ESPN football analyst and former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi talked on Wednesday about the Patriots-Jets rivalry and why opponents seem to be picking on the New England secondary this season.
Opponents have attempted 36 passes of more than 21 yards downfield against the Patriots, the most of any team in the league. The Pats, to their credit, have intercepted four of those throws, tied for most in the NFL.
"That's reputation, a reputation that the Patriots have now," Bruschi said on SportsCenter (video above). "They're seeing this secondary, they're seeing where the weaknesses are, why should we pound it into a brick wall, which is Vince Wilfork, which is Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo? Let's just go deep and test these guys because you're either going to get a pass interference call or the defensive backs aren't going to play the ball well in the air or you're going to get a completion.
"The chances are high that you'll have success testing them down the field. The Seattle Seahawks knew this and the rest of the league knows it too. If you want to get big chunks you can do it against the New England secondary.
As a veteran of 26 games between the Patriots and Jets (during which the Patriots were 17-9), Bruschi says New England keeps things even tighter than usual when the Jets are the opponent.
"This is just the week when coach Belichick addresses the team on how to address the media," Bruschi says. "He will rarely do that but he knows the emotions of the players can sometimes come out with a microphone in your face. So i'm sure he's saying this week, Welker you keep your mouth shut, Brady let's keep it under the vest in front of the press and all you rookies, you don't speak at all.
"He wants to keep it close to the vest here, but believe me, they're emotional. the Patriots and Jets, they hate each other."