Pre-season football, we missed you. hough it may not be the time for serious analysis after just one exhibition game, a lot can happen in any given few hours of football. Let’s see which players helped and hurt their stock in a classic style of review from Gang Green Nation, “The Great, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”
– No Serious Injuries: David Nelson banged up his hand if I’m recalling correctly, backup inside linebacker AJ Edds broke a finger, and Chris Ivory may have bruised his ribs a little bit. I’ll take that kind of aftermath from any meaningless football game.
– Dee Milliner: It may be a stretch to call Dee’s short performance last night “great,” but let me live a little here. I don’t recall Milliner allowing a completion and he broke up two passes nicely: one that he anticipated and sprung to deflect from Andrew Luck, and another deep down the sideline from Matt Hasselbeck where he displayed great coverage throughout the play (though he should have picked it off).
– Andrew Furney: No, he’s got no chance to beat out Nick Folk, but Furney couldn’t have really asked for a better chance to showcase his leg talent than the 51-yard field goal under some pressure last in the game. Teams that are desperate for some last minute kicking competition would probably prefer a clear strong leg than mild accuracy on shorter kicks. If he makes any more from that range or shows any consistency through the rest of summer, it’s pretty tough to imagine him not getting picked up somewhere. Good for him.
– David Harris: I’m not exactly surprised to see Harris look fresh and competent after his nice bounce back season last year, but it was certainly encouraging to see some of the same with little to no rust. He did get burned by T.Y Hilton in the flat, but Rex Ryan should not expect him to be able to cover Hilton and it would be concerning for Colts’ fans if there was any other result on that play. The Hitman really was putting on a show last night though, as he blew up a couple Colts’ guards with just functional strength. That speed and sound breaking down tackling we saw last year? It’s also back, as he chased down a swing pass or two with ease.
– The Top 5 Defensive Lineman: Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Damon Harrison, Leger Douzable, and Kenrick Ellis all made their fair share of usual explosive plays last night, to nobody’s surprise. The Colts’ offensive line is definitely not one of their strongholds on either the first or second string, but the defensive line was living in the backfield.
-Starting OLBs: Both Calvin Pace and Quinton Coples were giving regular season efforts last night when holding the edge of the line and rushing the passer. Disruption was achieved by both on numerous occasions, and there were a couple instances when I was genuinely shocked by how fast and fluidly Coples whipped around his offensive tackle to make a tackle on the running back.
-Ellis Lankster: That renewed contract Lankster signed this off-season doesn’t look so odd now. I’ve always been a fan of Lankster and I would imagine most of the fanbase would have come around on him by now, too. He can stand tall and hit somebody on the edge in the run game, he made a nice play on the ball late in coverage last night, and he’s a monster on special teams (and assisted on a big hit with Troy Davis on a punt return last night). You can’t ask for much more with your fifth corner on the depth chart.
– Jace Amaro: People really loved to berate the rookie as he had a couple minor injuries in camp and dropped some passes, but he looked good last night. Amaro caught a few passes from different quarterbacks and showed both smarts to find soft spots in zone and speed to gain additional yardage after the catch. Also, for a guy that’s widely and wrongly considered a a tweener for the tight end position, he smacked a free rusher a couple of times last night bending around the edge to free up run lanes. The former Red Raider was moving around a whole lot to in Marty Morhinweg’s experiments. He can play out wide, in line, and in the backfield and we saw it last night.
– Jacoby Ford: I’ve been critical of Ford and his chances to make the final 53 this off-season, but he actually made several nice catches away from his body that were contested last night, which I didn’t expect from him based on what I heard from Raiders fans. He didn’t get to return any kicks, but he may have a case to stick to the roster as the last receiver since he rose above many other bubble pass-catchers last night.
– Tevita Finau: It’s hilarious how long it seems like Finau has been on this team despite the fact that nobody has ever really seen him play important snaps of football. He may get to do that this year though, since he was on point last night. Finau used his hands really quickly and synchronized them with his initial step multiple times last night, and got into the backfield to make plays when he did so.
– Alex Green: Green wasn’t all that spectacular last night, but he’s being categorized here more because of how much more unspectacular Daryl Richardson looked as his competition. At this point it’s pretty guaranteed that the Jets will keep four pure running backs, so Green might have more of a shot to make the team than Jet fans originally thought.
-IK Enempkpali: The rookie didn’t put on a show, but he definitely made a very small sample of snaps worthwhile with his strip sack late in the game in which AJ Edds recovered the fumble.
– Breno Giacomini: The Jets’ new right tackle brought back my negative thoughts on the decision to let Austin Howard walk this off-season. Giacomini was victimized a couple of times last nights on the edge versus pass rushers, but most notably was when he was blown by by Colts’ second year rush linebacker Bjoern Werner, who struggled to bend as an athlete when transitioning to the NFL last year. Hopefully the former Seahawk can recover in the remaining summer games.
– Kyle Wilson: Wilson got burned once in the slot and missed a tackle horrifically on a wide receiver screen last night. In today’s NFL with slot corners being part-time starting players, I’m not looking forward to seeing Wilson on the field 50% of the time or so.
– Stephen Hill: Hill whined about a defensive holding call on him, but didn’t have any miscues throughout the night. It’s the plays he wasn’t making that land him on this list. He wasn’t targeted once last night by any of the Jets’ three quarterbacks who played despite playing deep into the second half. I re-watched to make sure it wasn’t like they just weren’t seeing him, but he really wasn’t getting separation.
– Jason Babin: The former Jaguar will have a very specific role in Rex Ryan’s defense come this fall, but he helped prove last night why he hasn’t been an every-down edge player in quite some time. He wasn’t even outplayed on run plays; he simply doesn’t know how to take on a block correctly to maintain leverage on the edge of the line. Daniel Herron was given tons of open green solely because Babin was allowing it to happen.
– Jeremiah George: We shouldn’t really expect much from the fifth round draft pick from this past May, but he was definitely pretty bad in his first legit action. He was shelled a couple of times in the hole by a lineman or even a leading fullback, and his priorities were off course on the touchdown he allowed in man coverage in the first half.
– Dmitri Patterson: Well, that wasn’t pretty. No matter what stage of the game it was, Patterson was committing penalties or getting beat here and there all night. Starters and backups had their way with him, as it appeared he didn’t really know how to break out of his stance when playing on the exterior. For a guy who is supposed to be a season veteran in both the slot and on the outside, he didn’t differentiate his approach from the two at all, and that’s part of the reason why he was trailing receivers so often versus Indianapolis. This guy might be in line to start this fall (though I really hope he doesn’t) and that is not a good sign at the moment.
– Ben Ijalana: I don’t want to pick on one non-starter in particular, but it’s tough not to when Ijalana was that overwhelmed at offensive tackle. He was totally overmatched by Cam Johnson as he allowed a sack late in the game, and was allowing penetration on just about every play I watched him.