BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots head into Thursday night’s match up with the New York Jets severely short-handed on offense, with the status of receiver Danny Amendola in doubt.
Amendola isn’t likely to play Thursday night with a groin injury, joining running back Shane Vereen (broken bone in his wrist) and the recuperating Rob Gronkowski on the sidelines.
But quarterback Tom Brady isn’t worried about the depth on offense. The team has always gone by a “next man up” mantra, and Thursday night is just their latest challenge.
“We’ve got a lot of good players in the locker room. When people are injured that’s why you have a deep roster; guys you have confidence in and you’ve gained trust in,” Brady said Wednesday morning. “We have a lot of good running backs, a lot of good receivers. We’re trying to do the best we can this week to go out and win a very challenging game against a very good team.”
To make matters worse, the undermanned Patriots have just a few days to prepare for the 1-0 Jets. They’ve crammed three days’ worth of practice into Tuesday’s walk-through, and Brady is hoping they’ve done enough to prepare for a Jets defense that always seems to play their best against #12.
“They present a lot of challenges, especially defensively with a lot of alignments, looks, coverages. They’re a very smart and disciplined team. They don’t make a lot of mental mistakes, so were going to need to be on our game – better than we were (on Sunday),” said Brady. “There is a lot to prepare for in a very short amount of time, so we’re trying to get everyone to understand that. It’ part of the veteran responsibility we have to convey that message to everybody. We’re cramming a lot in, but that’s what we have to and that’s what they are too.”
“It’s been such a great rivalry since I got here and I’m sure it’ll be another great game,” he said of Thursday night. “When you see them on the schedule you think of all the great games we’ve had against them and how challenging the game will be. We know a lot of the faces and the schemes. It’s going to be an exciting game. It’s our home opener, which is always fun for us players, so hopefully we can go out and play really well.”
Brady said he doesn’t mind playing on a Thursday night, and the real reward will come after the game if they walk away with a win. After their three-day cram session for this contest, the Patriots will get an extended break to prep for their Week 3 match up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Not to mention, Thursday night’s game puts the Pats in the national spotlight, and a chance to prove their new doubters wrong.
“The great part is we have a chance to do something about it. No matter what everyone says to us or thinks, we have a chance to prove them wrong or right. That’s the great part about playing professional football; you have a chance every week to back up what you think,” he said. “Anything happens on any week. Hopefully our preparation is good and strong this week and hopefully we’re prepared to play a very good team on a short week.”
“Coach talks about ignoring the noise and I’m not really sure what’s out there. There are 16 teams that are 0-1, so we’re in as good a position as any team,” said Brady. “There is a lot of football before the end of the year.”