Initial Reaction: Jets Put Together Encouraging Performance

The New York Jets were far from perfect in their 27-7 victory over the porous Cincinnati Bengals. Yet, there was a collection of very encouraging signs from both the offense and the defense.

Plaxio Burress was the main story of the night, pulling in 3 receptions for 66 yards including a beautiful over the shoulder 26 yard touchdown. Burress didn’t look anywhere near as rusty as many anticipated he would be. Prior to his touchdown, Mark Sanchez connected with Burress on a back shoulder fade down sideline, which was exciting to see because you can’t stop that route if it is thrown properly to a 6’5 receiver. A big chunk of the Jets third down and red-zone problems will go away if Sanchez and Burress are connecting like they were tonight.

Sanchez put together another good performance, going 12/20 for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns. He did an excellent job spreading the ball around to his top targets, as Santonio Holmes caught a 16 yard touchdown and Dustin Keller led the way with 73 receiving yards, including a 43 yarder off a nice play action fake. The sky is the limit for this passing offense once Burress, Holmes, Keller, and Derrick Mason are on the field together.

The starting defense dominated outside of one drive, where they broke down on a screen pass to Brian Leonard which went for a huge gain that eventually led to a touchdown.Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton struggled and threw two bad interceptions, one picked off by Eric Smith and one by Jim Leonhard. The backups on defense keep Cincinnati off the board. Brashton Satele intercepted a pass and fell a couple yards short of a touchdown. Recently signed linebacker Aaron Maybin also came up with a strip sack, in a play that isn’t going to make Bills fans happy.

Joe McKnight deserves credit for putting together a strong performance and taking a big step towards locking down the #3 running back spot. He scored his first NFL touchdown on a 3 yard reception from Greg McElroy and also had 36 yards on 7 carries.Bilal Powell was quiet with 22 yards on 9 carries. Fifth string running back Chris Jennings actually had the run of the night, breaking off a 69 yarder late in the fourth quarter.

The negatives? The Jets were still inconsistent at finishing drives and struggled on third downs. They stalled at the 26 yard line on the first drive of the game, followed by Nick Folk missing a 43 yard field goal, also they later had to settle for a field goal when they had the ball in the red-zone. The first unit didn’t run the ball particularly well as LaDainian Tomlinson only had 21 yards on 9 carries. On defense, the screen wasn’t defended well and it was disappointing to see them allow a touchdown drive to such a weak offense.

Overall, it was still a step in the right direction and you have to be encouraged with where the Jets currently are at in the pre-season.

Jets Thursday Training Camp Round-Up

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Some assorted thoughts on Jets training camp as we head towards the weekend –

First off, a friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

The Jets early practice was cut short by rain this morning and they only had a special teams session in the afternoon. Hence, the normal avalanche of information about specific plays in practice wasn’t released today, however here is a run down of the biggest headlines:

  • Joe Namath graced the organization with his presence today and was quick to pronounce his belief the Jets were poised to win the Super Bowl. For some reason this was reported as a major story. I am not sure it is so shocking that a Jets legend who is involved in working with the organization is going to say he is confident the Jets will be really good in 2010. It is about as surprising as Rex Ryan saying he thinks the Jets will have the best defense in the NFL, which he says about 11 times a day.
  • Kris Jenkins had a scare today when he took a shot to his leg and admitted he had a similar feeling to when he tore his ligaments last year. However, everything held together and he said surviving that shot has boosted his confidence about the strength of his leg heading into this season. I would still expect Jenkins to have very limited reps in the pre-season. It will also be interesting to see the amount of playing time Jenkins gets in the beginning of the regular season as the Jets attempt to keep him fresh for the stretch run. Sione Pouha is a more than capable back-up, who can provide a high amount of quality reps off the bench.
  • Linebacker Brashton Satele’s injury isn’t that serious and he should be back at practice within in the next few days.
  • Steve Weatherford was rested for this afternoon’s special teams practice. Apparently punter TJ Conley has improved substantially from last season but it sounds like Weatherford still has a very strong hold on the job.
  • Mike Westhoff announced today that Kyle Wilson will be the Jets primary punt returner and Brad Smith will be the primary kick returner heading into the pre-season. I would still expect to see some Jim Leonhard on punt return for certain situations, along with Antonio Cromartie getting a few reps occasionally at both punt returner and kick returner. Aundrae Allison or Joe McKnight should also get some reps in the pre-season to be given a chance to make an impression.
  • Rex Ryan signed the Jets logo on Adam Schefter’s ESPN training camp tour bus “Soon To Be Champs.”…you have to love the big guy.

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  • From listening to every single interview on WFAN and ESPN Radio today at Jets camp (I was stuck working construction)…it sounds like there has been no tangible progress on the Revis deal and we should all be settling in for a long wait. In the meantime, Revis has been pairing up with old his buddy Chad Ochocino Johnson to work on the OCNN Network. All of his teammates said all the right things about supporting his decision and believing the team could be fine without him, while he sorts out his contract situation. Overall, I would say Rex Ryan has absolutely made his imprint across this roster. The confidence across the board from all the players is extremely encouraging.
  • It continues to sound like Matt Slauson has a very good shot of beating out rookie Vladimir Ducasse for the starting left guard position.

The Jets have a practice at 8:20 and 4:20 tomorrow and then have their annual Green and White scrimmage on Saturday at 6 PM.

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