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Sports

September 21, 2009

Bravado backed up

Jets talk the talk, walk the walk vs. Pats

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Larry Izzo admits it was a not a typical week in his football career.

The undrafted NFL overachiever, now in his 13th season, was not only going to be smacking heads with several of his old chums from New England, but several of his New York Jets teammates talked "smack."

One teammate, safety Kerry Rhodes, even called out the greatest player Izzo ever played with, Tom Brady, and informed him about the unofficial bounty out to knock him on his rear end.

In Foxboro, as Izzo was spoon-fed for eight seasons, silence isn't only golden, it is mandated. And when other teams say the seemingly most insignificant things, even questioning Patriots security, as Colts president Bill Polian did once, the Patriots take that personally.

There was a season's worth of bulletin board material heading into this game including Jets coach Rex Ryan saying he wouldn't "kiss Bill Belichick's rings" and Rhodes saying the Jets wanted to "embarrass" the Patriots on every play.

"It's definitely different around here," said Izzo, about 30 minutes after the Jets beat the Patriots, 16-9. "Personally, I don't talk. I like to let my play on the field do my talking. But if you do talk, you better back it up. We backed it up."

The Jets are having a ball.

In a short time, Ryan has instilled a personality and swagger into the team, that hasn't been seen since "Broadway" Joe Namath was calling signals at Shea Stadium.

It's a far cry from what it was like the previous three years under Belichick protege Eric Mangini.

"We are going to go after you, on both sides of the ball," Ryan said soon after being hired.

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