- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Bill Belichick rarely reveals much information before a game, and that’s how he was Tuesday in a conference call with the Jet writers. Asked about preparing for the wildcard, he declined to give specifics. Asked how the loss of Rob Gronkowski would affect the Patriots offense, the coach offered only a terse, “We’ll see.”
But asked how Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was performing this season, one in which Sanchez has taken a great deal of criticism, Belichick practically gushed relatively speaking.
“He played really well against St. Louis,” Belichick said. “I mean obviously he played well against us, most importantly.”
But he didn’t stop there.
“(Sanchez) Makes all the throws, athletic in the pocket, he’s always a threat to run,” Belichick said. “I think the play-action game is good. Using all the receivers, getting the ball to his backs and tight ends. [TE Dustin] Keller’s certainly been a good guy for him to get back here the last couple weeks. He’s done a good job of audible-ing, checking plays at the line of scrimmage as part of their package. I think he’s done a good job.”
Earlier, Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty had addressed the challenge that Sanchez presented.
“We just know we have to keep rushing them and be ready to play,” McCourty said. “We know at any time he’s a good quarterback. He can make plays with his arm. He’s a mobile guy that can get the ball down the field once he gets on the move. For us, we just prepare. He’s someone we see twice a year. We just prepare and get ready to go.”
Now about how the lack of Gronkowski affects the offense ...