January 18, 2022

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Jets bracing for tough Tom Brady test: ‘All-day…

3 min read
Jets bracing for tough Tom Brady test: 'All-day...

The Jets surely could think of better ways to start 2022 off than by facing Tom Brady, but the NFL schedule-makers sent their nemesis their way to start off another year. Brady has only been torturing the Jets for most of the last 20 years. What’s another year?

Brady and the 11-4 Buccaneers invade MetLife Stadium on Sunday to face the 4-11 Jets. The Buccaneers have already won the NFC South but are still playing for playoff seeding. The Jets? Their season has been over for weeks, but a respectable showing against one of the best teams in the NFL would give the team something to feel good about as they prepare to enter the offseason.

Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson is exactly 22 years younger than the 44-year-old Brady. They were both born on Aug. 3. Brady in 1977. Wilson in 1999. This could be Wilson’s only meeting with Brady. The Jets are not scheduled to face the Buccaneers again until 2025 when Brady will be 48 and should (?) be retired.

Tom Brady
Tom Brady

“He has an amazing work ethic, and I think it’s just probably the way he approaches the game,” Wilson said this past week of what he takes away from watching Brady. “He does it the right way, he makes sure that he’s studying the way he should, and I think he just has a relentless mindset to just, to be the best. I think that’s what he’s competing for right now is just how long can he keep going and doing it at the highest level, it’s really cool to see.”

Jets coach Robert Saleh is two years younger than Brady. He’ll turn 43 next month. This will be his first time facing Brady since 2015 when he was the linebackers coach for the Jaguars. Brady went 33 of 42 that day for 358 yards and two touchdowns in a 51-17 Patriots win.

“I try to black out some of the times that we’ve played him,” Saleh said jokingly this past week.

Jets fans would like to black out some of their team’s meetings with Brady. He is 30-8 against the Jets. The last Jets win over Brady came in 2015. His Patriots owned the AFC East for the two decades Brady was there.

Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich was drafted in the third round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the 49ers, three rounds before New England took Brady. Now, he has to figure out a way to slow him down.

“He can definitely affect your sleep patterns when we prepare for this guy,” Ulbrich said. “It’s a game that you play, because you’d like to try to deceive, you’d like to do some different things, the problem is once the ball is snapped and you start going where you’re going, there’s nothing he hasn’t seen.

“People for the past 20 years have tried to manipulate him and tried to get him off his mark and confuse him and it happens very, very rarely. So ultimately, we’re going to have to challenge and we’re going to have to win our one-on-one battles and that’s what it comes down to. And it’s going to be an all-day event.”