FOXBORO, Mass. — The Jets offense may be coming off a horrific showing against Baltimore, but the Patriots aren't taking Mark Sanchez's unit lightly. That's in part because they've been burned before by the size and athleticism of New York's receiving corps.
"Big, talented receivers," safety Josh Barrett said of Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress. "[They] really know how to stretch the field pretty well, especially Santonio. He can pretty much do it all. And Plaxico, he's a big, athletic guy. They can throw it up to him and he'll probably come down with it."
While the guys on the outside provide their own set of challenges, the man on the inside — tight end Dustin Keller — might be the most dangerous asset for the Jets.
"He's tough for everybody to cover," Bill Belichick said, when asked why his team has had trouble covering Keller in the past. "He's got good size, and he's a really good instinctive receiver. He's got really good hands, catches the ball pretty much anywhere — high, low, he's got a real good reach. He's got good quickness, good speed. He's a smart player."
Though Keller had just two catches for 12 yards last week, he averaged five receptions for 83 yards in the Jets' first three games of the season. Last year, in the first Jets-Patriots matchup of the year, Keller went off for seven catches, 115 yards and a touchdown. In six career games against New England, he's averaged four catches for 51 yards, while finding the end zone twice.
"Obviously the quarterback's got a lot of confidence in him," Belichick said. "He goes to him in some crucial situations, which I can see why he would."