Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pats prepping for Jets' expansive ground game


The New York Jets have had some legitimate setbacks to their running back corps this season, but it hasn't seem to throw off the game plan much, if at all.

Gang Green has averaged 115 yards per game thus far, and they're doing it with a multitude of looks from the backfield. Whether it's in the Wildcat, split-back, shotgun triple, read-option or traditional single back, the ground game has gained 4.2 yards per carry.

And with an average of 44 percent of their offensive plays coming on the ground, teams can continue to expect it in large doses.

The trend hasn't been lost on New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, particularly since he and his squad have seen it once already this season. 

"I definitely think that's the heart and soul of what they do,"Patricia said, via "Certainly what they've done is expand their attack points and how they can get to their run game from multiple different formations and looks and personnel groups.

"I think they've done a phenomenal job with that in really trying to expand the amount of area that you have to defend in the run game. That's definitely a strength for them right now."

That strength took a bit of a hit Monday following the news that Mike Goodson, who had recently returned from his suspension, tore two ligaments in his knee and was designated to Injured Reserve. The Jets supplemented the loss with the signing of Miguel Maysonet Tuesday, which brings the number of Jets backs on the roster this season to six.

Chris Ivory seems to have recouped well from his hamstring injury, while Bilal Powell has continued to perform despite a banged up shoulder.

New England's defense allowed 129 yards and a touchdown on the ground in the teams' first meeting, which included 100 combined yards from Ivory and Powell. Patricia isn't about to rule out New York's utilization of the Wildcat either this coming weekend, saying it's something they'll certainly be preparing for throughout the week.

"I think it's a situation obviously where, if it's something that's working for them, you can expect to see it more," Patricia said, "and if it's something that is not, then possibly they may go in another direction with a couple of the other different run packages that they do present you." 

The Patriots' defense has allowed nearly 120 rushing yards per game on average this season at a rate of 4.2 yards per attempt.

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