Earlier this week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick made Josh McCown seem like Joe Namath. Belichick now has made McCown and his teammates seem like the rest of the ’68 Jets.
Asked Friday by reporters about the degree of competitiveness the Jets have shown, Belichick said this: “High. Very high. I mean, you look at the play in the Miami game. That’s a great example right there where McCown goes back to pass, [Cameron] Wake kind of flushes him up in the pocket. [Ndamukong] Suh hits him as he’s throwing the ball. The ball goes sideways off to the right. Is it a fumble? Is it an incomplete pass? Miami’s got one guy running to the ball. The Jets have four guys running to the ball and, ultimately, McCown ends up recovering a fumble 25 yards off to the side of the play and they got four guys right there.
“He came up with it but it could have been one of the other three guys, too. Miami’s got one guy there. I think that’s a good example of their competitiveness as a team. They hustle, they tackle. They’re alert.”
Belichick pointed to other examples that prove his point.
“They’ve taken advantage of the fourth-and-21 play against Jacksonville on a fake punt or [Marcus] Williams catches a ball and breaks a couple of tackles, gets a first down,” Belichick said. “Last week against Cleveland, they’re out of field goal range with six seconds [left]. They run an out-of-bounds play, kick a 57-yard field goal, win by three. Exchange punts against Jacksonville in overtime with two minutes to go, get a punt return, kick a field goal, and win in overtime.
“I mean, the other team has as good a chance at winning as they did. I’d say they outcompeted them, out-executed them, outperformed them in critical situations. I mean, look, it’s a two-point play against Buffalo to tie the game at the end of the third quarter. That was a very competitive game, too. Even I would say in the Oakland game even though they didn’t win that game, they fell behind at halftime, but I thought they competed very hard through the end of the game.”
So, basically, Belichick is sold on where the Jets currently are.
“They’ve played good at the end of games,” he said. “They’ve played good for 60 minutes. They play hard. I mean, whoever is saying that I don’t know what games they are watching. Maybe it’s fantasy football or some garbage. I don’t know. I don’t know how you can watch that team play and not think they’re one of the most competitive teams we’ve played.”
We’ll see how competitive the Jets are come Sunday, when the Patriots come to town for what will be an unlikely battle for first place in the AFC East. You can either choose to watch the game, or you can watch something else. Maybe fantasy football or some garbage.