Q)How have you been able to stay injury free for such a long time?
Martin: I think that's the misconception. I've been injured a lot. I've had to play with injuries almost every year, and this year has been a big struggle.
Q)What's been the problem this year?
CM: I don't talk about my injuries.
Q)But you play. A lot of guys have injuries and they don't play.
CM: I thought you were saying that I've been injury free . . .
Jets quarterback Brooks Bollinger knows to expect a lot of things in the game Sunday he didn't see on film from the New England defense.
"You're never guaranteed what they're going to do on Sunday," said Bollinger . . .
The Jets 30th ranked run defense should be able to improve their ranking this week against a Patriots team that is 29th in the league rushing the ball.
There are a couple of reasons the Patriots are struggling on the ground. First off, the team's first, second and third string tailbacks are injured. Starter Corey Dillon has missed all or part of six games with a calf injury. And his backup Kevin Faulk is also out with a foot ailment. The third back, Patrick Pass, is playing with a painful hamstring injury. So the last few games the team has been forced to start Heath Evans at tailback. He is a player they picked up in the middle of the season off waivers from Miami. And to make matters worse, he's a fullback by trade. The 6-0, 245 pound Evans is powerful, but isn't particularly elusive.
On top of the injuries at running back, the Patriots are ravaged on the offensive line. The only starter remaining from the beginning of the season is guard Steve Neal.
They lost Pro Bowl center Dan Koppen for the season to a shoulder injury. Left tackle Matt Light is out still with a broken leg. The Patriots are starting two rookies on the left side in guard Logan Mankins and tackle Nick Kaczur. Also sidelined on the offensive line is starting right tackle Tom Ashworth (knee).
If the Jets front seven doesn't dominate this game, they should be embarrassed for themselves.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has historically received good protection in New England, has taken quite a beating this year.
Neal is the only player active from the popular Visa commercial featuring the quarterback and his line.
"That's the Visa jinx we're calling it," joked Brady. "Who ever is in that has been going down." . . .
All this talk about quarterback Jay Fielder coming back late in the season, from his shoulder injury, is a little overblown. He's likely out for the year. He is still just doing some light tossing. And plus, what would be the point of bringing back a quarterback with a bad shoulder to play some garbage time games behind a shaky line? . . .
It looks like cornerback David Barrett is going to return this week from an eye injury that has kept him out for three games. This is great news for the Jets against a Patriots team that can't run the ball, but still has an excellent passing game. They are ranked fourth in the league throwing the football. Last week against New Orleans, the Jets two young cornerbacks Justin Miller and Derrick Strait struggled, so the return of Barrett should be a boon to the Jets secondary . . .
Speaking of secondaries, the Patriots unit is an absolute mess due to a myriad of injuries, and they are currently ranked 31st in the NFL. They are starting their sixth different strong safety. They have had a revolving door at the position since Rodney Harrison blew out his knee early in the season. They have put six defensive backs on injured reserve this season, including starting cornerbacks Randall Gay and Tyrone Poole. Two other veteran cornerbacks they signed this off-season, former Cardinal Dwayne Starks and ex-Steeler Chad Scott, also are on IR.
The Patriots are now forced to start rookie Cedric Hobbs at one cornerback, and are starting Antrel Hawkins at strong safety. Hawkins is a cornerback by trade, who was signed just two weeks ago.
The Jets passing offense, which got their act together against the Saints, should be able to get a lot done against the Patriots . . .
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is very impressed with Bollinger.
"Brooks is a very mobile guy," said Belichick. "He runs well. He's controlled on the move. He gets out of trouble with his feet. I thought he played really well against New Orleans last week. He's shown up in other games, even going back to preseason where we watched him in some preseason games against Detroit and Minnesota. He's had some opportunities through the year. He's an athletic guy. He can put the ball on the money. He reads coverages pretty well. People try to give him some different looks, but it's clear he's pretty well schooled." . . .
For the last two years, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been listed every week as probable with a right shoulder. It's become a joke around the league because it's had no bearing on his play over that time period. Brady even thinks it's funny. He was asked about it on a conference call with Jets writers.
"(It's not career threatening) at this point, but I will keep you guys updated if there is anything knew," said Brady laughing . . .
Backup safety Rashad Washington, who had a sack last week against New Orleans, missed practice on Wednesday with a hip injury . . .
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