PHILADELPHIA, PA — The New York Jets’ will now have to turn their attention to assembling the best 53-man roster that Gang Green can move forward with.
That is with Head Coach Rex Ryan and General Manager John Idzik having 22 spots to clear in two days by Saturday August 30, to officially abide the league wide mandate to cut rosters down by 6 p.m. on the deadline date.
Thursday night was a reunion fest of sorts for the backups as the Jets never got reacquainted with former starter, the much maligned Mark Sanchez and former Eagle, Michael Vick, was literally pulled after one handoff snap — a classy move by Rex Ryan, which allowed Vick to get a standing ovation by the crowd in Lincoln Financial Field.
It was a fitting tribute by fans for Vick’s five years of service to the team which gave him his second shot at an NFL career. But for all the catching up and good sentiment with finally being done with the preseason, the Jets must shift its focus with only ten days remaining from tonight’s 37-7 loss and a date with the Oakland Raiders on September 7.
“It’s kind of tough to say because it’s week to week,” said Linebacker Demario Davis on the state of the Jets defense. “Were improving but we feel confident about our identity.”
When asked about the method of preparation for the team leading up to the season, during the Jets-Eagles CBS telecast Davis responded “It’s football season and its time, everyone’s ready to play.”
The contest could have been a telling sign or just smoke and mirrors with those seemingly fighting for the sacred final roster spots. Take Stephen Hill for example.
The spotlight has squarely been on the 2012 second round pick (infamously picked ahead of emerging Bears’ star Alshon Jeffrey) or his hands lack thereof. Hill caught a 13-yard reception for a first down but also dropped the first target his way causing all too familiar request of fans for Hill to extend his hands on a more consistent basis.
His night was done after appearing in five of the Jets’ six possessions in the first half raising questions as to whether this would be the swan song for the disappointing 23-year old’s career with the team.
Matt Simms, who got the majority of the snaps in tonight’s game missed Greg Salas twice in the end zone on overthrows so Salas did not do anything to warrant him not making the team.
The team is said to probably keep around five or six receivers and Hill is competing with Greg Salas and Saalim Hakim for the final one or two spots (as Decker, Kerley and Nelson are locks with Gates as the odd man out overall).
Salas and Hakim play on special teams and Hill does not which may end up counting against the third-year wideout. For the final ‘tryout’ to make the final 53-man roster, essentially Jets players just had to show what they can do, while the proverbial locks and first teamers encouraged them while also letting the backups know what they could do better.
One of those players who did not look good in his audition at all was LeQuan Lewis. Lewis noted as a key player coming into the game – struggled mightily. It was easily to see why Lewis has been a journeyman in the NFL, playing for nine professional teams in four seasons.
After being picked up by the Jets during training camp (prior to the secondary being depleted with injury) it was assumed that Lewis was acquired to help with depth.
This was before Gang Green reached full emergency status after converted safety turned corner Antonio Allen suffered a concussion last Friday against the Giants and with the status of Dimitri Patterson being up in the air.
Lewis given his shot starting opposite Ellis Lankster (who struggled in his own right with two holding penalties and being blown away on routes). While Lewis had an interception in the end zone, he did not make a case for being an option as a stop-gap starter until Dee Milliner returns, as he fell susceptible to the deep ball being beaten for a 32-yard gain and a 43-yard touchdown on the night.
Special teams ace, Linebacker Nick Bellore was down on the field temporarily as trainers checked on his lower let leg but he eventually walked off the field under his own power (the team later announced it was a calf injury)
Dmitri Patterson’s status with the final 53-man roster is still up in the air especially after Patterson came out and refuted the team’s claim that he was AWOL for 48 hours prior to and after the ‘Snoopy Bowl’ against the Giants
The Eagles racked up 557 yards of total offense (292 passing and 265 rushing)
Stat of the night or Ominous sign?: 4 catches for Jalen Saunders tonight, were more than Stephen Hill had all pre-season in 5 times as many reps
After the game Rex Ryan was not pleased with the team’s overall performance, telling reporters “Its hard to really hard to pinpoint who stood stepped up. It was a poor performance by us, without question.”