Two Field Goals: It’s Too Early To Panic But…
Many of us wanted more out of Saturday night’s Green and White Scrimmage offensively. We wanted to hear about the crisp timing in between plays and the extended drives that turned contributions from the rushing attack and thr array of targets in the passing game into touchdowns. Instead we got a pair of Mike Vick scrambles, a big grab from Stephen Hill, a few field goals, and the Greg Salas show (5 receptions, 54 yards). The offensive production against the “best defense in the NFL” according to Calvin Pace was underwhelming and hey, may have been understandable. No matter how big of a part the defense played however in the offense obtaining just six points, it’s too early to panic.
It’s not too early however, to continue to keep at least a watchful eye on Vick’s ability to scramble, make plays, and lead. Not as long as the offense even with it’s additions, continues to have trouble moving the chains consistently.
Vick rushed twice for 35 yards. The scrambling Vick has always been known for could be that extra injection for a team that can’t afford to come up lame averaging 18.1 points a game (29th out of 32 in 2013) this season. Not with a week two through seven schedule that reads Packers, Bears, Lions, Chargers, Broncos, and Patriots.
It’s one scrimmage. One summer night. Way too early to sound the alarm. On the other hand, it would be foolish for Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg to turn a blind eye towards any sort of progress this offense makes in August, and which of the two quarterbacks is back there spearheading it.
Stephen Hill’s 41 Yard Catch and Run Brings Hope
The most exciting Twitter barrage of Saturday night, because that is how we followed the action (thanks to Connor Rogers and other Turn on the Jets staff members on hand as they provided play by play and analysis) was news of Stephen Hill’s 41 yard catch and run from Geno Smith. The Jets are DYING for a viable second receiver, especially if it’s a guy like Hill, who brings that coveted combo of size and downfield speed to the position.
Hill is clearly on the bubble but he is also in season three. That magic year where many receivers seem to have it all fall into place. Like the scrimmage itself, it was one play. One summer night. The big gainer on a night where little was gained by the O brought with it hope that Hill has not run out of time yet.
Now let’s see if the play can springboard his confidence to another level. One that reminds the former second round pick that he was actually drafted in 2012 to be one of the key pieces going forward.
Salas Proves Production Trumps Hype
The Jets can draft all the wideouts they want. As long as when the rubber hits the road, the ones who make the plays, stay. WR Greg Salas was a reception machine Saturday night. When you’re on the bubble, performances like his show a person’s mental toughness. Salas has that slot man look with a physical grit to his play for his size, doesn’t he? He’s in the system he came from in Philly too…a system that won’t be hurt any by a guy who’s had extended time in it outside of New York.
Ok, so the former rarely used Eagle isn’t some big high priced name that excites people as a free agency signing in March. Or a notable big time college star. What he may end up being if given the chance instead, is a trustworthy player with some big play potential.
A poor man’s Victor Cruz? Alright now that may be going a little too far, but I like this player. Marty Mornhinweg’s offense has much to do with strength in numbers and mismatches more so than it does featuring one marquee skill player. Forget talk regarding which receiver would have to be released or sent to the practice squad to make room for Salas. If he keeps finding room and gaining yards, just figure it out Rex.
– Newly acquired DE/LB Jason Babin had a big red zone sack and was flying around I hear. Just when you thought the front seven was already loaded, now it adds a veteran maniac with a chip on his shoulder. Playing for a defense that likes to pressure the backfield. A match made in heaven. Great signing Lord Idzik.
– Nick Folk: It’s hard to remember the days when we’d all watch his kicks through our hands. I hated losing rock solid Jay Feely at the time for Folk. Who first arrived here as a kicker who could drill it from 50 but miss from 30. He’s turning into one the league’s best.
– On Thursday night when the Jets open the preseason against the Colts, the QB battle begins. No, not the Geno-Vick battle. The Matt Simms-Tajh Boyd fight for the number three job. Boyd may have been selected late with the idea of cloning the mobile, strong armed Marty ball type for this system (provided he can straighten out his erratic throwing issues) but Simms has to be rightfully unseated as far as I’m concerned.
– Chris Johnson ran the ball and said afterwards that the knee felt good. Eric Decker ran around even with the early camp hammy. Maybe those are really the best signs to take from the weekend. Exiting these scrimmages and preseason games without any major injuries is still above all else, top priority. I don’t care if the Jets don’t get a first down for the entire month of August. Stay healthy gentleman, it’s a long long season.