Several Ex-Jets Find Home in New England.(SPORTS)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 15, 2002 | Go to article overview

Several Ex-Jets Find Home in New England.(SPORTS)


Byline: David Elfin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

For the New England Patriots, the New York Jets are the gift that keeps on giving.

Defensive linemen Bobby Hamilton, Rick Lyle, Steve Martin and Anthony Pleasant, linebacker Roman Phifer, cornerback Otis Smith and safety Victor Green are all ex-Jets. So are coach Bill Belichick and assistants Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Pepper Johnson and Eric Mangini.

Green signed with the Super Bowl champion Patriots after he was released by the Jets when he refused the club's request for a huge pay cut in the offseason.

"That was a slap in the face," said Green, who forced and recovered a fumble to help New England rout Pittsburgh 30-14 in last Monday's AFC Championship game rematch.

The Jets also have been pivotal for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. He became the starter last Sept.23 when Jets linebacker Mo Lewis' hit Drew Bledsoe and sent him to the hospital. Ten weeks later, the visiting Patriots trailed the Jets 13-0 at halftime and Brady had passed for just 53 yards. But with his team on the verge of dropping to .500, offensive coordinator Weis went to the no-huddle in the second half and Brady responded by hitting 15 of 17 passes for 160 yards. New England won 17-16 and hasn't lost since.

"We realized then that we had something special," Belichick said.

The Jets - whose focal point is former Patriots halfback Curtis Martin - won last Sunday at Buffalo 37-31 in overtime, but are an NFL-worst 44-60 at home since 1988.

Raiders-Steelers - Pittsburgh, the NFL's top defense last season, is reeling from last Monday's shellacking in which Brady threw 25 straight passes. The Steelers expect a similar gameplan from the visiting Raiders, who surprised Seattle with the no-huddle on the opening drive of last Sunday's 31-17 victory.

"We opened up a whole can of worms with our performance," Steelers safety Lee Flowers said after Brady shredded the Pittsburgh defense.

Defensive coordinator Tim Lewis believes that New England copied the no-huddle, pass-heavy approach from Cincinnati, which used the spread offense to stun the Steelers 26-23 last Dec. 30 as Jon Kitna threw 68 passes for 411 yards.

"I told our guys to expect the spread," Lewis said. "I don't think people are going to try to pound the ball down the field on our defense."

Seattle halfback Shaun Alexander ran wild through Oakland's defense for 266 yards and three touchdowns last Nov. …

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