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…