Bill Belichick discusses how different this Jaguars team is than the one the Patriots played in the playoffs in '07.
They're a lot different than they were last year. They have 16 or 18 rookies, however many it is. There're a lot of them. They have a lot of new faces. Defensively, they've done a little bit with their front with Tucker being down there, adding in a little bit of a 3-4 element to their team, as well as what they usually do. Offensively, I think a lot of those younger players we've played against have improved. I mean Jones-Drew, not that he wasn't good then, but he's really good now. Marcedes Lewis, one of the best tight ends in the league, [he is a] very good receiver, real athletic guy, much improved as a blocker, So with [Ernest] Wilford in there at tight end, too, it's like they have four receivers on the field, which is real unusual. Of course the other receiver is [Mike] Sims-Walker. They've got a lot of good young players that developed and either we haven't seen or they've gotten a lot better in the last few years.
The quarterback is experienced. He doesn't make many mistakes throwing the ball. He's got a good arm. [He's] accurate and takes care of the ball. He's got a couple more years under his belt, too. He's probably the best runner that we've seen. I'd say he's probably the best runner that we've seen this year because he can run, but he can also break tackles, cut back, avoid people and he can run over them, too. He's a tough guy to get down in the pocket and a lot of people bounce off them, or they get him and he just shrugs them off and steps up and throws. He's like a sixth receiver for them. On third down, you really have to account for him. In a lot of critical situations they've run quarterback draws for big plays, too. So they have a lot of confidence in him running the ball when they call design plays for him.
Tom Brady responds to whether Rashean Mathis is still a weapon for Jacksonville.
Yeah, he sure does. He's a great playmaker. He made a play against the Jets this year that was incredible. A guy ran a flag route on him and [Mark] Sanchez rolled to the left. He was open by about five yards and Sanchez laid it up and he caught up and looked over his shoulder. I said, 'Damn, a lot of receivers don't make that play.' He's a good player, catches the ball really well, and has good ball skills. He's very rangy, has long arms, pretty good quickness for a guy that's taller, which you don't find very often. Real good speed and explosiveness once he gets going. He's a weapon for them. He makes a lot of plays for them. He's been out this year for a little bit - I think with a groin injury - but he still has three interceptions, so you've always got to know where he's at. He'll jump some routes and take his chances, but he's a damn good player.
- Erik Scalavino reports the Pats just want a win over Jacksonville for Christmas. Plus, news and notes from Gillette.
- Patriots-Jaguars Wednesday Injury report.
- Patriots Today: Title on the line: Opponent breakdown. (9:18 min. video)
- Wednesday Pressers: Bill Belichick (17:20), Tom Brady (12:50). Plus Transcripts.
- Belichick Breakdown: Patriots at Bills. Coach Belichick breaks down the new "5 and Dime" defense in this week's Plays of the Week. (5:15 min. video)
- Karen Guregian notes this year's Patriots' team is still searching for an identity and some consistency on offense.
- Christopher Price says the Patriots' fluid identity on offense makes it a bit more difficult for opposing teams to game plan against them.
- Adam Kilgore focuses on Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jaguars’ cannonball-shaped running back, one of the league’s elite.
- Boston.com offers five things to know about the Jaguars.
- Shalise Manza Young recalls Christmas eve 2006 - Maurice Jones-Drew was knocked down by his own teammate in the backfield and got up, untouched, and took off on a 74-yard TD run.
- Karen Guregian reports Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren went back to work yesterday after missing all of last week with foot and ankle injuries.
- Ron Borges writes about Matthew Slater, Bruce Davis and Shawn Springs following in the NFL footsteps of their fathers. Terrific piece.
- Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots penalty leaderboard, noting Logan Mankins has a team high 8.
- Jeff Howe notes Maurice Jones-Drew is eagerly awaiting Sunday's reunion with mentor Fred Taylor.
- Ian Rapoport notes Fred Taylor still holds onto the letter he received from the Jaguars informing him that he was cut. "It went something like I wasn’t able to perform up to the level of the players around me," Taylor said yesterday. "That was the only thing that kind of made me hold onto getting cut a little longer. It made it a little harder to swallow and it definitely motivated me."
- Matt Pepin offers some highlights from Fred Taylor's entertaining interview.
- Mike Reiss wants to know, where's the outrage over Mike Tomlin's off-the-wall onside kick? Where are the critics screaming arrogance on the part of the head coach, or that he'd lost his football mind?
- Boston Herald Patriots Notebook: Adalius Thomas silent on future; OL Dan Connolly received a contract extension through 2011; Patriots will practice on Christmas, with a shorter workout; Colts DE Dwight Freeney told ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike Show that the Patriots were the toughest matchup for him. "They'd probably be one of the best as far as scheming and protecting their guy."
- Tony Massarotti has five burning questions for Bill Belichick.
- Tedy Bruschi (ESPNBostoon) presents his transcript of Wednesday's online chat. Lots of good insight here from Bruschi.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) AFC East draft rewind.
- Alex Marvez (Fox Sports) Sorry, NFC: You're still 2nd-best to AFC.
- Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) Who's the team to beat in the AFC? Chargers finally turn the corner.
- Matt Bowen (Nat'l Football Post) Do NFL teams pack it in? At this time of year, some teams lose their will.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Was starting Sanchez the right move?
- Tim Graham (ESPN) New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan wishes the Colts season's beatings.
VIEW FROM JACKSONVILLE
- Vic Ketchman (Jaguars.com) Jags-Pats has plenty of flavor.
- Vito Stellino (Florida Times-Union) History isn't kind to Jaguars vs. Tom Brady, New England.
- Ryan Robinson (Jaguars.com) Jaguars gear up for road trip.
- Vito Stellino (Florida Times-Union) Fred Taylor defends comments about leadership, team move.