Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comSaturday night the Jets faced a strong opponent in the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jets made do without their top three cornerbacks (Milliner, Patterson & Dex McDougle) from the start of training camp, in addition to RB Chris Ivory, WR Eric Decker and TE Jeff Cumberland. Here’s some thoughts that occurred to me during the Jets 25-17 preseason victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
The sky is not falling — Every year after the first week of regular season, pundits from national media outlets make sweeping generalizations about what they saw in the first week of football and make stupid predictions that turn out to be utter garbage by the time Week 17 rolls around. The point? We’re not even that far into the season so decreeing that the Jets are this or they aren’t that is hollow.
It was just that kind of a night — Is there a weird special rivalry between the Jets and Bengals that I am unaware of? Does it date back to their deathlock with each other during the final game and first postseason game of the 2009 season? Not even that far? Ryan might want them to play tough, but I’ve never considered the Jets chippy. Whatever it was, the Jets let the personal fouls and on-the-field lapses get too much. They’ve got to dial that back in successive weeks unless they are looking to shoot themselves in the foot.
Ugly, but not THAT ugly — When the Bengals and Jets first team were in the game, it wasn’t pretty. The defense allowed Andy Dalton to have a perfect 8-8 night and the Jets offense struggled to get the ball moving until the Bengals put in their second teamers. But this isn’t the whole story. The Jets played a very base defense, there were miscommunications with new personnel and they left their corners to dangle early and often. No, they didn’t play well against the Bengals starters. But no, Rex Ryan didn’t do much to help disguise the intent of his playcalling, as one does in the preseason. I fully believe that was part of the plan so Rex could calibrate how to call his secondary going forward. Every year there seem to be preseason questions about this defense and every year they seem to come through OK.
If the Jets game tonight taught me anything, it is that pairing Dee Milliner and Calvin Pryor could be lethal. The caveat here is that the Jets will need both of those young players on the field and healthy. But once Milliner is healthy I fully believe the Jets will be fine on defense.
On the other side of the ball? Geno demonstrated competence despite the miscommunication with David Nelson, which resulted in an interception. Vick ran the backups effectively. While the secondary needs to get healthy, the depth of this team compared to last year is astounding.
Tinder account or not, New York is about to fall in love with Calvin Pryor — All offseason Rex Ryan has been grinning and saying that when his rookie takes the field in pads, people will understand the value he brings to the team. Tonight was that night. Seven tackles and two passes defensed were good, but it was Pryor’s two highlight reel plays that made me take notice. Pryor’s first was a forced fumble after a Cobi Hamilton catch. The second was a tackle for loss of running back Rex Burkhead. Deep in the game, Ryan also used Pryor extensively on inside and outside blitzes. Pryor didn’t land a sack, but Rex is still figuring out where and when to use him as a blitzer and we don’t expect it will be long before Pryor notches his first sack.
No dropoff in Chris Johnson’s game — I thought that Johnson had a very good night, rushing and receiving well against a good defense. Johnson will be the straw that stirs the drink for this offense and his ability to provide help as a checkdown option and some special plays on the perimeter are really going to help this team. Between him, Ivory, Powell and the legs of whichever quarterback plays, the Jets are going to have a four dimensional running attack.