Game Balls: Script Flipped
Daniel Marcus , theJetsBlog.com
Oh yeah, Game Balls is back with a vengeance. Yesterday’s game was one of the sweetest sights these eyes have ever seen, vintage New York Jets football, pounding the ball on the ground and playing more than good but less than great defense. Yes, ok it was against a team in rebuilding mode with a rookie quarterback but it was an impressive wins that gets this Jets team back to .500 and back in first place in the AFC East courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks. Without further ado, lets paint em’ up:
Umm, where was this all season? This is what Jets fans everywhere envisioned when Rex said that they would get back to their “Ground and Pound” roots, well ground and pound is what Shonne Greene did yesterday, racking up 161 yards on 32 carries with three touchdowns with an average of 5.0 YPC. He remains an enigma to me but consistency will be the key for Greene in trying to establish himself as a “feature back” capable of carrying the load like he did yesterday. Whether we can expect the same production on a week-by-week basis remains to be seen but let’s take this one game at a time and give Shonn his first Game Ball of 2012.
The Offensive Line:
With the running game it all starts up front and the Jets offensive looked dominant for the first time in a long time, sure part of that is the caliber of the opposing unit but it looks like the line is finally beginning to gel. There were running lanes a plenty for the Jets backs yesterday and they were actually able to as Rex put it “pop some” big runs, culminating with Joe McKnight’s 61 yard rumble that set up another Shonn Greene touchdown. Hopefully the big men up front get some steak dinners to go with their Game Balls this week.
Admittedly this could be a weekly post series in and of itself but Antonio Cromartie has been the Jets’ Swiss Army Knife, contributing in all three phases. However, every game it seems that we hear from “Good Cro” and “Bad Cro”, “Good Cro” has stepped up his game in a big way in the absence of Darrelle Revis, holding Reggie Wayne him to three catches for 32 yards when matched up on him. He also had a couple of pick sixes that were called back on penalties but “Good Cro” gets himself a Game Ball today.
He devised a great game plan that was executed to a “T,” the return of key weapons, Stephen Hill and Dustin Keller had to have helped Sparano get back to running the ball effectively. There were a number of wrinkles that the offense debuted yesterday, including the “Full House” set, which proved to be particularly effective. However, the call of the game came in the second quarter when the Jets had a crucial 3rd and 1 from the Indianapolis eight-yard line. Sparano had Sanchez in the huddle initially and when he got the personnel he wanted, pulled Sanchez out of the huddle in favor of Tim Tebow who came out in the spread and rushed up the middle for a first down. I would love to see more of the same next week so let’s hope this Game Ball provides incentive.
The best special teams coach in the land, showed why he was earned that title in how he has used Tim Tebow. It is obvious that the much-lauded quarterback is most valuable on Special Teams and proved it yesterday when he connected with linebacker, Nick Bellore on a fake punt pass, which netted 23 yards and set up a Mark Sanchez touchdown pass. I’m sure if he were asked, Westhoff would suggest “I go open a pizza shop in the Bronx and leave him alone” but I’ll give him a Game Ball anyway.
*Honorable mention goes to the rooks: Antonio Allen, DeMario Davis, and Josh Bush.
Take A Lap!:
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people that tries to find negatives in a win but there were a few things that need to be cleaned up, no game is perfect.
Ah, yes, “Bad Cro” did show up yesterday as he was flagged three separate times yesterday including, a pass interference call that negated his own pick six. Cromartie is immensely talented and athletically gifted and sometimes has a tendency to rely to much on those gifts and get sloppy with technique. “Bad Cro” go ahead and take a lap, and tell “Good Cro” I said “what’s up.”
The Defensive Line:
This unit still can’t seem to muster what would be considered a conventional pass-rush, getting consistently handled on passing downs. They were improved this week, especially in the running game but the line gets to do some extra running for dumb penalties and I’m looking specifically at former high school teammates, Quinton Coples and Mo Wilkerson. Wilkerson was flagged for a dumb roughing the passer penalty and Coples had an unnecessary face mask while pursuing Andrew Luck.
He didn’t really do anything wrong, but hopscotch? Come on man! Go back to the drawing board on that one new guy.
*If there’s anyone you think I missed sound off in the comments section.