Jets unbeaten in pre-season, but many problems persist
CINCINNATI, OH — Another game and another win for the New York Jets in the 2014 NFL preseason. But a 2-0 start will not dissipate the firestorm of questions at Cornerback nor the secondary for the Jets.
A two touchdown deficit for Gang Green turned into 22 unanswered points as the Jets avoided an encore of October 27, 2013 (the day which marked the worst point margin loss of the Rex Ryan tenure – 40 points in a 49-9 forgetful loss at Paul Brown Stadium).
After their conquest in Cincinnati, there remains leery concern about the offense, confidence in the front seven but worry on how Gang Green will ultimately go forward in filling the holes in the back end of the defense.
It started almost eerily similar to that October late afternoon when Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton had a career day en route to connecting with Wide Receiver Marvin Jones on Five touchdown on the day — no that is not a misprint Jets fans.
Saturday evening was almost no different as before departing the game, Dalton finished with a flawless stat line — 8 for 8 on pass attempts, 144 passing yards on 1 touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu.
Dalton shone through effectively shredded the Jets’ secondary with a no huddle quick paced offense beating the secondary constantly over the top and around the edges.
Antonio Allen despite only being targeted once in his first career action as a Cornerback and the embattled Kyle Wilson were picked on by arguably the best receiver in the NFL, A.J. Green and Sanu — to the tune of 3 receptions for 69 yards (23 yards per recption on 3 targets) for Green and 2 receptions for 56 yards (28 yards per reception on 2 targets) for Sanu.
After the game Rex Ryan critique his injury-riddled secondary by saying — “Andy Dalton looked like a $100 million Quarterback.”
When facing the Bengals starters in the game, Cincinnati scored two touchdowns and a field goal in three series on the Jets. Kyle Wilson continues to struggle playing the nickel giving up a 43-yard touchdown reception to Sanu as Dawan Landry came late on the deep help. Dee Milliner’s health is needed by the team now more than ever as the Jets head toward the benchmark third game of preseason action.
Some good news in the midst of all the first-team defensive struggles was the emergence of the ‘Louisville Slugger’, Calvin Pryor in his NFL debut. The rookie first-round safety made his impact know early and often.
From recovering a strip-sack fumble on his 3rd NFL play by fellow teammate Demario Davis to hammering Bengals receiver Cobi Hamilton on a pass play; the flying around and big hits were what the team envisioned when they selected the Louisville product 18th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Pryor did not get a chance to start and was eased in his first real-time game action, but he did get some work with the first team (which played the entire first half) despite not going up against the tough combination of Dalton & Green.
Chris Johnson, formerly of ‘CJ2k’ artistry, was a positive displaying some of his old burst. 63 yards on 10 carries running out of the pistol formation found holes through the middle and out on the corner edges. The running backs were a position of strength which told a lot about the o-line’s performance despite the alarming number of penalties that they accrued.
12 Penalties in total for 133 yards, including a whopping seven personal fouls mostly committed by the offensive line combo of Breno Giacomini, Brian Winters and Willie Colon. They showed flashes playing with a nasty edge and chip on their shoulders, but at times the aggression was costly as they lost their cool in scuffles early and often.
Geno Smith did not do anything with his play to create any noise around a scarce semblance of a Quarterback controversy around the Jets. Playing the entire first half for a total of 31 plays, Geno’s only glaring mistake was a miscommunication with receiver David Nelson which was picked off by the Bengals’ Terrence Newman.
Smith did use his head and legs at times of pressure against Cincy’s D, continuing what made him very successful last December –making good decisions to spark the offense and checking down to second and third reads from the pocket and running when it was necessary to.
He was 10 for 13 overall for 98 yards in 6 series for two touchdowns and a field goal to pull the Jets within one (17-16, the extra point attempt was no good). Michael Vick was 5 for 9 for 70 yards and a 17-yard touchdown pass to Clyde Gates which took the lead for good.
Rookie wideout Jalen Saunders is still in the hospitall according to Head Coach Rex Ryan
Rookie IK Enemkpali blocked a punt out of the end zone for the safety, (first since 2010) which made the final score 25-17. He’s been making impact plays each week on special teams making it increasingly difficult for the team to cut him
Cornerback Ras I-Dowling ruled out with a groin injury
Jets used Winters at RG and Aboushi at RT rotating them after Aboushi started for Winters at LG
Star wideout Eric Decker was a late scratch against the Bengals (Quad)
Cumberland missed the action with an (Achilles) injury
Chris Ivory did not play due to his ribs
Bilal Powell had a nice cutback on his 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter
Quinton Coples was noticeably on the sidelines for a few series
The Jets (2-0) will be the host against inter-stadium rival Giants (3-0) in the annual battle of New York preseason contest at Metlife Stadium on Friday August 22