FOXBORO, Mass. — A post-Thanksgiving cornucopia of notes to peruse as the New England Patriots prepare to visit the New York Jets this Sunday:
— The Jets’ defense features three former Patriots: cornerback Darrelle Revis, most notably, but also defensive lineman Anthony Johnson and cornerback Darryl Roberts.
Johnson and Roberts both spent training camp with New England this past summer. The former went on to appear in four games for the Patriots before the Jets claimed him off New England’s practice squad earlier this month.
“(Johnson) has been in for some goal-line situations,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Friday. “They put the big guys inside. Darryl, they’ve matched up some. He’s played some inside, but I’d say primarily on the perimeter in the last couple of weeks when Marcus Williams got hurt in the Miami game. He’s pretty much really been the third corner (behind Revis and Buster Skrine).”
Roberts, whom the Patriots released in their final round of preseason roster cuts, has played in six games for the Jets, registering four pass breakups.
— Belichick confirmed offensive linemen Tre’ Jackson and Sebastian Vollmer both will not play this season.
Jackson and Vollmer, who have spent the entire season on the physically unable to perform list, needed to begin practicing by Tuesday in order to be eligible to return to the 53-man roster. Neither did, rendering both ineligible to play until the 2017 preseason.
“They won’t this year,” Belichick said.
Vollmer is set to hit free agency this offseason, and Jackson has two more years remaining on his rookie contract.
— Belichick raved about Jets defensive end Leonard Williams, who continues to impress in his second NFL season.
“(He’s) really good,” Belichick said. “Tough to block, disruptive player, impact player; running game, passing game. They put him on the nose a decent amount when they play their five-down look and get him isolated on the centers. He’s been very disruptive there, been hard to block. … He’s a problem.”
Belichick compared Williams’ size (6-foot-5, 291 pounds) to that of former Patriots defensive linemen Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly.
“He looks big,” the coach said. “I mean, he’s got long arms. He plays long. Those guys are tough matchups inside when they can do all those things, when you’re not just moving a big guy in there to take up space, but when they can actually play like a tackle and play like an end at either spot. Just like when you move him out to end, they kind of power out there.
“For some of the taller tackles that have trouble getting down low, he just kind of powers through them, and they can’t handle his quickness. He reaches blocks and he undercuts them, things like that. He’s a tough guy to block everywhere. Really good player.”
Williams, the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, leads the Jets with six sacks this season.
— Belichick commended the durability and toughness Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett has displayed this season. Bennett, who has yet to miss a game this season, said he learned from the best during his time with the Dallas Cowboys early in his career.
“I’ve tried to be dependable and durable most of my career,” Bennett said, “and I came from behind a guy who’s never missed a practice and never missed a game in (Cowboys tight end) Jason Witten. There were a lot of things I learned from him when I was down there — just taking care of yourself and always trying to play through different injuries and different things here and there. Dependability is a big part of it.”
Bennett missed Thursday’s practice with a nagging ankle injury, but he was back on the practice field Friday.
“I’m here,” he said. “I’m alive. I’m happy.”
Asked how his ankle was feeling, Bennett responded: “Good. I’ve got both of them.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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