Detroit Lions – 26 New York Jets -17, Initial Reaction

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The New York Jets kicked off their pre-season tonight with a 26-17 loss to the Detroit Lions. Yes, unlike last season, the offense actually scored a couple of touchdowns. Like any pre-season game, there were positives and negatives, while a few harsh realities became more apparent.

The big story of the night is Geno Smith rolling his ankle. In a close quarterback battle, the rookie simply cannot afford to miss any time. He was slated to likely to start next week against Jacksonville but we now need to find out just how severely the ankle is banged up. Hopefully, he is ready to roll for practice on Sunday or Monday at the latest.

Smith didn’t get much of an opportunity to make an impression either way tonight. He was a nondescript 6/7 for 47 yards. The Jets gave him very basic reads and simplistic plays. His arm strength looked good but he really didn’t take any chances or have much success moving the ball, thanks in part to some conservative playcalling.

Mark Sanchez had the most Mark Sanchez night possible. He threw an utterly atrocious pick six to a defensive lineman on an attempted screen pass (of course). However, he then bounced back to lead a 80 yard touchdown drive, where he had three completions of over 20 yards including a pretty 26 yard touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland. No consistency and a killer turnover but at least he showed a short memory after making a bad play. Sanchez finished 10/13 for 125 yards.

The Jets wide receivers and tight ends were very impressive as a group. Clyde Gates carried over a strong camp with 3 receptions for 39 yards, Kellen Winslow Jr had a nice looking 24 yard catch and run, Stephen Hill had 2 grabs for 16 yards and Jeremy Kerley came up with a huge play on third down for 24 yards. Ben Obomanu led all receivers with 4 receptions for 59 yards. Ryan Spadola converted a third down. Zach Rogers had a short touchdown reception and a nice punt return but also dropped a wide open deep ball.

Running back and offensive line are major areas of concern. The backup offensive line was beat up, particularly Oday Aboushi and Vlad Ducasse who nearly got Greg McElroy killed. This team needs a backup tackle because there isn’t one on the roster now. As an offense, the Jets netted 37 yards on 16 carries and John Griffin suffered a season ending leg injury. Chris Ivory, Mike Goodson and Joe McKnight can’t get back soon enough.

Defensively, the first unit was solid. Quinton Coples was all over the field with 4 tackles and logging a sack, when Antwan Barnes flushed the quarterback into him. Muhammad Wilkerson had a sack as well. David Harris had a nice tackle for a loss and Dee Milliner had a pass breakup in the end-zone. Unfortunately, the second unit struggled. On a Lions touchdown drive, Milliner, Kyle Wilson and Darrin Walls were all beat for big plays while no pass rush was generated upfront. Demario Davis played with both the starters and second team, struggling in coverage throughout the night.

One player who stood out was safety Jaiquawn Jarrett who was all over the field. Rex Ryan said he will move into the starting defense next week over Antonio Allen who had a quiet night.

Don’t be surprised if the Jets add another veteran offensive lineman and running back in the coming days and stay tuned for updates on Geno Smith’s ankle. More info as we know it…

  • David

    Don’t know why this team keeps Ducasse? All he does is get the QB killed. The backups on the o-line are horrendous; very worried about that!

  • matr dontelli iii

    we keep him because harold says there’s nothing wrong with him. he knows all about football. he gives us lessons here.

  • KAsh

    I would say that it was an overall positive night.

    Unfortunate about Griffin, but Spann and Powell were decent. Powell had some good plays and some blown plays, but when he was on the field, you could see him being even a 1A or 1B option. He is becoming the man to beat at RB.

    We saw a lot more two TE sets than we could have imagined at the start of the offseason. If you told me two months ago that the receivers were going to be the highlight of the offense in the first preseason game, I would have tried to sell you a bridge. On the other hand, while the receivers did do well, Spadola and Rogers both had multiple drops late in the game.

    The first-string defense and o-line played well. Colon had a great night against Suh. I was surprised that Richardson did not play with the first string (at least I did not see him) and that he stayed in with both the second and third string. The backups, though, were atrocious. The backup front seven could not pressure the QB or stuff the run. The backup o-line was awful. Also, Ryan did not really do any fancy things with his defensive formations. They played a lot of 3-4 with the OLBs standing up (and sometimes having their hand on the ground) at the line of scrimmage.

    Sanchez had a head-scratching interception (though I am more than happy for Ansah, who I thought will be something special,) but then had a nice series that ended in a TD. Geno Smith had some good throws, some bad throws, and was a victim of penalties and having his runs stuffed, which prevented him from putting together a good series. McElroy displayed a good understanding of the offense. His TD to Rogers was my most exciting point of the game. If he continues performing like this, he should be in the discussion for at least the second string QB.

  • Rob

    Have been a McElroy fan for a couple of years now. I know he’s not particularly liked around these parts and while he may lack a rocket arm, he’s got a cool head and can make solid plays. With Smith in the team now he’s always going to be #3, but think he’s better than that if actually given a DECENT shot.

  • Jesse

    On the bright side it really looks like an experienced professional is calling the plays on offense.

  • Angel

    Yep. Classic Sanchez.

    I even saw him hang his head after that pick six, and he looked deflated in the first huddle back from the INT.
    BUT, then I saw him focus and settle into hitting the open man, whether it was down field or a short check down to dump it off. So, overall, he wasn’t mentally destroyed after the worst possible thing he could have done this preseason.

    Geno’s arm was impressive… and that’s about it. I don’t think the rest of the offense helped him out any. It’ll be interesting to see how Sanchez performs when he’s in the Geno position. Hopefully he’s ok, because that ankle injury just looked weird.

    The backup O-line is a joke and the starters weren’t all that great. Austin Howard got easily beat a few times [including on the pick 6 play] and they didn’t look all that coordinated. Oh, sorry to beat up on TOTJ Golden Boy – Austin Howard – but he sucks. Look at the tape and believe your eyes instead of believing what PFF tells you to believe. “But they grade him a top 10 lineman.” Yeah, that’s enough to tell you everything you need to know about the legitimacy of their analysis and grading.

    WE NEED A STARTING RT ASAP!!! And, hopefully, Brian Winters will solidify the line and we can get a quality backup OG.

    The penalties were a sign of an undisciplined O-line. That is inexcusable!

  • Mark Phelan

    Wasn’t it nice seeing the new OC’s game plan? When Ivory is back we will really have something.

    How about that Gates?!

    Forget Kerley as punt receiver…

    Davis apprears dumb as a stone.

  • BRUCE HARPER

    Angel- ???RRRRIGHT!!! Austin Howard really sucks, and simply can’t pass block. Also, the Jets staff needs to lean that Ducasse’s inability to block is not a fluke. It is remarkably consistent. HE NEEDS to GO NOW! Howard also needs to go, but sadly, we have no one to replace him.

  • BRUCE HARPER

    Also, to express what is sure to be an unpopular opinion. Geno Smith has a very good arm, but you can’t stare down individual receivers in the NFL nad throw to them. Smith-in this one game, which is not enough to make a conclusion-did not look ready. And Sanchez was very good at hitting onpen receivers.

  • Greg

    Agree, it’s unbelievable that Kerley is still back fair catching everything on punts.

  • Jim G

    Marty’s WCO relies heavily on the screen pass, and Sanchez has proven time and time again that he struggles with the screen, usually with results like you witnessed last night. There is a reason that Schotty removed the screen from the playbook when he was here. This team is doomed if Sanchez is the starter this season.

    Kyle Wilson still is a horrible CB and misses WAY too many tackles. Milliner looked both great and awful at times. Walls should be cut this morning. Demario Davis is totally ineffective in this defense and will prove to be the weak link in the front 7.

    This team looks like a 5-6 win team.

  • Nikolas

    Geno did as well as you could expect from a rookie.
    Sanchez gave us reminders of an atrocious 2012 season and a glorious 2010 playoff run.
    The defense will be very good and the WR group seems solid.
    The offensive line is talented and will solidify but our running game needs a lot: without a good running game the QB play will suffer too.
    Overall, I think this team –by the end of the season- will do be much better than people think.

  • sean

    To say thats the best you could expect from a rookie is ridiculous. Didn’t sanchez throw a 57 yd td or something on his first series

  • http://semiosphereconsulting.com Dan

    Good even-handed article Joe. Covered all the important stuff without the Godawful snide commentary that Cimini and the other hacks engage in. Thanks for the quality coverage.

    I think one first game is not enough to draw any conclusive opinion, but overall I was disappointed in the team’s play. I agree with Nikolas that we will be better than predicted. But I’m not quite ready to predict how much better based on this one game.

    Once they name the starting QB I think our strengths and concerns going forward will be clearer.

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  • joeydefiant

    Bruce Harper: Were you the only one watching the game??? Geno looked HORRIBLE. He stared the #1 receiver down on every play never looking anywhere else. It is not possible to play QB in the NFL doing this. Hopefully the coaches can work on this the next few weeks/months and Geno MIGHT be ready to start by the bye week. There is no way they can start him week 1 if that does not improve drastically. On the bright side Sanchez looked good in this offense. The difference between the offense this year and last year is like night and day. Everyone remember the Jets did not score one TD in 4 preseason games. 2 last night. I think Sanchez will be much better in this system for the first half of the season. If he is playing well and has us in the playoff hunt keep him in there. If not, make the switch to Geno after the bye week.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Geno is definitely not ready for the nfl, & hopefully the jets won’t rush him & will allow him to develop properly.

    Sanchez was able to make some plays, which is encouraging. While the pick 6 was ugly, both OTs failed to block their man which greatly contributed to the play.

    The OL play was disappointing, hopefully this is a result of an influx of new players & a new system needing time to gel.

    Ultimately, as fans its difficult to assess teams in pre-season as coaches are utilizing the games for teaching & evaluating, not playing to win.

  • keator

    You got all that from geno handing the ball off? Interesting, meanwhile your boy Sanchez “the worst qb in the NFL” spots a team 7 free points again. Rex will continue to start him so next year we will finally have a new qb and a new coach.

    Yippie for mark he is so great. He never stares receivers down, throws terrible ints to the DL man or acts like a rookie in his 5th year.

    It’s maddening people still want this guy to play.

  • Marc L

    So an ongoing theme continues with the Jets. No DEPTH. No OL line or RB depth. Injuries will be devastating.

  • Johnny

    I don’t understand why some are in such a hurry to fire rex. He has done a good job as coach and players like to play for him. His defense is always solid and now that we have a real offensive coordinator, once we build up the talent on the offensive end, we should be back in contention. Not sure who people think is going to replace rex that is going to make the team better.

  • joeydefiant

    Not to mention we’ve been drafting defense in the early rounds the last 4 years to fit Rex’s system. Fire Rex and the team is set back a few years as a new HC works with the GM to get players that fit his system.

  • matr dontelli iii

    that’s an easy one. people want rex gone because that’s what the clown media wants. monkey read, monkey hear, monkey repeat. please, don’t think for yourselves, repeat what the idiots say. remember what woodhead did when cowher was available? he went and hid in europe until he was no longer available. yeah, he was on vacation. vacation from what? his life is a vacation. in fifteen or so years of ownership he has yet to hire an experienced hc or gm. coincidence? i think not. yay, let’s fire the coach and hire another rookie!

  • Nikolas

    Matr Dontelli iii. You are so right about the news manufacturing media, the teams’ Ownership and the whining girl-scouts.
    Rex is the best thing that’s happened to this team since Bill Parcels

  • matr dontelli iii

    thank you nik, the unfortunate thing about parcells is that by the time he got here his attention span was too short to effect real change. his change was temporary due to belichek bolting. had belichek been man enough to tell parcells he wanted no part of coaching the team maybe parcells could have done some sort of a plan b. unfortunately that didn’t happen and al groh became plan b.