The Bright Spot On a Dark Night
MetLife Stadium: Think positive won’t you?
Forget Mark Sanchez interception returned for a touchdown. Make believe Wayne Hunter isn’t the Jets right tackle. Stop talking about how Tim Tebow led the team to three points against the Giants second team defense.
The usually radiant Rex Ryan was dreary at the podium tonight, saying, “You can say there were some positive things and all that, it’s kind of hard to really find too many, but there was.”
Although Ryan was down on the team’s performance, the defense held their own under the lights at MetLife Stadium.
“The defense is playing great, lights out, the whole defense is on,” said Ryan.
The Jets defense came out and stopped the reigning Super Bowl champions for three straight plays, but a Joe McKnight roughing the kicker penalty revived the drive. The defense looked vulnerable in the passing game, giving up three catches to Victor Cruz for 48 yards, but stopped the bleeding and only allowed a field goal.
The Giants began their second drive at their own 49 after a quick three and out. With a short field, the Giants again utilized Cruz (two catches for 17 yards) and marched to the red zone. The Jets defense persevered again, stopping two consecutive run plays and breaking up a pass. Another field goal stretched the lead to six.
Then the highlights began.
The Giants next drive lasted one play as LaRon Landry caught an errand throw by Eli Manning. Landry returned the ball 21 yards before being brought down.
“That was a positive,” said Ryan when asked about Landry’s performance. “So hey, there’s one. You know what I was most impressed with, not the interception or a couple of big hits, it was the fact that he was dialing in on our defense. He’s starting to pick it up, you’re not worried about him mentally handling it.”
“Without question he is an impact player,” Ryan concluded.
During training camp, a lot of attention was directed towards the positive play of linebacker Aaron Maybin. He didn’t disappoint, partially blocking a punt on the next Giants drive after a three and out.
The defense stopped five of seven third down conversions (71%) and gave up 81 yards in 29 plays (2.8 yds/play) in the first half. The run defense was most impressive, allowing 19 yds on 15 rushes (1.3 yds/play).
As negativity surrounds the team with a poor showing against the Giants, it is encouraging to see the defense play near regular season form. Is it especially encouraging to see Bart Scott in the thick of most of the action, recording four solo tackles and getting a hit on Manning.
With that said, there is still work to be done.
Cruz had a great day catching balls over the middle at all depths—short, intermediate and long. Cruz and Manning hooked up five times for 51 yards as the secondary couldn’t hold him in check.
Another area with room for improvement is the defensive line, which generated little pressure.
This defense may have may have to carry the team on it’s back en route to a playoff appearance. As of now, they look ready to handle the weight.