Preseason BGA: Bollinger Bowl – Part One (Offense)

Eagles Jets Football

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

Welcome to Bent’s Game Analysis, which 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 the third consecutive win for the dysfunctional circus that is the Jets over the Eagles, with detailed analysis of the offensive players. Join me after the jump as I attempt to cover every angle.

This week’s BGA is going to be two parts, so I’ll be back with the defensive analysis later. For now we’re focusing on the offense. Typically, news of the final cuts gradually starts to leak out early on the Friday following the Bollinger Bowl, so we’re getting BGA up super-early this week, although by the time you read this, news may already have broken.

Before we even get into the player analysis from last night, I want to talk about the Ballad of Jason Nerys. Nerys was a Jets lineman several years ago who had spent a couple of years with the team, representing them in Europe. After a solid camp in 2005, the Jets announced their final cuts and Nerys was not among them. Following a couple of heartfelt interviews about how it was his dream come true and how hard he’d worked to get there, Nerys found himself back on the street when the Jets made a couple of waiver claims a few days later.

He never played in an NFL game.

So, when the cuts are announced and X, Y and Z have scraped their way onto the final 53, bear in mind that approximately 700 players will be released on Friday and Saturday (including some big name cap casualties) and the Jets will almost certainly consider some of them to be upgrades over the last few guys on the roster. Nobody can say they have “made the team” until opening day arrives.

With that sobering thought out of the way, let’s consider whether anyone last night played well enough to have their heart broken in similar fashion on Sunday or Monday.

Quarterbacks

Matt Simms, Brandon GrahamNo matter how Matt Simms performed, it wasn’t going to be easy to assess his performance playing with and against backups (for the most part). With that said, he put up terrific numbers that could have been even better if not for some dropped passes.

Simms once again showed off his tremendous arm and made some first downs with his legs too. He got away with two bad mistakes that were almost interceptions, but you can’t argue with a 75% completion rate on 44 attempts and he was hitting people in stride downfield all night, while also being efficient in the short passing game. Inevitably some will suggest that he should be starting, but – much like we saw with Greg McElroy last year – he might not quite be ready to face a bona fide NFL pass rush yet. Simms was sacked seven times and fumbled twice and there were one or two protections that were screwed up, which might be down to him.

I can’t imagine they’ll cut him loose after this performance though.

Graham Harrell came in to take a knee on his only snap.

With Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy not playing due to injury/over-cautiousness the whole quarterback competition (for the starting and number three roles) was in a weird state of flux. Let’s not forget that McElroy played pretty well in his only appearance this preseason, entering the game earlier than was anticipated against the Lions due to Smith’s injury. However, his inability to stay on the field does not bode well for his roster chances, especially with Simms having made so much of his opportunity.

Offensive Line

The only projected starter on offense to suit up for this game, you’d hope that Vladimir Ducasse would stand out above all the backups. Sure enough, that was what happened as he looked as dominating as I think I’ve ever seen him in the running game. He was pretty good in pass protection too although his man did get past him on a stunt on one play and he allowed his man to get upfield on him, although he recovered. I don’t think we should expect Ducasse to be error-free very often, but if he makes a positive impact in the running game, that should make up for any mistakes. Interestingly, they worked him at right guard even though he’s projected to start at left guard. I think that has more to do with Brian Winters, who the Jets have used exclusively as a left guard. This was also the first time they’ve had a chance to play together, which is important because that might be the guard combination in the event of a Willie Colon injury. Will Campbell took over from Ducasse early in the second quarter.

Rookie Oday Aboushi played the entire game at right tackle. He struggled once again, giving up five pressures and making several mistakes as a run blocker. Much like Robert T. Griffin last year, I don’t think he’s likely to end up on the 53. Aboushi did have a couple of good moments, driving his man on one of the touchdowns and turning his man back to the inside on a stretch play to the outside. There is promise there, but he gets beaten too often to be a viable backup option.

The Jets looked to have addressed their tackle depth last week when they brought back Jason Smith, who did a solid job as the jumbo tight end last year on approximately 15 snaps per game. However, Smith had a disastrous performance. He gave up three sacks, two of which led to fumbles, despite only playing the first half. A couple of times he seemed to be confused about who he was supposed to be blocking and ended up blocking nobody, so maybe we can attribute some of his struggles to the fact he hasn’t had long enough to learn the playbook, but it was not pretty. As a run blocker, he did have a couple of good plays and he only got beaten for a pressure one other time, but I think tackle is probably the most likely position that the Jets will look for a waiver claim.

At left guard, Winters played deep into the second half. He showed more promise than last week, with some good surging run blocks, but he missed too many blocks in space and didn’t always sustain. As a pass blocker, he really struggled again, giving up two sacks and a handful of pressures. If he really is the next man up at guard, the Jets offensive line depth is really worrisome and maybe the Jets would instead consider re-signing Peterman after week one when his salary will no longer be guaranteed for the whole year.

The backup position at center is no more settled really. Caleb Schlauderaff started, but I still think he’s more comfortable at guard. Erik Cook moved to center in the fourth quarter with Schlauderaff reverting to left guard. Schlauderaff allowed a couple of pressures and was beaten badly once in the running game, but did have some positive run blocks, aggressively turning his man and throwing him to the ground on the first touchdown. Probably his worst play saw him make a low snap and then get beaten, eventually getting away with a hold.

Cooks fared okay in his fourth quarter action, avoiding any mistakes and driving his man out of the play on one run.

JB Shugarts took over for Smith in the second half and didn’t play particularly well, but was an upgrade over Smith. He got beaten for two pressures and on one running play that was stuffed.

Finally, Campbell was beaten for a sack (overturned by face mask penalty), a hit and three pressures and struggled to deal with some bullrushes. However, he did have a couple of nice moments in the running game, pulling to lead the way on fourth and short and turning his man to the outside on a run that went for six. There is promise in him too, but again I can’t see a spot for him on the final roster. He’s just too raw right now, which for a converted defensive lineman, is probably not unexpected. That draft pick is still a bit of a head-scratcher.

Running Backs

Kahlil BellUsually when a player is suspended at the start of the season, they get plenty of reps in the last preseason game, in order that they are not too far removed from game action when they re-join the team. This was especially true for Mike Goodson, who, entering the last game, obviously had no game action with the Jets since signing with them. Therefore, it was mildly surprising that they didn’t get him to suit up for this one.

Instead, they split the playing time between Kahlil Bell and Mossis Madu. Bell carried 21 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns and also made a spectacular low grab for a 10 yard gain. He made some nice cuts and ran with some power, but struggled badly in pass protection, giving up a sack for a safety and two other pressures. Madu, on the other hand, ran nine times for 33 yards and gained another 34 yards on six catches. He had some tough running and showed some good burst.

Fullback Tommy Bohanon was given the night off, so tight end Konrad Reuland got most of the reps at fullback.

Receivers

Despite Simms’ productive night, many of the receivers made mistakes that will hurt their chances of being on the final roster.

Helping his case was Michael Campbell, who ended up with five catches for 90 yards including a couple of low diving grabs and a play where he broke free from a couple of tacklers to gain a bunch of extra yards after the catch and pick up 41. However, one downfield throw was off his hands as he adjusted to the flight of the ball while he turned back for it and he was lucky not to be hit with an offensive pass interference call.

Ryan Spadola, Jordan PoyerRyan Spadola finished up with six catches although five of them were short grabs. He did make a nice juggling catch downfield and showed shades of Wayne Chrebet when he stretched for the marker to convert on a short pass. However, he had one high pass go off his fingertips and did lose a fumble. He also missed a cut block in the running game, allowing his man to blow up the play. He’ll hope those mistakes are not enough to drop him out of contention for a spot.

Zach Rogers caught four passes, but he also let himself down as one pass went right through his hands. He also missed one key block, although on one Simms scramble he did block out a potential tackler though. His technique on that particular play was a bit unconventional – he basically backed into him – but it did the job.

Finally, Ben Obomanu had three catches including a nice grab down the seam, but also had two drops and a missed block. Both drops were tough – one was low and the other was wide – but he’ll feel he should have made those.

Konrad Reuland, Emmanuel AchoReuland caught six passes, but he also let one go through his hands and lost a fumble. As a blocker, he made some mistakes too. I tend to find that he blocks better from the fullback position than he does as an inline tight end. Chris Pantale backed him up and had a couple of short catches including one on fourth down. He is a little raw as a blocker too, though.

Part two will cover the defense. We’ll be posting this early tomorrow morning.