It Is Hard To Tell
Without Rex Ryan dialing up any blitzes against Bengals QB Andy Dalton, the over-matched duo of Kyle Wilson and safety turned insta-corner Antonio Allen struggled early downfield as the Jets fell behind Cincinnati 17-3. Jets running backs Chris Johnson and Bilal Powell combined for over 100 yards though and Geno Smith held it down admirably by getting the halftime score to 17-16. I bet many in Jets nation who caught a mid August case of panic mode were settling back into their easy chairs a little bit more comfortably.
As most of the 1’s exited, I jotted down some of the more clear positives a diehard could take out of the first half:
– The Jets offensive line looks good. It will protect the quarterback well and open up run lanes. Even a so so offense will be better when the trenches are on lockdown.
– The three headed monster rushing attack could be a real force.
– Calvin Pryor looks like a young Troy Polamalu
– Jace Amaro will make plays right from day one.
– Demario Davis is flying to the ball.
– Geno Smith may not become a top five QB any time soon, but given time and with some patience, he will make plays and move the team down the field. This idea of him as some 32nd ranked guy or whatever is premature. Experts ought to see how he matures a little while longer first before labeling him.
There are of course the obvious causes for concern. that Saturday reminded us of as well:
– It is no secret that the cornerback issue is ongoing. Next up should be Darrin Walls getting a start against the Giants this Friday.
– Milliner’s high ankle sprain is extra worrisome. It is the kind of ailment that can plague him for an extended period of time. The Jets need to treat their corner situation as if they need to fill two spots, not one. Assuming that he will just return to form in the first part of the season despite an injury has lingered for others who have had it too, is not realistic.
– There is no still clear cut second receiver opposite Eric Decker yet. Stephen Hill caught a pass as did Greg Salas, but the position remains wide open with only weeks to go before the Raiders come to town.
Prognosticating how things will go for Gang Green without key pieces like Milliner and Eric Decker in play all at once is tough. It is simply hard to tell exactly how the Jets will be based on limited work from the healthy 1s in August games, but I’ve seen some glimpses of how things can move in the right direction. You can’t ask for too much more out of the preseason.
Geno Is Doing Enough
The only way Geno Smith was going to lose his job outside of getting hurt this summer was by imploding. So far he’s avoided doing so.
Smith has shown some nice pocket presence, and inner clock awareness so far. He’s hit enough receivers on modest patterns to make it hard for Michael Vick to swoop in and grab the reigns.
Vick as we saw last week at home against the Colts, can still scramble with top notch speed even at 33, but Geno has held serve. As much as the idea of Vick intrigues me, there has been no reason so far that I can see that would warrant Vick taking over for now.
Hopefully Smith starts to settle in and command some more as a leader after leading two touchdown drives to end the half days ago. Confidence is the foundation for consistency and growth.
Breno Giacomini and his buddies went all Lyle Alzado on the Bengals after the whistle numerous times didn’t they? Hey, the Bengals started some of those dust ups but regardless, the pushing and shoving that led to the many fifteen yarders were fine by me. Set the tone now.
Rex Ryan said after the seven yes seven personal fouls “We’re not here to take anybody’s stuff, period…we’re not here to take anything from anybody. If a teammate is at risk, then we’re not going to take that. We want to be a clean, physical football team, and that’s what we plan on being.” Good.
The time to tone it down will be soon enough. Now if it continues into September in this whole scale way, we will of course have a problem with it. For now, sure go ahead. Don’t take any crap.
One element I’d like to see return against the Giants is some pass pressure coming solely from the defensive line up front. This young hungry defensive line is supposed to be making QBs run for their lives I thought. We haven’t seen it yet.
– On the outside and looking in WR Clyde Gates needed that TD. One he earned courtesy of some nice moves after a second half red zone toss from Mike Vick. Hitting paydirt though will probably just help him sign elsewhere when he gets released.
I’m guessing the WR depth chart will include Decker, Kerley, Hill, David Nelson, Greg Salas and Jalen Saunders who will also handle duties in the return game. Jacoby Ford? Well he didn’t show anything Saturday in the return department and with Saunders out he may have needed to.
– Bilal Powell is such a valuable Jet. The guy never gets hurt, has a nose for the sticks, and protects the ball so well. He did a great job on one 3rd and long gaining extra yardage after a reception in the flat from Geno Smith to get the Jets into FG range in the 1st quarter. I know I say it all the time but Powell maximizes the yardage out of every play.
– With the cornerback situation still murky and the first eight opponents being among others the Packers, Lions, Bears, Broncos, and Pats, the Jets have to strive for a 24-28 point scoring avg.
Last season they averaged 18.1 points per game so I’m asking for another TD or two FG’s. A combo of improved QB play, help from the new key additions on offense, and perhaps a more opportunistic defense and special teams creating turnovers and improved field position, can get it done.
– Former Jets and current Eagles backup Mark Sanchez looked good Friday in Chip Kelley’s offense against the Patriots. A change of scenery and a proven up tempo system on offense will do him wonders.
– “Can’t wait” for the energy of that first half Friday against the Giants. That seems to be the point where the regular season intensity first rears its head annually for the Jets.