Game Notes: Preseason Week 1 – Jets at Lions

Jets Lions Football

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Here’s some quick thoughts about the Jets 17-26 loss to the Lions in Detroit.

General Impressions

Offensive Playcalling — One has to like the potential you can already see in Mornhinweg as the coordinator. He has an ability to scheme players open that the Jets just flat out did not have last year. Mixed bag overall by the offense, but I liked what I saw from Mornhinweg’s playcalling and his ability to flood the zone to get players open. Some might not like the way the first half ended, but discretion is the better part of valor in the preseason. All the quarterbacks had QB ratings in the 90s and Geno and Sanchez’s completion percentage were eye-poppers for any Jets QB over the last five years.

Injury Worries — There were a few injury scares during the course of the game. Backup OL Dennis Landolt has a knee injury of some sort, John Griffin had a bad looking “lower leg” injury and even Geno Smith hit the trainers table with an ankle injury. McElroy was bounced around pretty good on a few plays, likely he’ll be bruised but OK.

Sloppy Joes — There were a lot of penalties (I counted eleven?) which created some self-inflicted wounds over the course of the game, but definitely too many among the first-teamers. There were some bad defensive communication breakdowns among the second team secondary – which to be fair historically always seems to be the case in the preseason. The Jets have a lot to clean up in the next month for a team that might not have a large margin for error in the difference between wins and losses.

Five Wide — I didn’t catch who the players were, but the Jets showed a play early on where they have five, count ‘em FIVE down defensive linemen. That is certainly notable and I feel like Mangini might have used that some, but that might be a fun wrinkle for the defense this year. Overall, I liked what I saw from the defensive line, led by Wilkerson and Coples who both had sacks in the course of the game. I really liked the first team defense outside that one long catch by Calvin Johnson. The pressure from the front seven really helped the back four play well without Darrelle Revis.

Player Impressions

Oday Aboushi — Rough game for the backup rookie tackle. Aboushi had three costly penalties, one false start in what I believe was his first play that effectively stalled one of Geno’s early drives before it even started.

Braylon Edwards — For a guy who has been on a snap count during most of camp, Braylon Edwards (2 receptions for 28 yards) saw a lot of time on the field during the course of the game. Not sure why they played him so much, but the Jets must have a reason and want to get him to get as many reps as they did to get him ready for the season.

Clyde Gates — Gates caught three receptions for 39 yards but looked comfortable on the field. All indications are he’s putting it together and he can thrive in a Mornhinweg offense … stay tuned.

John Griffin — And that is why horsecollar tackles are not allowed anymore. We will wait until Rex says it, but that might have been a season-ender. Griffin has had a great training camp, but his high ankle sprain last year and what Rex called a “fracture” last night might keep him from making the team. It’s a shame that the team’s hidden gem at a spot where they are already plagued with problems might not be able to help the Jets this fall.

Stephen Hill — I’ll be interested in seeing Bent’s breakdown of his play, but Hill didn’t stand out to me much either way. I’ll need to review his snaps to get a better sense.

Jeremy Kerley — Kerley had two catches for thiry yards and looked smooth during his time in the first half. Kerley is getting more comfortable in the NFL and he is demonstrating his ability to be the starter for this team, something we were very comfortable with as far back as October.

Dee Milliner — Milliner had a few good plays in coverage during the course of his time on the field but like any rookie consistency will be the key to how he plays as a rookie.

Jeff Cumberland, Kellen WinslowCumberland/Winslow — Winslow looked good as a route-runner for the Jets and if he can stay healthy, they might not miss Dustin Keller all that much. Winslow and Cumby look to be a good pairing and they combined for three catches, 56 yards and a touchdown (Cumby).

Jaiquawn Jarrett — Rex praised his play saying that “it was obvious where his play stood out to me” and started the presser by saying that the Jets are going to let Jarrett start next week as a result of the ongoing competition at the safety spot. Nice game by JJ and he has a real chance of being named the team’s starter for the season … amazing to think based on his getting run out of Philly a year ago.

Greg McElroy — He had a fumble and was rocked by some bad protections ahead of him, but he fared about as well as you would expect given the circumstances. McElroy understands the offense and has a good command of it, but like it or not his physical skills leave something to be desired, which is why he’s not been allowed to truly compete for the full-time starting job.

Ben Obomanu — The former Seahawk saw a lot of time during the course of a game in which the Jets were trying their best to not run the ball. Ben-O ended up leading the team in yards (4 receptions for 59 yards) and Rex praised him during his press conference. He’s somewhere in the middle on this roster, with potential to get squeezed …. or to squeeze others … so it will be interesting to see how he plays the rest of the preseason.

Zach Rogers — Rogers had a nice touchdown from McElroy and he had a few other nice plays, but many might remember the grossly under thrown football from McElroy. Otherwise Rogers represented himself well.

Geno Smith

Mark Sanchez — A head-scratcher from Mark Sanchez. He threw that mind-boggling pick-six right at the start of the game, but you have to credit how he played after that by going 10/13 for 125 yards and a touchdown. Sanchez is erratic, but he seems to be much better suited to this Mornhinweg offense and despite the pick and the boneheaded almost pick, he actually played decently. His touchdown throw was crisp on a very nice route by Cumberland.

Geno Smith — It’s an ankle injury and Rex was coy about the injury to Geno’s ankle. If Geno can’t get on the field this week that might impact his ability to start the next game for the Jets … at least they have about a week until the next game. On the whole, Geno didn’t seem to provide a spark for this team, but then again he wasn’t throwing maddening picks either. Only saw 14 plays and got to throw the ball 7 times with 6 completions for 47 yards.

Ryan Spadola — Spadola saw some time with the first team yet only saw one catch on the night for ten yards. The Jets obviously like him to have put him on the field as often as they have, as early as they have. Pay attention to him in the coming preseason games.

Kyle Wilson — From what I could see, Wilson played well in coverage, knocking away at least one pass and using the boundaries to defend some potential catches. That playcall on that one long blitz was bizarre, but Ryan has a history of doing that with his slot/safety players … but that’s tough to pull off in the regular season.

Best Player Postgame Tweet

Best Animated GIF of the Game
This one comes from longtime Jets fan and SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Just be glad the preseason started off like this, instead of the regular season.