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Patriots now consume Jets' waking hours


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The postgame locker room had a decidedly pregame intensity.

The Jets -- or at least the backups wearing Jets uniforms -- had just come back to beat the Eagles in the preseason finale Thursday night. But while the participants rehashed plays from that evening, the regular players who were mere observers already were deep in their preparation for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener.

Even coach Eric Mangini, Mr. One Day, One Meeting, One Play at a Time, said he's taken more than a cursory peek at some of the Patriots' preseason portfolio in recent days.

"It's always good to be able to work a little bit ahead," Mangini said, "so I've caught a couple of the games."

The Jets have seven days to refine their Patriots game plan, but they've been working on it since training camp began July 27 and probably have been formulating and figuring since right after the Jets lost their playoff game in Foxboro in January.

That focus became more acute after last Saturday's game against the Giants, the last significant game action for most of the regulars.

The Eagles game was nice to win, and important in evaluating some of the players who could make the roster. But for many, it was just something to watch other than Patriots game video.

"I've been thinking about next Sunday for the past week or so," tight end Chris Baker said after taking an unnecessary shower Thursday night.:bag: "Obviously, we've been looking at what they're doing, especially in that third preseason game, that's a big game. We'll really, really get into it now."

The season opener is always a tone-setting game. But this year, with the Jets facing the Patriots, it could reverberate for months. The Jets haven't opened the season against a division opponent since 2002, when they beat the Bills in overtime and went on to win their only AFC East title in the last eight years.

"Usually we end up playing somebody outside the division on opening day," Baker said. "This is the last team we played last year, and with all the success they've had, it's obviously a big game right off the bat for us."

Obviously.

Notes & quotes: Talks between the Jets and G Keydrick Vincent, released by the Ravens earlier in the week, have cooled off, according to a person familiar with the situation. Even so, the Jets are one of three NFL teams with an expressed interest in Vincent ... Mangini said he liked what he saw on the winning drive, in which the Jets went 65 yards in 15 plays in 2:47 to kick a 35-yard field goal as time expired. Still, something was missing. "It felt a lot like practice," Mangini said, "but without the music going." ... The Jets, and all NFL teams, must reduce their rosters to 53 names by 5 p.m. Saturday.

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