The New York Jets came away with another victory to increase their preseason record to 2-0, but the beginning of the game was lack-luster. Andy Dalton completed all eight of his passes and led the Bengals to a pair of touchdowns and a field goal during three impressive series Saturday night before the New York Jets’ backups rallied for a 25-17 preseason victory. The Jets got their revenge with the victory, but defensive breakdowns in the secondary was their demise.
Some quick take-a-ways from the game:
1. Stephen Hill needs to catch the football! It’s been a problem that’s been plaguing him since he entered the league. In the opening quarter when Stephen was coming across the middle he caught the football (temporarily) and then took a hard hit he dropped the ball. Was that a hard hit? Of course it was! But this is the N-F-L in this league you’ve got to catch those balls, you’re going to get hit regardless over the middle, might as well catch the pigskin. With Eric Decker out, this was Stephen Hill’s chance to shine, to take advantage of the opportunity with the ones. Like we’ve said a million times when evaluating Stephen, he is a physical freak he has everything you look for in an NFL wide receiver prospect: size, speed, and athleticism to spare. The problem is he shows frustrating flashes of brilliance and then follows those flashes with bone-headed and drive-killing drops. Later in the game he pulled down a beautiful catch on 3rd and long to keep the drive alive. It’s ultimately consistency that is keeping Stephen Hill from getting to the next level. There is still time to seize this opportunity, but to be honest the leash isn’t very long, Idzik has no connection to Hill. He would have no problem cutting loose, Stephen better realize that quickly.
2. Speaking of players Idzik has no affiliation to we come to the curious case of Kyle Wilson. On paper last year he was ranked as one of the top slot corners in the league. Yet when again gifted the opportunity to shine and show everybody why he was a first round pick. He fell on his face and allowed a 43 yard td to go over his head. Though in the post-game press conference, Rex claimed it was a defensive breakdown, not Kyle getting beat. Regardless, Kyle has failed to step up over the summer to claim one of the starting positions available in the secondary. Jets fans all around have been calling for his head for some time now. But with his lack-luster play lately…the calls for his job are only going to get louder.
3. Antonio Allen…is still a work in progress. What’d you expect from a former safety learning a new position on the fly? It’s not the ideal situation, but with the aforementioned rash of injuries he’s going to have to continue to learn on the fly. Of course his first match-up as a starting corner was against one of the top receivers in the game. So there is going to be some growing pains for sure. We saw AJ Green constantly matched up with double A with positive results for Dalton & Crue. Definitely will be something to watch as we play for the Met-life Bowl this Friday vs. the New York Giants.
4. Let’s get to some of the positives from the game, with all the problems our reserves were still able to rally us to our 2nd preseason victory. Also another name to keep our eye on as we get into the season is Bilal Powell. Often is mentioned last by analysts around the league when discussing the New York Jets backfield. But after that electrifying performance maybe he’ll start to get a little more love. He’s always been a guy I’ve really enjoyed. One of my favorite plays of the game was Geno had no one else open dumps it off to Bilal & he makes 5 guys miss and hustles for every yard. That is the sort of heart we want to see out of our guys! Last season when he was forced to start due to injuries to the rest of the backfield he really stepped up his game. So much so that he led the AFC in rushing while he started, then was pushed to the way-side once Ivory came back from injury. He’ll again be a key 3rd down change of pace do-it-all kind of back for us this season. Another quick-note Ivory was a late scratch to the game so we weren’t able to witness the 3-headed rushing attack as expected, but the combination of CJ2K & Powell looked great they complemented each other very well.
5. Finally I will address the elephant in the room…the most important position that will either make or break this New York Jets football team this season…of course I’m talking about the quarterback Geno Smith. In my preseason preview of last week’s game, I said lets see if Geno can deliver a TD drive. Well he didn’t do it on the first drive as I’d hoped. But something he had tonight that he didn’t really have all last season, was of course time in the pocket. And when given time, he was in a rhythm hitting guys in stride and he was looking very comfortable. Utilizing his scrambling ability when plays broke down or no one was open it was extremely pleasing to see. The lone interception of the game seemed to be nothing more than a miscommunication between receiver & quarterback which definitely can be corrected. In other words, Geno looked sharp and it was good to see.
6. Something that was bittersweet was our passion. I love the passion, but it has to be used appropriately too many times we had fights ad penalties that really cost our offense. We need to correct that before the season. Maybe it can be attributed more to the chippy-ness of the matchup and how both teams were talking it up. But we just need to be able to control ourselves, I love seeing our guys stick up for each other and again I love the passion we just have to be smart.
7. Calvin Pryor as expected, got plenty of PT in his first preseason action and he impressed and showed us why he was the 18th overall pick out of Louisville. He was flying to the football, showing no signs of holding back coming post-concussion. He made a lot of nice plays and plenty of hard hits which was great to see.
8. In conclusion, something the Jets will be looking to improve this season that is at the top of the priority list is, turnovers on both sides of the ball. Offensively they want to really cut down on that number, they put their defense in a lot of bad positions last season. But an even stronger emphasis on the defensive side of the ball, as the New York Jets only had 13 interceptions and two fumble recoveries. They ranked second-to-last in the NFL in turnovers gained. Houston had 11. For the New York Jets to be successful this season we will have to see that number increase by a significant margin. After 2 weeks of preseason the undefeated New York Jets will play the undefeated New York Giants in the annual Met-Life Bowl for the prized snoopy-dog trophy this Friday night!