Vrentas: Leftovers from Jets' 17-6 preseason-opening loss to the Bengals
Published: Sunday, August 12, 2012
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Tim Tebow, Tony Sparano's new offense and the recast 2012 Jets team made their preseason debut Friday night in Cincinnati.
There were mixed results up and down the roster in the 17-6 loss to the Bengals.
Here's a few leftovers before the Jets resume their training-camp practice schedule:
Tebow took most of his snaps under center. In 21 snaps in the second and third quarters, Tebow was in the shotgun just twice, according to the play-by-play: On his 14-yard scramble, and on his 6-yard pass to Joe McKnight. He pointed to his work under center as the area where he's improved most since the end of last season.
ďProbably rhythm and my feet from drops from under center," Tebow said.
"The footwork from the drops and still being in balance and rhythm and timing. All that leads to your throw and accuracy and everything.Ē
Quinton Coples was active in his debut, as coach Rex Ryan raved. The first-round pick was on the field in all four quarters and delivered an impressive stat line: Five tackles, one strip sack, two tackles for loss and a batted pass. On Coples' sack, he bulldozed back-up center Reggie Stephens, lined up at left guard, to get to Bengals third-string quarterback Zac Robinson. Most of Coples' production, though, was against the second and third-stringers. He only played five of 17 plays with the first-string defense, by an unofficial count. On one of those plays, he was blocked by LT Andrew Whitworth and allowed BenJarvus Green-Ellis to scamper around the edge for a 12-yard gain. The Jets often used their 3-4 "base," with Muhammad Wilkerson, Mike DeVito and Kenrick Ellis (filling in for Sione Po'uha).
Stephen Hill took the most reps with the first-team offense out of a depleted receiving corps. The second-round pick was on the field for 11 out of 14 snaps with the starting offense. With Santonio Holmes (ribs) and Jeremy Kerley (hamstring) both sidelined, the rest of the playing time was scattershot: Patrick Turner (8 plays with the first team), Chaz Schilens (6) and Jordan White (4).
Hill had two catches for 17 yards, but also a wide-open drop on a pass from Tebow. Hill had come back to the ball and gotten good separation from CB Pacman Jones. He was standing all alone for what would have been about a 10-yard gain on third-and-7, but the ball bounced off of his hands.
"I know he was really excited to make a big play, and make Pacman miss, and he was going to try and take it to the house," Tebow said. "I felt like we had great timing and great rhythm and he ran a great route to get Pacman off. I have 100 percent confidence that he will make that play every other time we go to him.Ē
White didn't finish with any catches but was targeted twice by Sanchez, while Turner accounted for all 21 of Sanchez's passing yards. It was a very quiet night for Schilens, targeted just once on an overthrown long ball by Tebow.
The Jets often used multiple tight ends sets. In 14 plays with the first-team offense, they used two tight ends (Dustin Keller and Jeff Cumberland) seven times and three tight ends (Keller, Cumberland and Josh Baker) once.
Ryan called out Bart Scott, which he rarely does, for giving up an 18-yard completion to Green-Ellis on third down. "Bart gave up a big one there," Ryan said. Scott couldn't keep up with Green-Ellis in coverage, and Ryan called it a "technique issue." Covering backs and tight ends is a hot-button issue after the team's struggles doing so last year. Two plays later, the Jets gave up a 19-yard catch to TE Jermaine Gresham, when it looked like OLB Calvin Pace lost him in coverage.
Safety LaRon Landry, who has been on a "pitch count" after coming off a season-ending Achilles/heel injury, took all but two snaps (15 of 17) with the first-team defense, by an unofficial count. He was out only on two goal-line calls. Landry and Yeremiah Bell were the starting safeties, with Eric Smith also mixing in on sub packages. Since Smith wasn't with the starting group, Ryan said they asked Bell, a nine-year veteran, to lead the communication on the back end.
"Those two guys really havenít had a whole lot of work together, so I wanted to start that game where those guys had to communicate," Ryan said of Landry and Bell. "I thought they did a decent job."
Tebow was in twice as the personal protector on the punt team, not including the blocked punt that the Bengals recovered for a touchdown (a third punt Tebow was in on was nullified by a Cincinnati illegal formation penalty). The Bengals muffed and recovered the first punt, but Tebow was engaged with HB Brian Leonard. "Leonard did a pretty good job trying to hold me up, so I was well-contained on that one," Tebow said.
Tebow said the new role was "pretty easy," save for the fact that he almost missed the first punt because he started to go over and look at the coverage printouts with the rest of the quarterbacks.
"I was like, 'Oh shoot, Iím supposed to be out there,' " Tebow said. "I got out there a few seconds late because that was the first time in my life that I had to be out there for special teams. So, I have to remember that better next time.Ē
There was no Wildcat, and according to Ryan, that's exactly what Bengals coach Marvin Lewis pleaded for the morning before the game. The two are old coaching friends, dating back to their time in Baltimore.
"I know nobodyís worried about the Wildcat; itís real easy to stop," Ryan said sarcastically. "Thatís why I got a call at 7 a.m. the day before we played by Marvin not wanting to see the Wildcat. I guess Iím the only guy who thinks it has a place in the NFL, me and every defensive coach in the league."