- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Who will Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis defend this week in New England? Coach Rex Ryan wasn't tipping his hand Wednesday.
"Whoever we put him on," Ryan quipped. "How's that?"
When pressed if a decision had been made, Ryan added: "We have, but that doesn't mean I have to tell you or anybody else. Whoever we put him on, he'll cover. If that's [Deion] Branch, if that's [Wes] Welker, if it's Chad Ochocinco, or, you know, [former Patriots wide receiver] Randy Vataha. It doesn't matter, he'll cover him."
In a nutshell, that was Ryan's teleconference. He mixed a few doses of humor while lamenting his own team's struggles and heaping praise on the Patriots' offense. Like the Patriots, he admitted it was a big game, but he didn't offer any sort of bulletin-board fodder that has slipped out in past matchups.
Boasting a 2-2 record and having been throttled by the Baltimore Ravens last week might have taken a little of the bravado out of Ryan. Now as the Jets look to rebound against an AFC East foe, Ryan wouldn't offer up any of his game plan, remaining coy on the injury status of center Nick Mangold and refusing to bite on who might be matched up against Welker.
"I think the big thing [with Welker] would be, he plays in the slot a lot of times and it's hard to get at," Ryan said when asked why teams don't put their best cover corner on him more often. "He's not just an outside receiver, he's a slot receiver and, a lot of times, there's pick routes and all those type of things that are tough to defend."
Then Ryan went to the humor: "It looks like, to me, Welker is struggling this year -- 40 catches. And this offense in general is struggling. You talk about our offense, but New England is second in scoring offense -- if you want to talk about struggling, I think they need to look at themselves first."
On the Jets' side of the ball, Ryan sees one good way to improve his offensive line.
"I'd just like to add one player: I'd like to bring Nick Mangold back," Ryan said of the center who has been out nearly three weeks with a sprained ankle. "I think that will be a big help for us. I'm definitely hopeful that Nick will play. I think that you take out the best center in football, and no offense to Colin Baxter, but there's only one Nick Mangold in this league. When he went out, that was really a big loss for us and hopefully he'll be back in ready to play this week. Obviously, with Vince [Wilfork] and all those guys -- I don't know about [Albert] Haynesworth's status -- but with all those guys they have up front, we need Nick."
Ryan said that the Patriots' pass rush is formidable.
"The Haynesworth kid only played [two] game[s], but he was a dominant player," he said. "Then, obviously Vince -- I think Vince should probably move to safety, that might be the next move for Vince. They're doing a great job. They do what they do: They force takeaways, they're playing better in red zone. ... Now, I expect them to come after us more because we didn't do a great job protecting our quarterback [last week and] I would expect more pressure from New England this week."
Ryan is familiar with one Patriots pass rusher. Shaun Ellis spent the first 11 years of his career with the Jets.
"I think Shaun is an excellent player, no question about it," Ryan said. "They brought in [Andre] Carter, they brought in Shaun, they brought in Haynesworth, all to add to what they already have. Obviously, it's an upgrade from what New England had. Shaun's an excellent player. He can play a 3-4 defensive end, play in a 4-3 defense. ... I think it was a good move by [coach Bill] Belichick to bring him in. He is a guy that can play any defense you've got."
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics and Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.