BGA: Revamped offense off to a modest start

This analysis is based on watching and re-watching TV footage. As such, it is not always possible to accurately determine everything that was going on. However, every effort has been made to ensure that the information below is as complete and correct as possible.

BGA is back…and this time it’s preseasonal (again)!

Coming up, part one your breakdown of last night’s 13-10 win over the Colts with detailed analysis of the quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends and receivers.

Join me after the jump as I attempt to cover every angle. It’s good to be back!

As we did last year, we’re splitting this week’s BGA into four. That’s because the first BGA of preseason is typically the longest of the year because it’s the first look we get at certain players and any new schemes. First of all, we look at the skill positions. And, yes, I know “Skill Positions” is often frowned upon as a description for QBs, RBs, TEs and WRs, but I don’t like “Ball Handlers” because it makes it sound like I’m analyzing a bunch of point guards. Let’s get to the good stuff…

Quarterbacks

Our first look at the supposedly new-and-improved Geno Smith didn’t really tell us that much about how he’s going to fare when the missiles start flying for real. Four routine completions and two plays where he basically got rid of the ball to avoid being hit was all we saw from him. He did have one other completion on a play that was blown dead but nobody heard the whistle. That might even have been his best throw of the night, although at the same time it was the only throw where he looked like he locked onto his first target rather than going through progressions.

In his first game as a Jet, Michael Vick just had three short completions, but did show some wheels on a 15-yard scramble. While it took a couple of penalties and a fourth-down conversion in a situation where they would have settled for a field goal in a regular season game, he seemed in control in leading an 80-yard drive for the Jets’ only touchdown.

On two of his three incompletions, the ball was off the intended receiver’s hands. One of these was an inaccurate throw to Chris Ivory in the flat, although I’m not sure I’d blame Vick because Ivory got re-routed on his way out there and flattened out his route so he wasn’t ideally positioned for Vick to be able to drop the ball in front of him.

Let’s take a look at one play, the third down scramble where Vick came up short of a first down (although he converted with a pass to Tommy Bohanon in the flat on the next play.)

Here you can see the moment at which the protection breaks down and Vick makes the decision to take off. Nobody is open. The Vick of old might have been able to get to the marker or even score on this play, but at 34-years old Vick has surely lost a step, even though he is still extremely fast, especially for a quarterback.

One Vick commits the defender currently on the three yard line in the above image, Jeff Cumberland is going to be open. Could Vick has slammed on the brakes here and lofted the ball to him for an easy touchdown? Or, better still rolled out wider to the left and then thrown it to him on the run, which would have meant it was less likely he got nailed from behind by Bjorn Werner?

It’s too late by this stage, but at this image shows that likely would have worked. It seems unfair to criticize a 34-year old for not making a split-decision read like this at full speed, but it was always unlikely he was going to make it with his legs, so rather than taking what he could, perhaps the higher percentage play here was to draw the defense and look for that throw. Then you could just pull the ball back in and eat it if the defender reacted so that the receiver wasn’t open after all. While in the context of this game he got close enough that they opted to go for it and were successful, in a regular season game, those five yards wouldn’t have made any difference to what presumably would have been a chip-shot field goal. If anything, what I’m saying here is that Vick needs to understand his own limitations but use the threat of running to open up other options.

As for Cumberland, he showed good instincts here to leak to the open spot, but maybe if he sensed Vick was going to take off, he could have instead thrown a block and that would have given Vick a chance to make it. It’s easy in hindsight, but hopefully we will see the players get used to each other as the preseason progresses.

Matt Simms didn’t get any reps in last year’s preseason opener, which is a good sign of how far he’s come. He played a game devoid of any major mistakes, avoided pressure well, completed a high percentage of his (albeit mostly short) passes and hit a couple of open receivers with good throws. He made one inaccurate throw under pressure and had a bad option read on what looked like a busted play, but otherwise did just enough to get the Jets into range for the game-winning kick. With Tajh Boyd not getting into the game, it seems like Simms is in pole position for the third quarterback job. That’s if such a job exists, of course.

Overall, the offense didn’t look as high-octane and some of the preseason hype might have led you to believe it would, but then again, the Jets really didn’t even look to go downfield much. Maybe we’ll see them at least try to go up the gears next week.

At least nobody threw a pick-six to a defensive lineman. Yet.

Running Backs

The running game was not very productive at all last night. Alex Green had the longest run of the day (20 yards) on a misdirection pitch where he was untouched down the left side. Other than that, Green had just nine yards on six carries. Chris Johnson got into the end zone, but only gained one yard on three carries other than that. Chris Ivory barely fared much better, with just 17 yards on seven carries, making Daryl Richardson’s 3.0 yards per carry average look almost Walter Payton-esque by comparison – and Richardson committed the ultimate crime of fumbling the ball as he battled for extra yardage, even though he recovered it himself.

It’s not uncommon for the Jets’ running game to not do much in preseason though. They had some different looks, but mostly just ran straight up the middle, especially on first down. With the starting line in there, they ran seven times on first down, with one of those being Smith’s 10-yard keeper. Of the six runs by running backs on first down, the only one that didn’t go between the tackles was the one where Ivory bounced it outside and drew a facemask penalty. That one was of course originally designed to go inside too. Those six runs gained just 10 yards (not including the penalty yardage tacked onto the end of Ivory’s run).

In the passing game, Johnson had a couple of catches including a nicely timed swing pass. However, he and Ivory each had one go off their hands. Green had one catch for no gain. Each of the fullbacks, Bohanon and Chad Young, had a first down conversion on a catch in the flat, although Young’s – which set up the winning kick – was bobbled, Jumbo Elliott-style.

In terms of blitz pickups, there were some mixed results. Ivory had a good pickup and Green had a couple of good pickups, although he was late reacting on a third. Richardson struggled though, missing his block on a play where Simms ended up being sacked and then getting rocked back and called for holding.

The blocking from the fullbacks was actually pretty good. Bohanon had a couple of good lead blocks and Young did too, including an excellent one where he met his man in the hole and drove him out of the play. Young was also aggressive in throwing a chip on the edge, after which he was actually wide open, but not seen by Simms. He did get rocked back once in pass protection though and the runner did run into him and get stuffed at least once. I’m looking forward to seeing this battle develop, although I assume Young is a long-shot right now.

Bilal Powell and Michael Smith did not play and Ivory left early with a rib issue.

Stay tuned for part two, because in our review of the offensive line, there will be a look at one play that shows how while the running game isn’t quite in sync yet, they might not be that far off.

Receivers

It’s not easy to get much of a read on the receivers when the Jets weren’t throwing downfield much. It was good to see Smith connect with Eric Decker, whose route running looked sharp, a couple of times. However, I believe Decker was flagged for offensive pass interference due to a push-off on that play that had already been blown dead. He’s a very physical route runner and that might be something to watch for now that the officials will be looking at contact between defensive backs and receivers more closely. Decker did have one play as a blocker where he let his man get off to make a play on Ivory that prevented a possible big gain.

David Nelson got plenty of early reps and made a good cut block on Johnson’s touchdown run. He had one short catch but also missed a block and false started once.

Leading the Jets in receptions and looking sharp doing so was Jacoby Ford. He ran a nice route to get open outside for a first down and showed good hands to catch a high pass for one of his other two catches. He failed to get any separation when they looked for him deep though, as he was outmuscled by the defensive back.

Jeremy Kerley was not targeted and Greg Salas did not play due to a hip issue. Obviously Shaq Evans was out too. Stephen Hill was targeted just once and drew a holding penalty as the pass was off his hands. Quincy Enunwa and Saalim Hakim barely played and Jalen Saunders didn’t see much action either, although he had a two yard gain on a 3rd and 42 dump-off.

Clyde Gates had a couple of catches, one for a first down, and some good downfield blocking but the longest completion of the day was a 22-yarder from Simms to Michael Campbell who ran a good route to get open on the outside, although he was a little hesitant once he caught the ball.

Finally, the tight ends combined for five catches. Jeff Cumberland caught a first down from Smith over the middle, Zach Sudfeld showed good hands on a high snag on one of his two short catches and rookie Jace Amaro had two nice plays, although he was targeted five times and the three he didn’t catch were all possibly catchable, including one where it looked like he saw a hit coming out of the corner of his eye. The two plays he did make showed some promise though. He motioned inside from a wide position, then stopped at the sticks to make a solid third down conversion. That’s hard to cover. The other saw him catch the ball in the flat and turn upfield for a nice 13-yard catch and run.

We’ll talk about the tight ends fared in terms of their blocking in part two.

Part two will look at the offensive line, part three will cover the defensive front seven and part four will cover the secondary and special teams. We’ll be posting these throughout the day.




123 comments
bradysucks
bradysucks

As usual it's up to ME to state the obvious which is that Vick is better than Geno

It was up to me to tell everybody Sanchez stunk and that Hill is not an NFL receiver

Being correct is no fun on this blog because of all the politically correct nonsense and the fact that people think with their hearts instead of their brains...

I think Geno should be Vick's back up and that the Jets should still develop Geno for the future. I think experience counts and Vick has the experience and the better arm. He is also faster

Still waiting for Hill to take off his cloak of invisibility

Peace :)

Matthieu Laughlington
Matthieu Laughlington

I think the QB controversy comes from the fact that based on the body of work which we have seen, Geno simply hasn't looked good.  Now I understand that he didn't have much to work with last year and I'm not saying he doesn't give us the best chance to win. I understand that the coaches who know much more about football than me must see something in him. However with that said, I have still not seen anything to indicate to me that he is going to be a GOOD starter. Often times it looks like he struggles to hit his hot receiver when he hasn't predetermined that he is going to do so. Which is why we're going to continue to see pressure on him (like all young QBs) until he shows that he can make them pay for it. Also his ball placement, his ability to hit receivers in stride isn't very good at this point in the short and intermediate route. To be fair I will say that I love his post and go route passes.


There will be a QB controversy until Geno locks the job down through solid play and at this point that simply hasn't happened yet. 

I do hope Geno silences the critics. 

rstysanchz
rstysanchz

geno was moving the ball pretty good until the refs called that one late false start and until the other play where a blitzer came in untouched and geno threw it at the feet of i think nelson...i think we will know more when we see geno able to play a whole half in 2 weeks 

Gary Levine
Gary Levine

Interesting note about the vick play you screen shotted, at the moment where you said would've been the optimal opportunity to loft the ball to a would-be open Cumberland, he was running with the ball in his right (non-throwing) hand.  Just an interesting thing to note showing that throwing the ball at that position wasn't on Vick's mind at all.  


Besides that not many notes, thought both QBs looked ok (thought Geno looked a tad better), RBs struggled and WR's ran vanilla routes anyway.  I would like to see the Jets open up the offense one pre-season as a sign to come in the season, but it is only game one. 

williamg1
williamg1

No season ending injuries -- which means the game was a success. 

hawkeye
hawkeye

Even NFL.com is running with the Vick led the team to a TD and Geno didn't story.  No mention of him leading the first offense against Indy's second D.  I expect this garbage from Cimini and ESPN, didn't think I have to see it from the league as well.  Are they so desperate for a "QB controversy" they have to create one where it doesn't exist?

Bent
Bent moderator

@Gary Levine Not only that but his inside hand is the wrong technique at that point.  Clearly you want the ball on your outside hand to make it more difficult for the defenders to try and force a fumble.


Well spotted, Gary.

Joe/Orlando
Joe/Orlando

@hawkeye I didn't see a story on NFL.com playing up the "controversy" angle. Can you link the story you're referring to?

gbrownn
gbrownn

"Are they so desperate for a "QB controversy" they have to create one where it doesn't exist?"

Yup!

jetlife
jetlife

@hawkeye It has actually gotten to the point where this website is the only place I will go any type of analysis on the Jets. Even the Daily Links posts mean very little to me.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@gbrownn 

Persecution complex???

When you have a veteran which is at least as good, possibly better, backing up your rookie, it is completely correct to ask why he is not starting....specially when the Vet absolutely performs better !!

You guys must STOP being touchy (wuzzy's) and get rid of that persecution complex !!

Joe/Orlando
Joe/Orlando

@hawkeye @Joe/Orlando Yeah, I read that one. Article seemed pretty even handed to me. Like the last line: 


"At the end of the day, Smith remains the clear-cut favorite to be the Week 1 starter. But Vick played well and got the offense in the end zone. He remains a tempting alternative for the Jets."


Pretty provocative stuff...I'm really not sure what some of you expect news reports about a sports team to read like,

Bent
Bent moderator

@Hanknaples "specially when the Vet absolutely performs better !!"


So...not in this situation then, where the numbers were pretty much the same despite Vick only facing backups.

hawkeye
hawkeye

@Joe/Orlando @hawkeye

I expect my sports reporting to come without the constant unfounded  insinuation that the coach/gm are playing favorites instead of trying to put the best team on the field.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@Bent 

Yeah, OK bent..

I hope the person that 's keeping stats is NOT Honest Rex....the same stats he used to get Sanchez almost killed last preseason because according to HIS stats Geno was performing better....LOL !!!

t__k
t__k

@Bent - Which QB do you think gives the Jets the best chance to win this season?

Joe/Orlando
Joe/Orlando

@hawkeye @Joe/Orlando Erm...haven't we all accepted here that the job is Geno's to lose...? As it should be? That report seemed totally accurate to me.

Bent
Bent moderator

@Hanknaples @Bent


He never said Geno was performing better, just that the decision on the starter had not been made yet.


And the only person who nearly got Mark Sanchez killed last year was Mark Sanchez.  He had 5.3 seconds to get rid of that ball.

Bent
Bent moderator

@t__k @Bent I thought Vick a few months ago, but from what I'm hearing from inside the team, the reports on Geno's improvements are legit and the team does have a lot of confidence in him as the guy.


I'd say a tie goes to the incumbent (since he's younger) and that yesterday's game wasn't a significant enough sample to sway me in either direction.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@Bent @Hanknaples 

Obfuscatin' and not explicatin'...again Bent??

Avoiding the FACT that HONEST Rex made up the  story about Geno outperforming Sanchez to whitewash his dumb mistake of playing his starter in useless garbage time vs. the third stringers???


1969JAN12th
1969JAN12th

@Bent Do you think the cliche about Ability vs Avail-ability plays into the thought process ? When was the last time Vick played a full season?

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

@Bent 

I think Vick is a lot quicker.  He can let rushers come near him because he's got the ability to out accelerate and out maneuver them in close quarters.  Geno looks so uptight out there, a moose with the temperament of a squirrel trying to cross the highway.  Vick seems to know exactly what he's doing at all times, which allows him to dictate the situation.  Geno is all reaction.  There's a decade worth of experience between the two guys, and it really shows.


So, the question is, do we want to be patient with Geno and let him gain the experience required to be the cool operator - at the cost of this season, and perhaps next.  Or do we want to go with Vick and possibly get a short term payout, at the cost of perhaps damaging Geno.

t__k
t__k

@Bent @t__k I saw good and bad from Geno.  I saw him look off his first read and run through his progression, he looked better at maneuvering in the pocket to avoid the rush.  However, the throw to the sideline was bad.  That's a pick 6.  His decision making still worries me.


That being said, I think it's undeniable that Vick adds another element to the offense.  If I have one game to win, I'm going Vick.

BDarc23
BDarc23

@tsjc68 @t__k @Bent Do you really believe that right now Geno Smith is a better QB than Vick?  There is no way. He might be better long term but not right now.

Bent
Bent moderator

@Hanknaples It wasn't a dumb mistake.  


Not giving your QB any reps in the third preseason game would have been a dumb mistake.

t__k
t__k

@Ceifus Hornswoggle @Bent The argument I don't understand is this - If Vick starts, Geno is ruined and we have to start over.  


Why?  Why is it a foregone conclusion that if Vick starts, Geno is done forever?

tsjc68
tsjc68

@t__k @Bent

Neither Geno's nor Vick's sample size from yesterday is instructive enough to really say who played better.

Bent
Bent moderator

@t__k @Bent I think that was a safe throwaway to be honest.


I didn't really see anything on either front outside of slightly below/above average.

tsjc68
tsjc68

I think Vick might be a hair more dynamic but question his durability, and think Geno has progressed as a passer to the point where it's pretty even, and this Geno's propensity for staying in the pocket and attacking with the pass gives us the best chance to win.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@Bent 

Bent...when your backup is playing @ what 45% efficiency?.... and you throw your QB in with the third stringers and you do it because "you want to win the game"...in garbage time in a meaningless game.. IS A DUMB MISTAKE, Bent!!

And please stop apologizing...you're setting a bad example....specially when HONEST Rex now says that his ("He gives us the best chance to win") STARTER had not played better than the backup !!!!

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

@t__k @Ceifus Hornswoggle @Bent 

I'm not saying he's done forever.  But if the long term vision is Geno running this football team, then I think he should be on the field, for better or worse.  Geno seems to practice well, but his problems last year stemmed from the speed of the live game.  If he's going to improve on that, then he's got to be on the field.

So, if we play Vick this year, we've still got to go through the growing pains with Geno at some point.  I don't think this is a win-now roster.  Even with Vick at QB, we're going to have to fight for eight wins.  If that's true - and that's just my opinion - then why not keep Geno on the fire to grow with the team?

SackDance99
SackDance99

@tsjc68 @t__k @Bent Vick did one thing better that I hope Geno starts doing: use his TEs.  I thought that Geno was developing good chemistry with Decker and the offense while he was in was hampered by penalties, while Vick was aided with defensive penalties.  Both played well.

t__k
t__k

@Bent @t__k Really?  I could've sworn a DB was in the flat about 2-3 steps off the WR.  Perhaps it was safe enough, but it didn't make me feel warm and cozy.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Bent @t__k

I think that was a safe throwaway to be honest.


Agreed.


He threw it high and behind Bohanon, away from the defender, right towards the guys standing in front of the bench.  It was either going to be an acrobatic catch by him or an incompletion out of bounds.  It was much lower risk than it appeared at first blush.

Bent
Bent moderator

@Hanknaples  They didn't throw him in with the third stringers.  It was the second unit, with not a single third stringer in the game.  In fact, four of the five ended up on the roster and one started 12 games (and he was the one whose man got to Sanchez...after 5.3 seconds).


The only dumb mistake being made here is anyone buying into the media BS.

Bent
Bent moderator

@BDarc23 @Bent @Hanknaples Yes, that would have made more sense, but they obviously felt Geno needed more reps because of the time he'd missed.


Not giving Sanchez any reps would have been the dumbest thing I could imagine.  Your possible starter starts week one and hasn't played since over three weeks ago?  (Unless you risk him in the Bollinger Bowl which would be the same situation and just as open to the possibility of him getting hurt and everyone saying why risk him).

t__k
t__k

@Ceifus Hornswoggle @t__k @Bent In short, I think Vick gives us the best chance to win and it limits the growing pains we'll have to go through with Geno.  In my scenario, Vick would start but Geno would still receive experience and reps in practice.  He would sit just like Aaron Rodgers sat.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@t__k @Bent You're right, there was a DB covering Bohanon there in the flat.


He was on the other side of where the ball was thrown, though, he didn't really have a way to reach that ball.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@tsjc68 @Bent @t__k What made it risky at all was TBo trying to catch it.  Not every potential disastrous play is on the QB.  TBo couldn't have done anything with the pass if he had caught it and he was the only one that had a shot.  IMO, anything that could've turned out wrong was on TBo who had the last clear chance to avert disaster.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@Bent @Hanknaples 

"The only dumb mistake being made here is anyone buying into the media BS"

Ok, I'll buy that but,.....

Do you buy into Rexy's BS (Bill of Sale)??

PS. And you're also right he had 5.3 sec to throw.....BUT you omit the fact Sanchez was running for his life for 5 of those seconds !!

Bent
Bent moderator

@Hanknaples


No, I didn't omit that fact...because it's not a fact.