the New England Patriots as an unrestricted free agent from Philadelphia on March 19, 2021. Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round (233rd overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. Re-signed by Philadelphia as an unrestricted free agent (3/24/20).
Jalen Mills
Ankle Not_Listed
Quinn Nordin
Quinn Nordin
Abdomen Out
Jonnu Smith, 25, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with Tennessee after entering the NFL as a third-round draft pick (100th overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Florida International. The 6-foot-3, 248-pounder has played in 60 regular season games with 53 starts and has 114 receptions for 1,302 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also has rushed for 82 yards on six attempts with one touchdown. In addition, Smith has played in six postseason games with five starts and caught 11 passes for 87 yards with one touchdown.
Jonnu Smith
Hip Questionable

Quotes of Note

J.C. Jackson on Jets quarterback Zach Wilson:

"Just being able to read your keys and understand that he is a move-the-pocket quarterback. As a secondary, we've got to do a good job of having good eye control, passing the receivers downfield, just being aware of that. He can throw the ball off the back leg, he can throw the ball on the run, in the pocket... he pretty much does everything."

Lawrence Guy on Christian Barmore's progress:

"He's a good player. He shows his athletic ability, he shows he can make plays.... He's not scared to ask questions, he comes to the meetings, he's asking me about certain techniques and just trying to get to know him. All young players have the same thing, you wanna go ask those questions, 'what do I do to be a better player?'... The best thing about him is he's not afraid to ask the veteran players for help."

Yasir Durant on getting up to speed with the Patriots:

It's been a group effort. Coach [Carmen Bricillo], coach Billy [Yates], I've spent a lot of time in the film room with them. Even the rest of the o-line, Trent, David, Shaq and those guys, I've been able to come to them and ask them questions, some stuff that I might not understand or know and they'll break it down and explain it to me. It's been a group effort, just all around the board trying to get me adjusted and caught up."

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