Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Updated: September 17, 11:30 AM ET
Brady preparing; Ryan wants fans' help
ESPN.com news services
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady had a succinct response to all the talking New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has done about the New England Patriots and their coach.
"Talk is cheap," the quarterback said Wednesday with a smile.
A few hours later, Ryan also spoke calmly. The rookie head coach said he stood by his remarks that he wasn't intimidated by Patriots coach Bill Belichick and that he didn't come to New York to kiss Belichick's Super Bowl rings.
"It's how I felt and it's how I feel. I have a lot of respect for Bill Belichick," Ryan said in a conference call. "Hey, I'm not his friend on Sunday."
New England and New York meet at Giants Stadium on Sunday after each won its opening game. On Monday, the day after a 24-7 win over the Houston Texans, Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins was already looking ahead to facing the longtime power of the AFC East.
"We're going to be playing this game like it's the Super Bowl," he said of the Week 2 matchup.
The Patriots have won three of those this decade.
"They can treat it however they want to treat it. We're going to treat it like we treat every game and we're going to put everything we have into it," Brady said. "It's not the Super Bowl. It's not. That doesn't get played until February.
"But it's as important as they come, in terms of our division and what that means in our place in our division," he said.
The Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills 25-24 on Brady's two touchdown passes to Benjamin Watson in the final 2:06 Monday night. Brady started slowly but ended up with 39 completions in 53 attempts for 378 yards and an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
He knows he and his teammates must improve. And they have to do it against a confusing, attacking scheme that Ryan brought from the Baltimore Ravens, where he was defensive coordinator.
"They present challenges and they make you earn everything. So we're going to need to match that level of intensity," Brady said. "I wouldn't expect them to roll over for us or expect that we can roll our helmets out there and win the game."
He took Ryan's outspokenness as a sign of confidence.
Patriots players almost never make provocative remarks that an opponent can use for motivation.
"I think we follow the lead of our head coach," Brady said. "I think because we feel a certain way, we don't necessarily need to tell everybody about it. I mean, we're confident. We have as much confidence as most teams in the league.
"No matter what you say on a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday, it doesn't matter much. I think our execution is what's most important and that's what we choose to focus on," he said.
Brady was happy to get through his first meaningful game since last year's opener, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
"It feels like the regular season now," he said. "There was some soreness and some tired faces" at Wednesday's meetings.
Now he must get ready for the Jets' blitzing defense. He knows he'll have to get rid of the ball faster than he did against the Bills.
"Defensively, they mix things up quite a bit and that's a challenge because you don't know what they're going to do," he said.
The Jets could get some insight into the Patriots' offense from Kevin O'Connell, New England's No. 2 quarterback last year behind Matt Cassel after Brady was hurt. O'Connell was released and signed by the Detroit Lions, who traded him to New York.
"You have to change some things because I'm sure Kevin has told them some things that could help them," Brady said. "Having some inside information, you still have to throw the ball, complete it and block them."
But with three other quarterbacks on his roster, including 2009 first-round draft pick Mark Sanchez, does Ryan have plans for O'Connell beyond just picking his brain?
"Well, we're going to release him after this game," Ryan said as reporters laughed. "No, I'm just kidding."
Humor and bluntness are part of Ryan's persona. He doesn't think that will change as his head-coaching career goes on.
"I think I have to be myself to be successful," Ryan said, "just like Belichick's himself."
On Wednesday, Ryan recorded a 70-second voice mail message that was sent to every season-ticket holder, urging Jets fans to make it "miserable for Brady & Co. and seem like there's 13 or 14 guys out there on defense" during Sunday's game at the Meadowlands.
"Hey, this is Rex Ryan, the head coach of the New York Jets," Ryan began the message. "I just wanted to let you know how much we need you this week. You know, I've already admitted that, hey, the Patriots have a better head coach and they've got a better quarterback than us. But we're going to see who's got a better team."
The Patriots have beaten the Jets eight straight times at the Meadowlands.
"Again, I admit that I'm not as good as Belichick, but at the end of the game, I want to be 1-0 against him," Ryan ended the message. "So, help me out if you don't mind. That's my challenge, OK? Thank you. Bye."
Ryan is hoping to turn the Jets' home field into a clear advantage.
"I've seen that happen where sometimes it gets so loud and it just takes one guy to miss a check," Ryan said after practice. "So, I'm challenging our fans to maybe be the difference in this game this week."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.