- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- We already know the New York Jets like to hold clandestine practices. Maybe, if they petition the NFL, they can do the same for games.
That way, there wouldn’t be anybody in the stadium to see their dreadful offense, and the media wouldn’t be allowed to report the grisly details.
It would save the Jets a lot of embarrassment.
Let’s face it, they’re unwatchable. They dropped to 0-2 with a 26-3 loss to the New York Giants on Saturday night at MetLife Stadium, but forget about the record. The most important number of the preseason is this:
Two games, no touchdowns.
Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez tried to remain positive after yet another sloppy performance under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, but the frustration was visible on the Jets’ sideline.
An animated Shonn Greene slammed his helmet and barked at nearby teammates -- it appeared to be the offensive line -- after they were stoned on back-to-back, short-yardage running plays in the second quarter.
Afterward, Greene said he was just blowing off steam, that his ire wasn’t directed at anyone in particular.
“It wasn’t at the O-line or anything like that,” he said. “I was just frustrated ... If you can’t get (one yard) in this league, something is wrong.”
A lot went wrong for the Jets. In six possessions, the Sanchez-led offense produced only four first downs. They gave away points (an interception returned for a touchdown), allowed three sacks (two by right tackle Wayne Hunter), committed two penalties and went 0-for-6 on third down.
And they actually had great field position for most of the first half. The low point came after an interception by safety LaRon Landry. Starting at the Giants’ 45, they gave it up on downs when Greene was stuffed on third-and-1 and John Conner was smothered on fourth-and-1.
“That was brutal, absolutely bad,” Ryan said of the humbling sequence, adding, “I might have been more disappointed in those things than anything else.”
It’s important to keep some perspective here. The Jets are installing a new offense, so there will be growing pains. Sanchez didn’t have his best receiver, Santonio Holmes (ribs). They also faced a terrific defense that routinely wrecks pass-protection schemes.
You’d be nuts to scream for Tim Tebow to replace Sanchez, and you’d be off base to start hounding Sparano. A little patience, please.
But -- and you knew there would be a "but" -- the troubling part is that instead of improving from Week 1 to Week 2, the Jets actually went backward. Oh, sure, the running game showed a pulse (except when they needed a yard), but that won’t overshadow the bigger issues.
The line, Hunter in particular, has some serious pass-protection issues. In two games, the first-team line has allowed five sacks in three quarters.
Get all the news about the Jets' backup QB and media sensation. Tebow Time
“I really do have faith in those guys up front,” Sanchez said. “I know we can play better than that. I know we can block these four-man rush looks.”
Sanchez doesn’t escape here unscathed. He threw the kind of interception that conjured up bad memories from last season, an ill-advised throw to a well-covered receiver. He went for Patrick Turner on an out, but the pass was behind him and rookie cornerback Jayron Hosley undercut the route and took it 77 yards for a pick six.
It was the kind of play that can wreck a game. The Jets’ margin of error is small -- and will be all season -- and they can’t win games with those kind of mistakes.
“That just goes to show how fragile the ball is,” said Sanchez, who completed 9 of 11 passes for only 59 yards. “If you miss by a little bit in this league, (they’ll) take the ball back. That’s one you’d like to have back and I know I can complete that pass.”
Tebow was no better, completing 5 of 14 passes for 69 yards. He was sacked four times, bringing the game total to seven -- 12 in two games, if you’re scoring at home. Just imagine if Tebow had played well; the call-in yahoos on the radio shows would be screaming for him to start.
There’s no quarterback controversy, but this is an offense that desperately needs a positive jolt. Greene said the no-touchdown start is “a big concern.”
Afterward, Ryan took longer than usual in his locker-room address to the team, but he wasn’t spitting mad, according to players. He listed the corrections that need to be made and tried to be encouraging.
“Rex said it best after the game,” Sanchez said. “He said, “Look, it’s the second preseason game. We have to score points, but there’s no reason to hit the panic button right now.’”
In the meantime, they should spend more time behind the curtain, saving their fans some angst.