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Oversized Jenkins is a good fit in New York

Despite his 360 pounds, the Jets' Kris Jenkins (sacking Bills QB Trent Edwards) possesses stunning agility and quickness. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

By Adam Kilgore

November 13, 2008

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Kris Jenkins has always preferred city life. He grew up outside Detroit and attended the University of Maryland, just outside Washington. He plans on dedicating himself to philanthropy and cooking once his football career concludes. He enjoys the theater and jazz clubs. He promotes education through art.

Jenkins never truly loved playing defensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers, living in a place unable to quench his tastes. He played in Charlotte for his first seven seasons, and his struggles often outweighed his happiness despite success on the field.

"Charlotte was supposed to be the city," Jenkins. "But it was country."

Jenkins, then, is where he belongs, playing in his first season for the New York Jets. His comfort with the city and enhanced maturity have helped him play the best football of his career and become one of the most dominating players in the NFL.

At 6 feet 4 inches and 360 pounds, Jenkins is immovable clogging runs and stunningly agile rushing quarterbacks. The Patriots will try to limit his impact tonight at Gillette Stadium, something no opponent has successfully accomplished this season.

Jenkins is playing at as high a level "as anyone in the league," Jets linebacker David Bowens said. "His penetration reminds me of Pat Williams in Minnesota, [Tennessee's Albert] Haynesworth. When you look at big guys like that who force negative plays, he's a guy like that."

Jenkins nearly frittered away his talent last season. His weight ballooned to almost 400 pounds. He drank frequently. His behavior threatened his career and convinced the Panthers to trade him to the Jets for third- and fifth-round draft picks.

Jenkins recognized an opportunity. He stopped hanging out in clubs. He controlled his weight and devoted himself to his three children and family.

"Staying out of the streets and taking care of my family," Jenkins said. "That's it."

Jenkins finished last season with the Panthers weighing 392 pounds. He arrived at training camp at 360 pounds and collected a $500,000 bonus for meeting workout requirements. The Jets also inserted a weight clause in his contract: The team weighs him 10 times each season, and he earns $25,000 if he makes his proper weight.

"I think that it is a second start," Jenkins said. "I'm starting to feel like I have my life together. A lot of things have changed since when I first started. When I first started playing, rookie year, I was young and immature. Now this is Year 8, and I get a fresh beginning and it's a chance to make a different kind of impact.

"I really like the area. I like the team. It just feels welcoming. I really got a second chance, so I'm going to take advantage of it."Continued...

Jenkins rapidly asserted himself as a leader, his vibrant personality pervading the locker room. Yesterday, a teammate asked him if he wanted to join a group delivery order of sandwiches. Jenkins was brushing his teeth at his locker.

"You know me," he said. "I'm going to eat my lentils."

"He's crazy," Jets safety Kerry Rhodes said. "He can be quiet one minute, the next minute he's loud. Next minute, he's a big brother. Next minute, I'm his big brother. You never know with him. He's one of those personalities."

Jenkins's personality, though, is not restricted to jokes. He has addressed the Jets and told them their talent rivals that of the Panthers team with which he advanced to Super Bowl XXXVIII. "If they did it, we can, too," Jenkins announced.

After the Jets beat the Kansas City Chiefs Oct. 26, Rhodes drove with Jenkins from his house in New Jersey to Ricardo Steak House in New York. Jenkins talked the entire time, sharing lessons from his life, barely allowing Rhodes a word.

"He can talk you to death," Rhodes said. "And it may come out quirky or may not be what you think, but at the end of the day it has a positive message."

Most of all, his teammates respect Jenkins's performance. His presence, Bowens said, forces opponents to run the ball outside. Linebackers playing behind him run free "because he's almost guaranteed a double team, every time," Bowens said. His size helps him stuff two gaps, and his quickness lets him burst around and through blockers and into the backfield.

Focused on his season and still settling into a temporary home, Jenkins has yet to fully experience New York. After the season, he plans on checking out the city's restaurant scene. He'll continue his work with Life Pieces to Masterpieces, a nonprofit program that teaches inner-city kids about life using art as a framework. He may see a Broadway show.

Jenkins will have time to choose. He said he is looking into buying a house in the area, ready to call his new team - his new city - home.

"I love it," Jenkins said. "I think that we might be out here for quite a while."

Adam Kilgore can be reached at akilgore@globe.com

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When: 7:15 p.m. Line: Pats by 31/2

Synopsis: Both teams come into this showdown for the AFC lead at 6-3 and rolling. NY has won 3 in a row, is 3rd in the NFL in scoring (28.3 points per game) and Brett Favre has 16 TD passes, No. 3 in the AFC. He'll be working vs. the NFL's 23rd-ranked pass defense. NE has won 3 of 4 and gives up just 17.8 points/game, No. 7 in the league. Rookie RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis has scored TDs in 4 consecutive games and the Pats are 4-1 at home. Jets are 2-2 on road, including a loss at Oakland. But this could be a good spot for an upset, because Pats' secondary is banged up and a soggy night is expected

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N.Y. Jets at New England

6 p.m., NFL Network, Patriots by 3

By Jim Armstrong

The Denver Post

Article Last Updated: 11/12/2008 11:41:30 PM MST

Last meeting: Patriots won 19-10 at the Meadowlands on Sept. 14

Pats are used to being prime-time players. They've won three consecutive on Thursday night. Just wondering: Who would have thought, back in midsummer, that Brett Favre and Matt Cassel would be the QBs in this one? NYJ TB Thomas Jones, a former Broncos trade target, has eight rushing TDs in past five games. Good news is Pats' Stephen Gostkowski is tied for league lead with 21 FGs. Bad news is he's tied for league lead with 21 FGs. Pats struggling in red zone, ranking 22nd with 47.1 TD-conversion rate. Jets' defense coming on. New Yawkers rank No. 5 in run D. Coach Hoodie 13-6 career vs. Jets. SpyGate snitch Eric Mangini 1-5 against Pats.

Prediction: Jets 23, Patriots 19

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No more pretending; win and contend

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - One man.

One man changed the course of history for two franchises.

The Patriots have won three Super Bowls since Bill Belichick told Woody Johnson to take that job and shove it.

And the JetsNew York Jets haven't been able to do a damn thing about it.

It's time.

It's time for this head coach, it's time for this quarterback, it's time for these players, to give their owner, to give their tormented fans, a great big belated bang for their buck.

Beat this man, already. Beat this team.

Beat this cheat who brazenly spied on you in broad daylight in defiance of NFL rules.

Beat this man and beat this team tonight so you at least give yourself a chance - a chance - to beat this man and beat this team to the Super Bowl.

Beat this man and beat this team tonight so you can use this game as a launching pad for the rest of your season.

No excuses.

Beat this man and beat this team that without Tom Brady. And Rodney Harrison. And Adalius Thomas. And Lawrence Maroney.

Beat this man and beat this team, Brett Favre: This was your mandate when the franchise whacked Chad PenningtonChad Pennington and brought you to New York, to win games like these, to infuse your new team with undying belief, especially in the fourth quarter, to make the big throw in the big moment. Sure, sure, as a 39-year-old gunslinger you carry fewer bullets in your holster, but you still pack enough heat to keep defenses from ganging up on Thomas JonesThomas Jones , and all that savvy, moxie and guile, and shame on you if you don't know your new offense well enough to outduel Matt Cassel.

Beat this man and beat this team, Eric Mangini: This was your mandate when Woody The Owner [no relation to Joe The Plumber, as far as we know] decided that imitation is the greatest form of flattery and gave you and Mike The GM the green-and-white light to build Patriots South. You beat this man once, in your rookie 2006 season, and haven't beaten him since. Beat this man and restore the faith of a wary and weary fan base that longs to hail you as Mangenius again. Beat this man and you become the pupil who steps out of his mentor's shadow once and for all.

Beat this man and beat this team, Mike Tannenbaum: This was your mandate when you were promoted to replace Terry Bradway, who tried to beat this man with Herm Edwards and Pennington and could not. You endured a sophomore slump, but then Woody The Owner gave you the green-and-white light to morph into Scott Pioli, and $140 million later, here we are. Nose tackle Kris Jenkins, possible defensive MVP. Calvin Pace, pass rushing demon. Alan Faneca, tough and fiery. Damien Woody, pretty smooth transition to right tackle. Oh, and Brett Favre. Thought you didn't know much football. Thought you were a salary cap guy.

Beat this man and beat this team, Woody Johnson: This man stiffed you, walked out on you, told New York that he didn't want to be HC of your NYJ after one day on the job. Yes, he wanted to escape the giant shadow of Bill Parcells, GM at the time, but face facts, he wanted Bob Kraft signing his checks instead of you. So you formed your own Generation Jets management team and here we are. You didn't enjoy being 4-12, so what did you do? You silenced the naysayers who were certain you didn't want to win badly enough by opening your wallet and turning Mike The GM loose in free agency. You went "4" it by signing off on Brett the Jet, even if you knew it would help you sell those outrageous PSLs.

Gentlemen, your team is peaking, oozing swagger, finally finding its identity. You stand once more at the corner of Contender and Pretender.

Turn that corner.

Beat that man and beat that team.

They have never been more beat-a-Bill.


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Player- Pats defensive players old and slow

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Losing this game for the New York Jets is, quite simply, not an option.

They didn't spend $140 million in new talent during a frantic offseason of retooling then add Brett Favre to lose twice to the Matt Cassel-led Patriots.

The Jets have the opportunity they've been craving tonight when they take their 6-3 record and put it up against the Patriots' 6-3 and see who emerges as the sole tenant in first place in the AFC East.

Deep down in their souls, the Jets believe they're a better team now than the Patriots. Deep down, they know they're better.

One Jets offensive player, who spoke under the condition of anonymity because he didn't want to provide bulletin board fodder for the Patriots, talked about being "sick to our stomachs" about the Jets' 19-10 loss in Week 2 at the Meadowlands. He felt the Patriots were vulnerable - particularly on defense. Not to mention it was the first game with Matt Cassel at quarterback, after Tom Brady was injured in Week 1 vs. the Chiefs.

The player spoke matter-of-factly about how "slow" and "old" a number of the New England defenders are and how he believes the Jets should be able to put up "a lot of points" on them tonight.

The Week 2 loss was maddening to the Jets. They thought that was their chance to finally beat their division rival. Cassel was starting his first NFL game. Yet the result was the same - a teasingly close game in which the Patriots simply made fewer mistakes and won. Again.

"After that game, it was disappointing, but we knew we had to keep moving on," Jets DE Shaun EllisShaun Ellis said. "Now we have another opportunity. One thing I remember people saying in that locker room after the game was, 'We'll have another shot.' Here's our opportunity, so we have to go out and get a win in their home stadium." Now, the Jets have to get on the field and prove they are the better team, and they know that.

"This has got to be the biggest game in a long time for the Jets," Jets RT Damien Woody, a former Patriot, said. "Guys are really looking forward to that. We're tied for first, at this point in the season, against the Patriots, the team that has had a stranglehold on this division.

"We've got a great opportunity to make a move, and guys are really looking forward to the challenge."

A big part of that challenge is simply getting over the stigma that they can't beat the Patriots, who've won the last four in the series against the Jets and 11 of the last 12, dating back to 2002.

"Until we beat these guys, or until anyone beats these guys and knocks them from the top, then they're always going to be the team to beat," Favre said. "This is a big opportunity for us, obviously. Every one of our guys are aware of that.

"I know exactly what this game means, the weight it carries. I'm well aware of what New England has done over the last decade or so."

Leon Washington said a win tonight "would mean a lot."

"If you think about all the games they've beaten us in the past and all the divisions they've won the last 10 years," he said.

The Jets have a healthy respect for the Patriots, but they're sick of losing to them.

"We don't need to be constantly reminded every time we play this team how bad we've been against them," Ellis said. "Really, to me, I'm tired of hearing it myself. I've been hearing it for years. I'm sick of it right now.

"We're trying to get it fixed. Hopefully we can get it done this week. We've just got to go up there and play sound. They've always got the edge - got the turnovers, beat us on the fundamental things always."

Another bugaboo in this series of futility for the Jets is how poorly their offense has fared against the New England defense. The Patriots have held the Jets to 17 points or fewer in 11 of the last 12 games between the teams.

"That's one thing we've got to flip, don't give them those easy plays, those easy turnovers and just make it a grind-out game," Ellis said. "They're good at capitalizing on your mistakes."


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Posted: 3:45 am

November 13, 2008

FOXBOROUGH - Eric Mangini yesterday said he plans on bringing Jay Feely and Mike NugentMike Nugent to New England and he'll make a decision today on who'll kick tonight against the Patriots.

It would be hard to fathom Mangini going to Nugent, who's been out since injuring his right thigh in the season opener, over Feely, who's coming off his best game as a Jet.

You would figure Mangini would go with the hot leg. As of yesterday, though, neither kicker knew what was on Mangini's mind.

"I'm not worried about it and I'm not even thinking about it, because it's out of my control," Feely said. "I definitely want to play - not only because I'm having fun and am coming off a good game and feel like I'm kicking well, but because this is such a big game for this team.

"Those are the kinds of games you look forward to playing."

Feely was good on all four of his FG attempts last Sunday against the Rams and his KOs were strong. One of his FGs was a 55-yarder at the end of the half.

"It definitely was one of my best games kicking off, kicking some field goals and I made a couple tackles," he said. "I love to make some tackles. That's when I feel like a football player."


Mangini yesterday called Ty Law "spry" in his first practice in about a year.

"He got a decent amount of reps," Mangini said. "He didn't seem to be too winded."


Several Patriots have taken notice on how much better the JetsNew York Jets are since Week 2.

"Yeah, they are real explosive," Pats DT Ty Warren said. "I think all the new guys - with the turnover this past offseason - they look real comfortable and look like they have a real niche with what the concept is over there and what they are trying to do."

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It's now or never for Jets to knock off Patriots-Bob Glauber

November 13, 2008


After buying $140 million worth of talent on the open market, trading for the iconic Brett Favre and winning five of their last six games to move into a first-place tie in the AFC East, it comes down to this for the Jets: There will never be a better opportunity to beat the Tom Brady-less Patriots and make the kind of statement to their fans and, more importantly, to themselves that they are a serious playoff contender.

If the Jets can't beat the Patriots now, how can they expect to be viewed otherwise?

The Patriots have been the gold standard in the division since winning the first of three Super Bowl titles after the 2001 season. But the Patriots are as vulnerable now as they've been since Bill Belichick turned the franchise into a champion. They are a shell of the team that became the first to go 16-0 a year ago:

Bob Glauber Bio | E-mail | Recent columns

No Brady, who is out until next year with a knee injury.

No tailback Laurence Maroney, gone for the season with a shoulder injury.

Maybe no backup tailback Sammy Morris, who has had knee problems.

No outside linebacker Adalius Thomas, done for the season with a broken forearm.

No Rodney Harrison, out with a torn quadriceps muscle.

An offensive line that has regressed because of age and injury.

A secondary without three starters from last season, including standout Asante Samuel.

Can there be a better opportunity for the Jets than this?

No way.

That's why the pressure is squarely on the Jets in this one, regardless of how Eric Mangini tries to paint this as one of 16. Tight end Chris Baker even called this "a must win," though there is no finality to the outcome in terms of playoff implications. But with the undefeated Titans next up on the schedule, the very real possibility of a 6-5 record after getting this far is a distasteful - albeit entirely plausible - alternative.

With Belichick there is always a chance for the Patriots, regardless of who is in or out of his lineup. And you know how badly he wants to beat his divisional rival and his former defensive assistant; the hatred is still palpable.

Now, I'm not saying the Jets would be toast for the rest of the season if they lose to the Patriots. There are six games left for both teams after this game, and we've seen plenty of teams not coming through in big spots, only to rally later in the season. Remember last year, when the 6-2 Giants hosted the Cowboys in a measuring-stick game? The Giants were blown out by Tony Romo & Co. and deemed unworthy of elite status.

Um ... yeah. Things changed somewhat over the course of the next couple months. But remember this: The Giants lost to a fully stocked Cowboys team back then, not one gutted by injury.

That's why beating the Patriots as currently constituted is so essential. Go into Tennessee next week at 7-3 and feeling confident after a road win before a national television audience, and who knows what happens. After that, it's Denver, at San Francisco, Buffalo, at Seattle, then Miami to finish the season. The possibilities are there, no question.

But lose to the wounded Patriots tonight, and the psychological aftereffects could be demoralizing. The doubts might never disappear.

That's why the Jets need Favre to come up big tonight. In fact, tonight is exactly why they brought him in. He's got the big-game experience that goes back to his early days with the Packers. He's got the arm. And the swagger. It's all right there for him and his new team.

Ty Law knows it. The Jets' newly signed cornerback saw what it did for his old Patriots teams.

"[The Jets] have the greatest quarterback of all time," Law said of Favre. "You can never count him out. It's kind of like when you're playing in New England. You could never count us out because we had Tom Brady."

But now the Patriots don't have Brady, and a lot of other stars. They beat the Jets in Matt Cassel's debut as an NFL starter in Week 2.

Favre can't let it happen again.

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Jets need Favre to come up big against PatriotsBY ERIK BOLAND | erik.boland@newsday.com

November 13, 2008

1 2 next FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Brett Favre isn't trying to fake it.

He can talk at length about some of the league's most intense rivalries that he has been involved with, but Jets-Patriots isn't one of them.

"Well, it feels different, obviously, because it's not ... I played 16 years straight in the Metrodome, Soldier Field," Favre said of the Packers' primary rivals, the Vikings and Bears. "That I can't wipe away."

But that's not to say he doesn't appreciate the magnitude of tonight's AFC East first-place showdown between the 6-3 Jets and 6-3 Patriots.

"I know exactly what this game means, the weight it carries," Favre said Tuesday. "I'm well aware of what New England has done over the past decade or so. Once again, it just comes down to football. I'm well aware of what this game means."

As does everyone else involved with the Jets, who have been dominated by their hated rival since Bill Belichick took over in New England in 2000. The Patriots have won 13 of the 15 meetings, though Favre has been there for only one of them.

That was a 19-10 loss in Week2, Matt Cassel's first start as Tom Brady's replacement. The game is remembered for Favre's third-quarter interception that led to a Patriots' touchdown and the Jets failing on three straight Thomas Jones goal-line runs in the second quarter that guard Brandon Moore called "the low point" of the season.

Cassel, when called on, has made plays since then, but Favre believes he's also made strides, his recent title of "game manager" aside. "I think I'm up to date, for the most part, on what they're doing," Favre said of the difference in comfort with the offense he feels between now and Week 2.

General manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Eric Mangini swung the deal for Favre not with this game specifically in mind, but one like it. They brought the future Hall of Famer to New York not only to put the Jets in position to play in a meaningful game like this, but to win it.

Asked that "this is why they brought you here" question, Favre gave a mischievous grin.

"That may be true, then again it might not be true," he said. "That may have been why we brought [nose tackle] Kris Jenkins in. Let's put it off on Kris."

But Favre knows better, as do his teammates, who yesterday expressed a certain trust in going into a hostile environment with someone who has played in these "big" games for nearly 20 years.

"He's had so many comebacks in games and played in so many big games, it definitely builds a little bit higher confidence knowing a guy like that is leading your team," said rookie tight end Dustin Keller, who had his first 100-yard game Sunday against the Rams.

Tackle Damien Woody played in a bunch of important games with the Patriots from 1999-2003, then not so many in Detroit.

"It is good to have someone like Brett out there to really know how to direct traffic, someone who's been in these pressure-type situations that I'm sure we're going to be in," Woody said.

And maybe it's a benefit that Favre hasn't experienced nearly the amount of frustration against the Patriots that teammates Shaun Ellis and Laveranues Coles have. The Jets have oozed looseness and confidence during this short work week but also a healthy respect for their longtime tormentor.

"They're still a great team," Coles said. "They're still the team to beat until somebody proves otherwise."

Coles gave a rueful smile when it was implied that the Patriots, who have lost Brady, running back Laurence Maroney, safety Rodney Harrison and linebacker Adalius Thomas to injuries, had suffered one personnel hit too many.

"They still do what they do, nothing's changed," Coles said. "They're going to play their style of football, they're going to run their plays, they're going do what they do. They're just always going to be New England. New England doesn't change."

The Jets certainly have this season. How much might be determined tonight.

8:15 p.m.

TV: Ch. 11, NFL Network

Radio: WEPN (1050), WABC (770), WRCN (103.9)


Record: (6-3)

Coach: Bill Belichick (9th season, 111-43)

They keep losing stars (LB Adalius Thomas this week), yet no one counts the Patriots out from making another Super Bowl trip. "They're capable of plugging people in and keeping the train going," the Jets' Laveranues Coles said. Rookie free-agent RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis has five TDs in his six games. And there are still Randy Moss (43 catches, 4 TDs) and Wes Welker, second in the NFL with 66 catches.



OUT: TE Bubba Franks (hip), LB David Harris (groin), S Eric Smith (concussion)

QUESTIONABLE: K Mike Nugent (thigh)

PROBABLE: WR Laveranues Coles (thigh), WR Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder), WR Brad Smith (shoulder), LB Cody Spencer (shoulder)


OUT: LB Adalius Thomas (forearm), CB Terrence Wheatley (wrist)

DOUBTFUL: RB LaMont Jordan (calf), CB Lewis Sanders (hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE: LB Eric Alexander (hamstring), RB Sammy Morris (knee), G Stephen Neal (knee), DE Ty Warren (groin).



The Patriots are running a scaled-down version of the offense Tom Brady ran. But in Sunday's 20-10 win over Buffalo, the playbook was opened up a bit and Cassel completed 23 of 34 for 234 yards. He's 179-for-267 (67 percent) for 1,800 yards with seven TDs and seven INTs. Many of his mistakes came when he's been pressured, and he's been sacked 29 times.

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Related topic galleries: Adalius Thomas, Brett Favre, Eric Mangini, Laveranues Coles, Shaun Ellis, Randy Moss, National Football League

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NTs Jenkins, Wilfork play big roles for Jets, Pats: November 13, 2008- FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - They are 675 pounds of men in the middle, two massive human detour signs that force running backs in another direction.

Nose tackles Kris Jenkins of the New York Jets and Vince Wilfork of the New England Patriots are there to make sure much smaller players get stopped soon after they take a handoff.

Two huge men - the relatively svelte Wilfork is about 25 pounds lighter - with a big job.

With rain expected for most of the night, both teams go into Thursday's matchup tied for the AFC East lead at 6-3 after winning their last game with outstanding rushing performances.

Thomas Jones led a 206-yard ground attack with 149 yards and three touchdowns in the Jets' 47-3 rout of the St. Louis Rams. BenJarvus Green-Ellis picked up 105 of the Patriots' 144 yards rushing in their 20-10 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Wilfork made a speedy transition from a hard-rushing tackle in college at Miami to a 3-4 defense, where he had to hold his ground as a rookie after the Patriots drafted him in the first round in 2004.

Jenkins was traded to the Jets last February after seven seasons with Carolina, where he played in a 4-3 alignment every year.

"Being a nose tackle, I study a lot of guys that play that position," Wilfork said, "and, right now, he's one of the best, it being his first year playing there. He's up there."

It hasn't been easy.

"I didn't think it was something that was impossible," Jenkins said. "I just thought that it was going to take some time and some hard work and extra dedication."

The Jets have the fifth stingiest run defense in the league, allowing 76.4 yards per game. Jenkins has 2 1/2 sacks, 6 tackles for a loss and plenty of plays when he simply clogs the middle and forces runners into the arms of his teammates.

"What has been outstanding is his commitment to playing the technique and never having any exposure to a 3-4 defense, whether it be in college or pro football," New York coach Eric Mangini said. "He has really tried to understand how the blocking schemes are going to work and I think he has done a good job with that."

Wilfork has developed into one of the best nose tackles in the NFL and made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season. He was fined four different times last season for a total of $35,000 - some of the transgressions coming after the whistle - and was fined again for a hit on Denver quarterback Jay Cutler on Oct. 20.

"I'm very passionate about the game. I play hard. Sometimes it might be too hard," Wilfork said after meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell the week after the game. "I told him I'll try to change my style up a little bit and hopefully get a better slate. But, as of right now, I've got a pretty bad one out there."

Jenkins has learned from Wilfork, watching him on tape in the offseason while adjusting to his new role with the Jets. One of the main lessons is to hold your ground and resist the temptation to charge ahead.

"One of the first challenges that I had was to sit back and be patient because when you are in a 4-3 you just want to take off and disrupt, but you can't do that anymore," Jenkins said. "He's very stout when he gets in there and, if you notice that about the way he plays, it's very hard for offensive linemen to move him. He stays very low to the ground."

New York is the AFC's highest scoring team and has four defensive touchdowns. New England outgained Buffalo by more than 2-to-1 Sunday when the Bills' only touchdown came with 1:42 left.

In the second week of the season, Jones rushed for 70 yards in a 19-10 loss to the Patriots but leads all AFC rushers with 750. Green-Ellis, an undrafted rookie, quickly climbed the depth chart when Laurence Maroney, LaMont Jordan and Sammy Morris all were injured. Maroney is out for the season and Jordan is listed as doubtful for Thursday's game. But Morris is questionable, meaning there's a 50-50 chance he'll play.

"We've definitely had some injuries at that position, but guys are stepping up," Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel said.

He started for the first time in his four pro seasons this year against the Jets after Tom Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury. That debut came in the same game in which Brett Favre made his 255th straight career regular season start and second with New York.

Now - with two very large men trying to stop their offenses - the quarterbacks are playing for a big prize: first place in a division with two teams at 6-3 and the other two at 5-4.

"No one likes losing. I came in here to do one thing, to help this team win. I've said that from Day 1," Favre said. "I hoped we would be in this position, and we are."

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Ty Law suits up after 2 practices



Wednesday, November 12th 2008, 9:30 PM

After only two days of practice, newly signed CB Ty Law declared himself ready to be thrown into the fire Thursday against the Patriots.

Law, 34, who spent 11 months out of football, said he felt a "little rusty" in Tuesday's practice. But he's confident he'll be fine in a limited role, and practically dared the Patriots to throw his way.

"It's a challenge," said Law, who signed Monday night. "If you're a competitor, like I am, you're like, 'Okay, fine. Bring it.' I expect it. That's going to be the fun part."

Eric Mangini said Law looked "spry" and "not too winded" in practice. "Considering where he's starting from, I think we're very good," Mangini said. ... CB/KR Justin Miller, waived Tuesday by the Jets, was claimed on waivers by the Raiders.

GETTING KICKS: Kicker Mike Nugent, healthy after a two-month injury to his right thigh, made the trip to New England. Mangini said he'll make his decision today on whether it'll be Jay Feely or Nugent. Feely, coming off a stellar game, may have a slight edge. The anticipated rain also could favor Feely. If Nugent were to slip in the wet conditions and aggravate his injury, the Jets would be in trouble. ... TE Bubba Franks (hip), S Eric Smith (concussions) and LB David Harris (groin surgery) were declared out for the game.

CATCH-UP: Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery caught only one ball apiece Sunday, only the second time in 2-1/2 years that's happened to the starting tandem. Brett Favre said the Rams focused on the two receivers, creating opportunities for rookie TE Dustin Keller (six catches for 107 yards).

If the Patriots shift extra coverage to Keller, it could swings things back to Coles and Cotchery.

"There's real value in being able to pressure the middle of the defense," said Mangini, alluding to Keller's impact. "You add in Leon (Washington), which is another element of pressure in the passing game ... and now you can create some issues. Hopefully, that takes some of the coverage away from the perimeter."

Another possible twist: The Jets could deploy Washington in the "Wildcat" formation. The Patriots couldn't stop the Wildcat in a Week 3 loss to the Dolphins.

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Jets feel time now on their side against aging Patriots



Wednesday, November 12th 2008, 9:40 PM


Eric Mangini (l.) and Brett Favre are looking for revenge after a Week 2 loss to the Pats.

The Patriots can be had; the Jets really believe that. They can't say it, lest their comments wind up on Bill Belichick's bulletin board, but they see cracks in the defending AFC champs.

They see old people, especially on defense. They see the mounting injuries. And they still don't see Tom Brady.


Simply put, the Jets see a perfect opportunity Thursday to end years of torment. The tangible reward for a victory in Foxborough would be sole possession of first place in the AFC East, but the game transcends the standings. It's about pride and credibility and finally breaking free from the Patriots' choke hold.


After 11 defeats in the last 12 meetings, the Jets believe they're ready to shatter the Patriots' sense of superiority.

"Maybe they do feel that way about us - I hope they do - but this is an entirely different team than what we've had in the past," tight end Chris Baker said Wednesday in a quiet Jets locker room.

Baker, one the team's longest-tenured players at seven seasons, surveyed the room, where players dutifully packed their travel bags for the Jets' biggest game in years. There was no loud music like on most days, just some hushed conversations and serious faces.

"We have a lot of talent in this room," Baker continued. "You look around and we have three of four Hall of Famers, maybe more, sitting in the room with you. That makes a huge difference. We're very confident. We feel pretty good."

For two months, the Jets have suppressed their inner Dennis Green. From the moment they walked off the field after their Week 2 loss to the Patriots, a relatively even game that tilted on a few plays, the Jets felt they had squandered a chance to pounce on them with neophyte Matt Cassel making his first start for the injured Brady.

Quoting Green's infamous rant from 2006, some players said they let the Patriots off the hook - a bold sentiment, considering how they've been dominated in recent years. But the Jets felt the Patriots were vulnerable, and that feeling has been reinforced by season-ending injuries to linebacker Adalius Thomas, safety Rodney Harrison and running back Laurence Maroney.

The Patriots keep winning because that's what they do - they're 4-3 since the Week 2 meeting - but they haven't played nearly as well as the Jets. Coming off the most decisive win in franchise history, 47-3 over the Rams, the Jets have won three straight and five of six.

The Jets' offense, out of sorts in the first New England showdown, has developed a nice run-pass balance with Brett Favre seemingly more comfortable in the system. His rapidly developing rapport with rookie tight end Dustin Keller, a potential matchup nightmare for the Patriots' decimated secondary, could be the X Factor.

"They've got the greatest quarterback of all time; you can never count him out," newly signed cornerback Ty Law said of Favre. "When I was playing in New England, you could never count us out because we had Tom Brady. It's the same thing here. There are a lot of similarities between the teams."

Historically, the Jets never score much against the Patriots. Under Eric Mangini, their point totals resemble hands on a blackjack table: 17, 17, 16, 14, 10 and 10. At times, they've been manhandled by the Patriots' front seven, but age and injuries have taken a toll. The linebacking corps have slowed down, and the secondary is a patchwork unit. When the Jets see the Pats on tape, they shake their heads, wondering how they've managed to keep it together.

That the Patriots have remained so competitive is testimony to Belichick's coaching and the resilience of its championship core. But how long can they use heart and resourcefulness to beat the Jets?

"There are a lot of holes in their defense," said one Jet, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "We should be able to score some points."

Thomas Jones leads the AFC in rushing, but the two most potent weapons could be Keller and running back Leon Washington. Get the ball to them in the open field, and it could be trouble for the graying New England defense.

"They've got a plethora of weapons to go to," Patriots defensive end Ty Warren said.

If neither team can run the ball, quite likely, it'll come down to Favre versus Cassel, the "old, grizzly quarterback against the young buck," NFL Network analyst Chris Collinsworth said. If Favre's 39-year-old bones cooperate, it should be his kind of game. With only three days to prepare, there was no chance for information overload.

"Short week, no overscheming, no overthinking," Favre said. "Just comes down to execution."

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