Final Score: Eagles 20 – Jets 27

Matt Simms, Antonio Dixon

The Least You Should Know…

The news that Mark Sanchez might not be ready to play by Week One tried to upstage what happened on the field, but we imagine that NY sports radio will be talking about two things tomorrow: Andre Brown‘s injury and Matt Simms.

The Jets went 3-1 in the preseason and despite all the bumps and whoever was behind center, the team showed a vastly improved ability to execute an offense thanks to Marty Mornhinweg.

While Antonio Allen’s pick-six to put the Jets up 14 points sealed the game, it was the 10 minute drive spanning into the fourth quarter that culminated in a Kahlil Bell touchdown and in which Matt Simms looked like an unflappable veteran that will be the defining moments of the night.

After a plucky performance last week against the Giants, Simms started the game and played competently through all but the game’s last victory formation.  At one point, Simms was 23 for 25 in passes and threw for 285 yards (33/44).  While the son of Phil threw no touchdowns tonight, more importantly he had no interceptions although there were two recoverd fumbles and a safety on a blown play in the shadow of the team’s own goalposts.  Most of the turnovers and mental errors came from the pass-catchers.

Based on his solid game, it is feasible to see Simms get elevated to the third spot on this roster over Greg McElroy.  Simms has the arm and it might be that the game is slowing down for him some — especially against some slow Eagles backups.

While everyone will be talking about Simms, much of the credit has to go to Marty Mornhinweg, who got receivers open and kept the offense easy to read for the backup. Still, it was up to Simms to execute, and that’s exactly what the quarterback did.  It was a good performance by the young quarterback, but one which must be put into the context of playing against a bad Eagles defense, and playing against their worst players among a bad group.  Still, it wasn’t like the Eagles were treating Simms like a charity case either, as evidenced by the pressure they generated in the late second quarter up front against him.

Brian Bassett,

Elsewhere, Kahlil Bell did nothing to hurt his cause to make this roster.  With 21 carries for 80 yards and two scores, Bell re-kindled his earlier preseason performance and demonstrated his right to challenge Mike Goodson for a spot on the roster when the troubled running back returns from his suspension.  Mike Campbell led the team in catches with five for 90 yards, his best play coming on a short catch in which he turned upfield and around the corner to streak 41 yards down the sideline.

Zach Rogers had a bad night at the worst possible time.  He had a bad missed target where I don’t even think he got his head turned around.  Then, late in the fourth quarter, Rogers muffed a punt in the red zone which set up a touchdown to put the the Eagles back within one score with 36 seconds remaining.  Rogers started out the game well, but it went downhill for him in the second half.

DL Leger Douzable (two tackles) continued his excellent summer as did LB Danny Lansanah (two tackles).  Both guys should challenge veterans like DT Antonio Garay and LB Josh Mauga for spots on the final roster.  LB Ricky Sapp had a sack and got some solid pressure over the course of the game, but it was OL Jason Smith’s atrocious first half that had tongues wagging about the Jets decision to keep Jason Smith to while cutting Stephen Peterman earlier in the week to make the 75 man roster. It is kind of warranted, it is fair to say that Smith plays tackle (a premium spot) even if it is true that he does so extremely poorly.

The Jets kick off the season at home, two Sundays from now against Darrelle Revis and the Bucs.  Cuts coming soon and a lot can happen to this team over the next 10 days … stay tuned.