TOJ Roundtable – New York Jets vs. Detroit Lions Review Edition

The TOJ Roundtable discusses what they are most and least encouraged by from the New York Jets second preseason game against the Detroit Lions

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What were most and least encouraged by in the New York Jets preseason game against the Detroit Lions? 

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Dalbin OsorioThe most encouraging thing, for me, was the defense and how just tank immune they will be. The defensive line continues to impress, the secondary looks faster, and the linebackers (particularly Demario Davis) are cleaning up what the defensive line lines up. I think Davis and Darron Lee’s performance, like Joe Malfa mentions below, have been pleasant surprises.

The least encouraging thing was Christian Hackenberg’s performance. He had a very good game the week prior, but how far he still has to go was on display. It is telling what difference one week makes because the one read offense worked against Tennessee. I know the Lions said they didn’t watch any tape, but they were sitting on those short routes and playing up on the wide receivers to make sure he did not have any room to throw. In these instances, Hackenberg threw the ball any way. Some on Twitter, made multiple excuses about the performance and Keith from JetsFanMedia thought people were saying it was a bad performance because we had “become scouts through Twitter and GIFs.”

Make it more direct next time my guy.

The people who are in the Pro-Hack camp hide behind this “the whole team was bad” argument, and yeah, sure, that can be true AND Hackenberg can still be bad.

Hackenberg got a ton of credit for his week 1 performance, probably more than he deserved, because of how good he looked and he will now see the other side of that because of how bad he was this past week. After that performance, he is clearly behind Bryce Petty right now and that is wildly concerning. He needs a bounce back game in the worst way next week against a Super Bowl caliber defense.

Scott MasonMost encouraging to me was Marcus Maye. For as much as we have talked about Jamal Adams, Maye is starting to look like he could be everything we hoped Pryor would become when he was picked in the first round out of Louisville a few years ago.

I hate to say it, but the least encouraging part was watching Christian Hackenberg and the offensive line. For as much as Hackenberg was praised for his improved fundamentals last week, he looked like a trainwreck this week, throwing balls behind receivers, forcing passes, etc….. If there was any doubt as to who the QB will be to start the season, that doubt should be all but erased now. The only question left is whether Hackenberg will ever truly be ready or if they will be forced to just shove him out there at some point just because. As for the offensive line, what can I say that hasn’t already been said – the way they are blocking so far, you could have Aaron Rodgers and David Johnson and still not get much productivity on offense. If they don’t get it together quickly, this will be a rerun of 2005 when Pennington and Fiedler both got hurt and we were treated to the majority of the season being quarterbacked by 98 year old Vinny Testaverde and Brooks Bollinger.

Joe MalfaIs it fair to say I wasn’t encouraged by anything on Saturday? Maybe if I were simply referencing the offense, but Marcus Maye and Darron Lee looked impressive on the defensive side of the ball. Maye did a good job of finding his way to the line to meet the ball carrier against the run, and he delivered a couple of big hits to receivers on throws down the field. Lee was all over the place, making tackles left and right, basically looking exactly like what a 1st round ILB is supposed to look like. He received an 83.4 overall grade from PFF, good enough for 4th among ILBs for preseason Week 2.

The least encouraging game was the entire offense. It was just bad — I’ll leave it at that since everyone else is bashing the offense. Pitiful.

Daniel EssenI was most encouraged by Dexter McDougle. Buster Skrine is still ahead of McDougle of the depth chart for now but Dex has shined with every opportunity he’s been given this preseason. He looks like a much more confident player than he has been in years past. His coverage skills are more polished and his tackling ability has greatly improved. McDougle mentioned a different offseason regiment than saw him lose 14 pounds and it shows a bit on the field. He’s been more spritely, and more sure of himself. It’d be great news if the Jets turned out to have more depth at CB than they anticipated.

I was least encouraged by Christian Hackenberg. Yes, the Jets’ offensive line has been terrible and that’s not helping. However, Hackenberg is still struggling with simple parts of the game in ways that are often major separators between QBs that can and cannot start in the NFL. He still needs to show that he can handle the basics of an NFL offense pre-snap and handle basic mechanics (particularly ball security). He then needs to show he can be accurate. That’s going to be vital with the limited amount of NFL experience and elite talent there is for the Jets at wide receiver with Enunwa out. Generally, its not encouraging that after one week of preseason film on Hackenberg in John Morton’s offense, the Lions defense barely allowed the Jets offense past midfield. Its wise to believe Morton isn’t revealing his entire offense in the preseason but that can’t be the cover all excuse for the ineffectiveness the first-team showed on Saturday, particularly in the passing game.

David Aitken: Defensively, while I think the unit’s being graded on a curve by the fan base so far, there’s been a few exciting pieces. Dexter McDougle continued to shine late and could stand to earn significant reps soon. Jordan Jenkins was disruptive versus the run and has had himself a decent preseason overall. Darron Lee and Marcus Maye have been the most surprising. They’ve been looking a lot more comfortable as starters so far than I expected. It’s still a limited amount of snaps to judge these players on, but I expected the slow start from Maye and Adams to shine early and it’s been the other way around.

The least encouraging thing was the first half offensive performance as a whole. Even though Hackenberg was at the center of it, it’s important to also look at the players around him and their failures across the board. Besides Forte, who is not a better player than Powell at this point, the Jets were a Josh McCown away from playing at “full strength.” It’s a unit embarrassingly bereft of starting caliber talent with Quincy Enunwa shelved for the season. Robby Anderson is going to be a high point, but he’s not going to carry an offense.

Kyle FaheyAs most of you know by now, I am a big film guy. On this week’s breakdown, I was very excited to see the mental advancements from Bryce Petty. He was showing the ability to control an offense, make audibles at the line, identify coverages, and produce while doing it. This is a new Bryce Petty, if his good play carries on…. his name should be announced on Monday by Todd Bowles.

On the dark side of the moon, Christian Hackenberg showed his true colors again. Say what you want about the Offensive Line’s performance but Hack just was not alert to the unbalance at the line of scrimmage on most plays. That lead to those big hits that seemed to come out of nowhere. He continues to show incompetence while under duress, doesn’t keep his eyes downfield, and is still missing wide open targets. God forbid he wasn’t a second round pick… he’d be cut.

Jake BenaquistoAlthough it was in limited action, I was most encouraged by the rookie pass catchers. Jordan Leggett, ArDarius Stewart, and Chad Hansen all showed their playmaking abilities in the second half. Stewart stood out the most to me, as he made a nice grab on a poor throw from Petty and showcased his YAC potential. It’ll be interesting to see if John Morton gives these guys more opportunitites with the first team next week against the Giants.

In terms of where I was least encouraged, Christian Hackenberg’s lackluster performance is the obvious choice. Not only was it frustrating to see his lack of progression, but his inability to put points on the board is revealing. The offensive line didn’t do him any favors, as they were hit with several holding penalties and allowed a number of sacks. What was most disappointing about Hackenberg’s game was the fact that it pretty much guarantees Josh McCown to be the week one starter for a team that is supposedly rebuilding. Hackenberg still has two preseason games left to improve and inspire hope, but right now it’s not looking good for the second year QB.

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Author: Dalbin Osorio

Dalbin Osorio is a Case Planner for Graham-Windham, New York's oldest child welfare agency. He is, also, a student at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Dalbin graduated from Monroe College with a degree in Business Administration. A 3 sport utility man in high school (think a mix of Jerome WIlliams, Brad Smith, and Jayson Nix), he joined TOJ in 2013.