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“Some of it is just the fact they have so much go-get-‘em _ the mentality of going to the ball and getting there,” Nolan said. “It has them making more plays, as opposed to knowing why they went there. If you ask a veteran player what happened, he can tell you why and how he got there. Some young guys come off and go `I don’t know, coach. Is that what you want me do to?’

“Yes, it is.”

The Patriots have youngsters contributing, too, including rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Hernandez leads the team with 211 yards receiving on 13 catches, and Gronkowski has two touchdown receptions.

“For young players, it’s pretty neat to find them playing such a great role on our offense,” Brady said. “With each week, I think they are gaining a little more confidence in what they’re doing through the experience that they’re having, and we’re relying on them every week to be playmakers.”

Tight ends have given the Dolphins trouble this season. Minnesota’s Visanthe Shiancoe had six catches for 86 yards against them, and the Jets‘ Dustin Keller had six catches for 98 yards and two scores.

Another issue for the Dolphins will be Randy Moss, who had touchdown catches of 71 and 58 yards against them last year. Second-year pro Davis has won praise for his play lately _ the Jets paid a compliment by throwing his way only three times _ and he may be assigned to Moss most of the game.

Davis said his matchups against Moss last year were an education.

“Once you play him the first time, you get more comfortable in the league,” Davis said. “You were watching Tom Brady and Randy Moss when you were 8 years old, and now you’re lining up against them. It’s like, ‘Man, do I belong here?’ The more you play, the more you get comfortable.”

Comfortable? Brady sometimes looks as though he’s throwing from a rocking chair. The former sixth-round pick is 33 and has passed for 31,602 yards _ nearly 18 miles.

And he said he’s just getting warmed up.

“I want to play for a long time,” he said. “I’d like to think that I’m not at halftime yet.”

This matchup between Brady and the Dolphins‘ revamped defense may be only the first of many.