New York Jets defensive end Mo Wilkerson is just trying to fit in. The former first-round pick has been with the team since 2011, so he is more than familiar with New York’s philosophy — talk trash, radiate confidence, and pray you can back it up.
On Monday, Wilkerson told Newsday’s Bob Glauber that he sees no reason why the Jets will travel to Foxboro and lose to the New England Patriots on Thursday.
“If our game plan is as good as it was (against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), I don’t see why we won’t be 2-0,” he said. “I’m confident in our coaching staff to have a great game plan and us being 2-0.”
During an interview with WFAN earlier in the day, Wilkerson said, “We’re going up to Foxborough and get this win.” Naturally, he has already taken a ton of criticism from fans and analysts who say guaranteeing victory is never a good idea — especially against the Patriots. Wilkerson said it was not a guarantee.
“I’m not saying I’m guaranteeing it, but I’m saying if we do our jobs and follow our game plan, I don’t see why we wouldn’t be 2-0,” he explained. “We had a good game plan in the first game and we won, so why wouldn’t I feel that way for this game? I’m here with these guys every day and I see all the hard work that myself and everybody else on this team is putting in. We can be a dominant defense.”
The thing is, he could be right. Rex Ryan’s team talks too much, but they learned from the best. As far as Thursday is concerned, Rob Gronkowski will in all likelihood still be out. Shane Vereen broke a bone in his hand during New England’s win over the Buffalo Bills and is expected to miss at least a few weeks. To make matters worse, Danny Amendola is dealing with a hamstring injury and it appears he will be unable to go on short rest as well.
Gronkowski, Vereen and Amendola are expected to be arguably the three most important players in the Patriots’ offense this season outside of Tom Brady. Ridley fumbled twice in the opener and was benched, so who knows where his mindset will be. If both teams were healthy, I’d say Wilkerson is insane for running his mouth. Given the current circumstances and the way Buffalo’s pass rush terrorized Brady and company, no one should be even a little surprised if the Jets pull out a win.