On Saturday night the New York Jets beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-13 at MetLife Stadium. Here are some of my notes from the game.
1) Same old Sanchez- Mark Sanchez had another up and down night (13/23 169 yards 1 td, 1 int) which seems to be the norm for the Jets signal caller. Sanchez looked sharp in the opening drive, which included a 23-yard touchdown pass, but then made some inexcusable mistakes (i.e. interception in the end zone, blown play before halftime) as the game played out. Mark seems to be comfortable in the west coast offense but he just continues to have lapses of judgement with the football. The fact that Sanchez has not clearly won the quarterback competition as the team heads into the third preseason game speaks volumes.
2) Powell continues to shine- Bilal Powell continues to make his case to be the featured back for the New York Jets. Powell (7 carries 68 yards) displayed explosiveness and elusiveness and looks very comfortable running the wildcat formation.
3) What happened to the speed on defense? The Jets first string defense looked terrible on Saturday night as they were carved up by Blaine Gabbert (13/16 165 yards 1 td). Yes, the same Gabbert that is considered by many to be one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. The Jets defense appeared to be very slow sideline to sideline and surprisingly lacked intensity and aggressiveness. Both starting middle linebackers David Harris and Demario Davis looked pedestrian and that is concerning.
4) Dee does not deliver- Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner received his first initiation into the NFL as wide receiver Justin Blackmon repeatedly toasted the first year player. Milliner appeared hesitant and soft in coverage and the Jaguars went right after him. Milliner better get used to the attention as opposing quarterbacks are going to pick on him instead of testing Antonio Cromartie.
5) Wide receiver battle continues- The competition at the wide receiver position continues to heat up as undrafted free agent Ryan Spadola continues to turn heads. Braylon Edwards was relegated to second and third team reps which has some wondering if the veteran receiver is on the bubble. I think it would be foolish to release Edwards when there is so much inexperience at the wide receiver position.
6) McKnight's roster spot in jeopardy? The Jets worked out a few kick returners on Saturday night with excellent results. Clyde Gates, Jeremy Kerley, and Kyle Wilson all look very comfortable in the return game which could make Joe McKnight expendable as he continues to battle injuries.
7) Coples out for a while- Linebacker Quinton Coples fractured his ankle and will be out an indefinite amount of time. This is a big blow to the Jets defense and will put the spotlight on players like Antwan Barnes and Ricky Sapp to generate a pass rush.
8) Cumberland continues to make plays- Another week, another touchdown for tight end Jeff Cumberland. The Jets tight end is emerging as a reliable target for Mark Sanchez could form a solid tandem alongside Kellen Winslow.
9) Rex facing the heat? Rex Ryan continues to make questionable decisions which has some wondering if he is facing the heat of coaching with his job on the line. Geno Smith was inactive for Saturday's game after practicing all week. Why would you practice Smith if he was hurt? Mark Sanchez, potentially the Jets starting quarterback, played the third quarter behind the backup offensive line. Could you imagine if Sanchez would have gotten hurt? And now Rex is consistently ripping rookie players for poor performance while some of his trusted veterans (Sanchez, Harris etc) escape Ryan's wrath. Rex Ryan's coaching abilities are going to be tested this year and as of now the head coach is off to a shaky start with his handling of the quarterback competition.
10) Pump up the music- As expected the crowd at MetLife Stadium was quiet on Saturday night as most preseason games lack the fire and energy of the regular season. For whatever reason the New York Jets decided to pump in a J-E-T-S chant which was borderline embarrassing. The J-E-T-S chant was made popular due to the energy and excitement of the fans and the team should think of different options to generate crowd noise. The drum line group was a good start and idea.