The New England Patriots and the New York Jets are no strangers to each other. Throughout the years, the two organizations have played each other a combined 122 times, including three playoff meetings. Despite the familiarity, however, the two teams have changed quite a bit since their last game: only half of the 106 combined players on their rosters back in last October — a game New England won 33-0 — are still with the two clubs 13 months later.
With that said let’s take a look back at that game to find out how the two clubs have changed.
The following 29 players from the teams’ last meeting on October 21, 2019 are still with the team:
P Jake Bailey, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, S Terrence Brooks, DT Adam Butler, RB Rex Burkhead, LB Shilique Calhoun, LS Joe Cardona, DT Byron Cowart, OT Korey Cunningham, C James Ferentz, CB Stephon Gilmore, DT Lawrence Guy, RB Damien Harris, TE Ryan Izzo, CB J.C. Jackson, CB Jonathan Jones, G Shaq Mason, S Devin McCourty, CB Jason McCourty, WR Jakobi Meyers, WR Gunner Olszewski, LB John Simon, WR Matthew Slater, QB Jarrett Stidham, G Joe Thuney, RB James White, CB Joejuan Williams, LB Chase Winovich, DE Deatrich Wise Jr.
Offense: The biggest change for the Patriots offense is obviously the departure of quarterback Tom Brady, but is not the only one worth mentioning. The offensive line will have David Andrews and Michael Onwenu fill the starting spots at center and right tackle, while the wide receiver room will be without Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett, who caught New England’s lone receiving touchdown last October. The tight ends will look completely different as well: gone are Benjamin Watson and Matt LaCosse, with Ryan Izzo and Dalton Keene filling their roles. The backfield, meanwhile, will likely be without Sony Michel, who found the end zone thrice during the last game in New York, and see Damien Harris take over as the lead back. Rex Burkhead will also be back.
Defense: This year’s offseason has impacted the Patriots defense quite a bit, with some of 2019’s cornerstone players leaving the club: Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung opted out, while Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Elandon Roberts and Danny Shelton left in free agency. On top of it all, Duron Harmon, who had interception against the Jets last October, was traded to Detroit. Chung was out during the last game against the Jets, but the turnover is still significant when looking back — something that could become even more drastic in case their respective injuries keep Lawrence Guy and Stephon Gilmore out of this week’s matchup.
Special teams: Long-time Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski was released this offseason, but he was on injured reserve the last time the team met the Jets anyway. Instead the team relied on Mike Nugent, who has since been replaced by Nick Folk. Two notable changes on special teams over the last 13 months were the departures of core coverage players Brandon Bolden (opt-out) and Nate Ebner (free agency).
Coaching staff: The Patriots no longer have the services of long-time offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, wide receivers/special teams coach Joe Judge and defensive line coach Bret Bielema available. The three men have been replaced, in that order, by O-line coaching duo Carmen Bricillo and Cole Popovich, Mick Lombardi (wide receivers) and Cam Achord (special teams), as well as DeMarcus Covington. New quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch was also added, as was safeties coach and former coaching assistant Brian Belichick.
The following 24 players from the teams’ last meeting on October 21, 2019 are still with the team:
DE Henry Anderson, LB Tarell Basham, WR Braxton Berrios, TE Daniel Brown, LB Blake Cashman, WR Jamison Crowder, QB Sam Darnold, OT Chuma Edoga, S Matthias Farley, DT Folorunso Fatukasi, K Sam Ficken, TE Ryan Griffin, LS Thomas Hennessy, TE Chris Herndon, LB Neville Hewitt, LB Jordan Jenkins, LB Harvey Langi, G Alex Lewis, S Marcus Maye, OT Conor McDermott, CB Brian Poole, WR Vyncint Smith, TE Trevon Wesco, DT Quinnen Williams
Offense: While the most important name on offense is still around — quarterback Sam Darnold — his supporting cast has seen some major turnover. Gone are players such as Robby Anderson and Le’Veon Bell, with offseason acquisitions Denzel Mims and Frank Gore helping take their place. New York also added left offensive tackle Mekhi Becton in the first round of this year’s draft to anchor a line that has also seen quite a few changes since last October: only left guard Alex Lewis has remained in his starting spot since then.
Defense: New York’s defense also has seen some personnel movements over the last 13 months with starters departing on all three levels: former top-six draft picks Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams were traded to the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, while C.J. Mosley decided to opt out of the 2020 season. The Jets have struggled to replace all three of them, with Adams’ absence in particular a blow after he was the team’s best defender ever since getting drafted in 2017. With him out, the Jets turned to veteran Marcus Maye and rookie Ashtyn Davis to fill in at safety.
Special teams: While most of the Jets’ kicking game operation is still intact, there has been one notable change: punter Lac Edwards has been replaced by rookie Braden Mann since then. Mann has been one of New York’s better players so far this season, which is obviously not saying a lot, though.
Coaching staff: Head coach Adam Gase has kept his staff relatively intact since last season. The only notable changes are coming at the assistant defensive backs position, where Steve Jackson was replaced by Leigh Torrence, and at lower-level offensive and defensive assistant spots.