The Jets failure to move the ball consistently Monday against the Giants, a crosstown rival that always owns a solid front four, have some concerned that the Jets will not become a unit poised to be more efficient and higher scoring in 2011. However in viewing the entire body of work so far, one can also make a case that the Jets are where most teams are at this point: still working out the kinks while showing brief flashes of production. A measure of concern that these Jets won’t be much different from the 2010 Jets on offense, a unit that had serious problems moving the ball at times, is understandable. It is too early however for widespread panic. There have been some bright spots.
Feature running back Shonn Greene’s two game rushing totals (he missed the Bengals game due to a skin infection) add up to 16 carries for 74 yards. A better than four yards per carry clip.
Newly acquired star, 6’4 WR Plaxico Burress, was silenced against his former team Monday, but gave Jets fans some hope that the club’s sagging red zone numbers will climb thanks to his performance against the Bengals, one that included a pretty diving touchdown catch in the rain.
Third year quarterback Mark Sanchez threw three TDs in three games, was 26-43 on pass attempts, with no interceptions and one fumble. Sanchez still needs to find a way to make Holmes and Burress serious threats. Sanchez must also make TE Dustin Keller a go to safety valve in the very least. Nonetheless, his prioritizing of ball security, a major key for a team that relies heavily on their top five defense, appear to be heading in the right direction.
As for the poor showing against Big Blue, Sanchez noted after the game Monday that it is always harder during the preseason when gameplans are not part of the equation. Add to that the myriad of changes made at wide receiver with limited offseason time together due to the NFL lockout and one could find it reasonable to cut the group some slack for now.
Let’s also remember that the biggest goal of any preseason, for any club, is to come out of it healthy. Aside from an ankle injury that may sideline FB John Connor in week one, the Jets offense is healthy and ready to go. It is true that the offense has to improve. Yet with practically all of the pieces healthy and in place however, the Jets thankfully have the opportunity to grow into a unit that can make life easier for the defense.
It hasn’t all been bad for the Jets offense over these three games. The Jets have had some pre-season moments that would make you believe that the potential is there for them to grow into a more functional offense than they were last season. For Sanchez and company in 2011, August simply has to one day be looked back upon as the starting point, not the template.