Post game thoughts - Jets/Bengals
First preason game, new offense, a lot of new players got looks in key spots on offense and defense.
- OL was the bigger story, overall they struggled, pass protection was poor, blitz pick-up did not look good by the TE's. To me, the injuries on the OL, players playing out of position or rotating in and out of positions maded it hard for either of the 3 units to get any continuity. It's a new offense, a new system, new blocking schemes. People are panicking, but when you have players on the shelf or not at practice (i.e. Mangold) it's tough to establish that chemistry. Obviously, it's a unit that will need a lot of work, but we need to be patient, let the first and second units get healthy and back on the field with players at their positions.
- Cumberland has shown the ability at TE, especially as a receiver, he too is coming off of injury, but the pass protection at this position was a huge issue last year, and it isn't off to a good start this year, this MUST improve. I'm still convinced there will be another move made at the position, but I think the players on the team have the ability, I like Cumberland as a #2 TE. I was hoping to see more Baker with first unit, but it's the first pre-season game, and the game plan was very vanilla, that much was obvious.
- I thought McKnight looked very good, probably the best of the RB's out there. Powell had some trouble following his blockers, but it's hard to evaluate the RB and QB positions with the OL not playing well. I thought Ganaway flashed a lot in that 4th quarter, and showed good receiving ability.
- Sanchez to me looked strong and confident, had nice zip the passes he did throw, his pocket awareness looked very good, and did a good job sliding when he had a little time, but again, with the OL not playing will in pass protection, it was tough for Sanchez to get into any kind of flow.
- Tebow is going to be a big pick-up for this team, and will be a real weapon, he really has a nice feel at QB especially when the play breaks down. His elusiveness is pretty amazing, when you think the pocket and defense is collapsing on him, he still gets out of it, I can very easily see how valuable he will be in the wildcat package and in short distance packages, just love the pick-up. I was disappointed with McElroy, OL didn't give him much time either, but I thought McElroy held on to the ball too long, I was hoping Simms would get a look, but I get the feeling the team wants to hide him and stash him on the PS.
- Hill flashed, and then dropped a ball on a play he has to have. Chalk it up to rookie jitters, he will need work, but I think he has a role on this team.
- Patrick Turner can be a solid #4 WR on this team. The offense definitely missed Holmes and Kerley. I thought Pollard flashed a lot in the game tonight. Was hoping to see more from Schilens, I think it's a strong possibility that we could see the team make a move for a player at WR, is Harvin a legit possibility? Hoping Kerley gets back soon, Jets need a player at this position, defenses will not respect the passing game without one.
- Coples had a great night for his rookie debut, he played a lot, was gassed, but made plays, and made plays at every level, first team and then later in the game. Everyone who had concerns about this player should have come away thinking this kid already looks the part and looks to have the potential to be a special player
- Jets look very strong and deep on the DL, they are fast and strong. Their #4/5 DE Jay Richardson had a strong night. Ellis flashed, Wilkerson stood out. This is going to be a fun unit to watch, they are young and deep. What was once the weakest unit on the team during Rex' first year, they look to be one of the strongest, a lot of upside with this unit, and a chance to be very good.
- Jets have big decisions to make at LB. Pace I thought looked ok, I've read how some said he looked slow, not sure what you were watching, he was in the backfield, he was playing sideline to sideline. The player who I think could be in trouble is Bryan Thomas. With the Jets playing more 4-3 this year, it will be interesting to see how many LB's they keep on the roster. At OLB, as of right now, they have Pace, Thomas as starters, Maybin and then I guess Sapp as the possible top 4. McIntyre had a strong night, real strong. He looks quicker this year, more confident, I think he could actually give Bryan Thomas a push for a roster position, reason for this is because they are essentially the same kind of player, they play the strong side, McIntyre is the younger more hungry player, Thomas is the veteran coming off of an Achilles injury. Then the Jets have to consider players like Sapp and Dowtin. Dowtin is built like a truck, looks to be a great athlete, but probably a little raw. He was a big time prospect in college, before some problems got him kicked off the Georgia football program, but he can play, and looked real good on ST's tonight. Sapp has had a great camp, then hurt his ankle last week. How many OLB's do the Jets keep? If they keep 5, Pace, Thomas, Maybin, Sapp, and McIntyre? Maybe the team looks ahead to the future, and don't want to risk trying to slide Dowtin to the PS, and maybe they cut ties with Thomas, elevate McIntyre, and keep Dowtin on the team? Sapp and McIntyre battle out for the starting role, Maybin plays in his specialist role and in passing situations. The OLB position will be a real battle this pre-season.
- ILB is another area where the Jets have talent. How many players do they keep, Harris, Scott, Davis, Bellore? What about Mauga? Do they keep 5 ILB's? Is there a battle between Mauga and Bellore? I got to think Harris, Scott, and Davis are definites, Mauga and Bellore battle for the final spot. If the Jets keep 5 OLB's, McIntyre is a player that can probably play inside, if Dowtin makes the team, he has versatility to play inside. The LB position is a fascinating position to watch this pre-season, a lot of competition there. I know Scott didn't look very good covering a RB out of the flat, to me that is a role that Scott is not going to have into the regular season.
- Safety I think we're going to love the overhaul at safety. Looks like Smith will be alright, I know some want to see the Jets move on from Smith, but I don't think fans realize how valuable Smith is, in rotation as the #3 safety, and especially on ST's, he's far too valuable. Then we got the kids Allen and Bush, the Jets could keep 5 safeties on the roster this year, the last 3 years, they've only kept 4 players. The goal line stand where we held the Bengals to a FG, that was a big possession, I thought our safeties came up big, all 3. Landry made a nice play on 3rd down to force a throw to the back of the EZ by Dalton, his speed really showed on that play.
- CB After Revis and Cro, to me, it's Wilson, Lankster, and Posey at CB. Trufant had a brutal night, and no other player stood out at CB. Steed could be a PS candidate, Fletcher might have potential, but I didn't see much from him tonight, Jets secondary is loaded. If I had to guess, they will keep 10, 5 CB, and 5 S's. Revis, Cro, Wilson, Lankster, Posey, Landry, Bell, Smith, Allen, and Bush.
The kicker competition is another battle that not many are talking about, both Brown and Folk look good, and it's been a real tight race in camp. Folk has had almost a perfect camp, but Brown is said to have a slightly bigger leg, it's a bigger competition that nobody is talking about.
Overall, a so-so performance, defense looked strong, offense had its moments, but OL play was shaky, as players return from injury and back into rotation, I think things will settle down, but like the WR position, it seems WR and OL, especially OT, are positions where we could see Tannenbaum make a move. It's a new offense, we should expect some of the issues on offense, especially with OL out of sync, and players missing at the WR position.
Best part of the nigth, no injuries, and on a night where it seemed the Bengals lost 3 key players, and there have already been a lot of injuries throughout the league on the opening week of the pre-season, Jets came away unscathed!