Initial Reaction – Defense Wins The Night, New York Jets Win Opener

Joe Caporoso with initial reaction to the New York Jets 7-3 win over the Tennessee Titans in their preseason opener

The New York Jets made their preseason debut tonight with a 7-3 win over the Tennessee Titans. Yes, the under is likely going to be a wise bet in many of the team’s games this season. So, what actually happened out there?

Defense: All three of the Jets defensive units dominated the Titans. Tennessee managed 3 points, which came on a short field. The Jets racked up 8 sacks, including the two below by Leonard Williams and Jordan Jenkins (who oddly played the entire game). Todd Bowles was extremely blitz happy. You have to wonder if his 2017 motto will be “if I am going down, I am going down with what got me here…excessive blitzing.” The Jets also forced two turnovers, an interception by Ronald Martin and a strip sack by Anthony Johnson.

The depth and strength of the Jets defensive line was on full display tonight as they routinely pushed the Titans around. At linebacker, Josh Martin and Julian Stanford stood out. Martin was all over the field, setting the edge against the run, recording a sack and recovering a fumble. Lorenzo Mauldin is quickly trending towards the roster bubble as he missed tonight with an injury (so did Dylan Donahue). Stanford nearly knocked out Titans backup quarterback Alex Tanney with the below sack.

In the secondary, Doug Middleton and Dexter McDougle stood out. Both were active with multiple pass breakups and showed good range. The Jets rookie safeties were quiet, which is okay at times for that position and did not play all that much.

Quarterbacks: Josh McCown led the Jets down the field on the first drive of the game for a touchdown, the only touchdown of the night. The majority of the yards came on a perfectly executed nine route to Robby Anderson, who cooked big money free agent signing Logan Ryan for a 53 yard gain. McCown finished the drive by finding Charone Peake for a 4 yard touchdown.

Christian Hackenberg played the majority of the game and looked notably improved from last preseason, despite very clearly still having a long way to go. He finished 18/25 for 127 yards with a lost fumble. The positives are that he was accurate (2 of his incompletions were drops) and he was decisive with the football. The negatives are he generated 0 points, had a 5.1 YPA (all of his completions were checkdowns, slants and hitch routes), he lost a fumble and had to burn two timeouts because the play clock was winding down. The Jets are clearly going to run a conservative, West Coast offense but the few times Hackenberg did attempt a throw over ten yards, he was well off the mark or the pass was batted down. Hopefully, next week they will let him loose a little bit. Bryce Petty did nothing of note on the night and clearly remains on track to be the third string quarterback or cut. As of now, it appears McCown will stay on track to start week 1 before eventually giving way to Hackenberg.

Offense: At receiver, Robby Anderson caught all three of his targets for 71 yards. Chris Harper and Marquess Wilson each had a pair of nice looking receptions. ArDarius Stewart had one catch. Chad Hansen had one catch. Jordan Leggett had one catch but none of three played until the second half.

The Jets had no running game to speak of, finishing with 31 carries for 60 yards. Elijah McGure had two runs over 10 yards but both were called back.  Jordan Todman technically led the way with 8 carries for 20 yards. The offensive line didn’t get a great push in the running game but was fairly competent in pass pro, only allowing 2 sacks.

Odds and Ends

  • Buster Skrine dropped an interception. A Titans defensive lineman dropped a potential interception from Hackenberg.
  • Jalin Marshall had a pretty one handed 15 yard catch but also had an ugly drop and a holding penalty.
  • Deon Simon and Lawrence Thomas got a strong push on the second unit defensive line.
  • Demario Davis had a David Harris like tackle on a screen pass.
  • Darron Lee filled the hole well on a short run by Derrick Herny. He looked a little bulked up.
  • Frankie Hammond looked better at returner than Lucky Whitehead.
  • Both fullbacks dropped a pass.
  • Myles White dropped a long pass from Petty.
  • Chandler Catanzaro missed a 55 yard field goal.
  • Devon Still and Patrick Gamble each recorded a sack.

Photo Credit: 

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports