New York Jets: Garrett McIntyre
1. What a mess: Let's let Rex Ryan describe the day: "It got ugly out there." Did it ever. The two-hour practice was filled with penalties and dropped passes. As usual, there were game officials at practice and they were told to crack down on defensive holding calls, according to Ryan. The last segment of practice resembled last year's game against the Buffalo Bills, when they set a franchise record with 20 penalties. Linebacker Garrett McIntyre was flagged for holding, negating an interception. Looking at the silver lining, it was a good day for fitness. That is because the entire team dropped for 10 push ups after every penalty.
2. Rookie yips: Rookie WR Shaq Evans, who missed the organized team activities (10 practices) because of school obligations, looked rusty and struggled mightily. He dropped two balls against air (no defense) and he dropped another in team drills. In between the mishaps, he made a nice sideline catch in a 7-on-7 drill. Not surprisingly, Evans, a fourth-round pick, was out of sync with the quarterbacks, resulting in miscommunications. Fellow fourth-round pick Jalen Saunders had a drop in 7-on-7s, but it was an overall solid practice. Sixth-round WR Quincy Enunwa, FB Tommy Bohanon and WR Eric Decker had one drop apiece.
Vick was 7-for-10, with a sack. He missed a couple of open receivers on deep throws, once underthrowing David Nelson with a fluttering pass that was nearly intercepted. Vick was intercepted in 7-on-7 drills, when he threw for Decker on a post route. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson made a great read and jumped the route. He's a cagey vet. Patterson figured out the route combination on that side of the field and knew Decker was going to break to the inside. On the positive side, Vick displayed some of his legendary mobility, scrambling away from pressure on at least two occasions.
Obviously, individual stats don't mean much in minicamp. The division of reps sometimes tells you more about a player's progress -- or lack thereof. In the first team period, devoted to third down, Smith worked with the starters for six out of eight reps. Vick got the other two reps. In the second team period, devoted to the no-huddle, Smith got all 10 reps with the first-team offense. Get the picture? If the reps are divided the same way in training camp, it will be tough for Vick to supplant Smith, as the coaches have indicated.
4. Impressive corner: Rookie Dexter McDougle, who got a late start in the offseason program because of a shoulder surgery from a college injury, continued to make plays. Working with the second-team defense, the third-round pick made at least two pass breakups. He's aggressive at the line of scrimmage, not afraid to engage with a receiver. "I think you saw a little of why we're so excited about him," Ryan said. McDougle and Darrin Walls were the second-team cornerbacks, behind Dee Milliner and Patterson.
5. Odds and ends: Nice day for rookie DT Kerry Hyder, an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech. He had a sack and interception. He picked off Matt Simms on a screen pass. ... This was another mediocre practice for Simms, who is battling rookie Tajh Boyd for the No. 3 job. ... Rookie Calvin Pryor and Antonio Allen continued as the starting safety tandem, with veteran Dawan Landry on the second team. ... It looks like rookie TE Jace Amaro already is ahead of Jeff Cumberland in pass-oriented personnel packages. ... Six free agents were invited to participate on a tryout basis, including former Oakland Raiders fourth-round pick Bruce Campbell, a tackle. The others: Punters Drew Butler and Jacon Schum, kickers Andrew Furney and Carson Wiggs and guard Ray Dominguez.
6. Injury report: As expected, RB Chris Johnson (knee), RG Willie Colon (knee) and LB Antwan Barnes (knee) didn't participate in team drills. Johnson, who had surgery in January, participated in individual drills.
McIntyre was a non-tendered restricted free agent. In other words, the Jets declined last month to extend the necessary tender ($1.4 million) to maintain their rights to McIntyre. After shopping around for a few weeks, McIntyre decided to return, undoubtedly for less than $1.4 million. Terms of the deal weren't immediately available.
McIntyre played in 13 games last season, missing three with a knee injury. He played in 256 defensive snaps (23 percent), mostly as a fill-in for Calvin Pace. He finished with 19 total tackles, including two sacks.
1. Reality bites: The irony of the Eric Decker signing is that general manager John Idzik, who has spent a year trying to eliminate the Jets' "Hard Knocks" image, took on a player with his own reality TV show. Decker and his wife, country singer Jessie James, are preparing for their second season on E!'s "Eric and Jessie: Game on." The season premiere is March 30. His former team, the Denver Broncos, said last year it had no problem with Decker doing the show. "To each his own," team exec John Elway said.
Some people wonder if Decker picked the Jets over the Indianapolis Colts because he wanted to raise the show's profile by playing in the No. 1 media market. He downplayed that notion, saying he picked the Jets with football in mind. As for his wife's input, Decker said, "She obviously wants what’s best for me in my profession. She spent a lot of time in New York with her career when she was younger, and she's excited again to have an opportunity to work now again and to be able to have some resources and things. I think that overall it is a great decision and place for us as a family and career wise."
Idzik isn't a show-biz kind of guy, and I find it hard to believe he likes the idea of a player having his own show. It creates the perception that he's bigger than the team. But in the end, the No. 1 reality was this: Idzik was willing to put aside any concerns to land their top-rated free-agent receiver. The GM hasn't been made available to comment on any of his signings.
2. Decker vs. Holmes: Not to pick on Santonio Holmes or anything, but ...
Decker produced five 100-yard receiving games last season, one more than Holmes managed in four years with the Jets. Decker is counting $4 million on this year's cap, $6.5 million less than Holmes would've counted. Just saying.
3. Strength in numbers: The Jets have six experienced wide receivers under contract, and they could add another two through free agency and the draft. Overkill? Not really. Teams always look beyond the current year when making personnel moves, and when the Jets look at 2015, they see only two of those six receivers under contract -- Decker and Stephen Hill. That's why stockpiling makes sense.
4. Go west, men: Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg , accompanied by two members of the scouting department, attended two important pro days on the West Coast -- USC and Oregon State. The main attractions were wide receivers Marqise Lee and Brandin Cooks, respectively. In each case, the Jets' contingent spent private time with the players. It's not unusual for Mornhinweg to scout on the road. In fact, he attended Geno Smith's pro day last year, taking him out to dinner the night before. With the 18th pick, the Jets are thinking strongly about a receiver.
5. Revis Inc.: Darrelle Revis' contract with the New England Patriots sheds light into his thinking as a player/businessman. Technically, it's a two-year, $32 million deal, but the second year is bogus because of a $25 million cap charge. They added a second year for cap purposes and because Revis is hellbent on a $16 million-per-year average. Has been since 2010, when he staged his second holdout with the Jets. At the time, he proposed a 10-year, $160 million deal. He refused over the years to bend on the APY, finally finding a team (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) willing to pay it. Why $16 million? I think it goes back to Nnamdi Asomugha's $16 million-a-year deal from the Oakland Raiders in 2009. As soon as Revis surpassed Asomugha as the top cornerback, in the eyes of many, he considered $16 million his birthright.
For an interesting take on the Revis contract from the Patriots' perspective, check out ESPN.com colleague Mike Reiss.
6. California dreaming: The quarterback-needy Raiders are targeting two players likely to be released -- Matt Schaub and Mark Sanchez (in that order), according to a report by ESPN.com colleague Paul Gutierrez. Sanchez makes a lot of sense. Joey Clinkscales, the team's director of player personnel, is a former Jets executive and was heavily involved when they drafted Sanchez in 2009.
The Jets are running out of time to make a decision on Sanchez, who's due a $2 million roster bonus March 25. If they don't sign another quarterback (Michael Vick?) before then, what then? Do they turn to Sanchez, trying to get him to take a major pay cut? If Sanchez balks, he will be released -- unless the Jets pay the $2 million, buying more time. It's not Idzik's style to cut a player before his replacement is on the roster. It hurts leverage. If the Raiders want him badly enough, maybe they'd be willing to make a trade.
7. Tony the recruiter: Former Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, now the Raiders' offensive-line coach, was instrumental in recruiting right tackle Austin Howard. Said Howard: "I really love his style of coaching. Once we got that call, it was honestly a no-brainer decision to get on the plane and make the trip out to Oakland.” Obviously, the five-year, $30 million contract had something to do with it, too. Sparano was a key Howard ally in the summer of 2012, when the Jets replaced Wayne Hunter.
8. A tale of two kickers: Nick Folk was the only kicker this year to receive a franchise-tag designation, which usually translates to a top-of-the-market contract. In Folk's case, his four-year deal is actually similar to what Dan Carpenter just landed from the Buffalo Bills -- at least in terms of first-year compensation. Folk gets $3.6 million in total compensation (the amount of the franchise tender), Carpenter scores $3.425 million. Carpenter was given a chance, albeit brief, to take Folk's job last preseason, but he lasted only a few days. Now he's making nearly as much as him.
9. DRC on ED: Came across this quote from Super Bowl week. Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was asked which of his team's receivers is the hardest to cover. His answer: Wes Welker. "Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are great receivers, but you can kind of break their moves down," he said. "Wes, he does too much." DRC could end up reunited with Decker.
10. Hurting at OLB: It didn't get any attention, but the Jets decided not to tender restricted free agent Garrett McIntyre, making him unrestricted. It would've cost them $1.4 million. It came as a surprise because McIntyre was a decent backup, good for about 20 defensive snaps per game. With Calvin Pace also an unrestricted free agent, the Jets are perilously thin at outside linebacker.
Muhammad Wilkerson -- 219 snaps/84 percent
Mike DeVito -- 152 snaps/58 percent
Quinton Coples -- 103 snaps/39 percent
Sione Pouha -- 81 snaps/31 percent
Kenrick Ellis -- 18 snaps/7 percent
Damon Harrison -- 2 snaps/1 percent
Analysis: Remember draft day, when Rex Ryan anointed Coples as a starter? How's that working out? DeVito answered the challenge and is having a solid season while Coples has made no impact as a rookie. Po'uha continues to battle a bad back. Wilkerson keeps getting better.
David Harris -- 262 snaps/100 percent
Calvin Pace -- 243 snaps/93 percent
Bryan Thomas -- 164 snaps/63 percent
Bart Scott -- 117 snaps/43 percent
DeMario Davis -- 91 snaps/35 percent
Garrett McIntyre -- 79 snaps/30 percent
Ricky Sapp -- 42 snaps/16 percent
Analysis: The Scott-Davis situation is curious, changing week to week. Clearly, the coaches like Scott's toughness, but they're intrigued by Davis' athleticism. This unit will have a completely different look next season.
Yeremiah Bell -- 262 snaps/100 percent
LaRon Landry -- 262 snaps/100 percent
Antonio Cromartie -- 261 snaps/99 percent
Kyle Wilson -- 250 snaps/95 percent
Eric Smith -- 145 snaps/55 percent
Ellis Lankster -- 128 snaps/49 percent
Donnie Fletcher -- 5 snaps/2 percent
Josh Bush -- 1 snap/1 percent
Isaiah Trufant -- 1 snap/1 percent
Analysis: Bell deserves a medal; he hasn't missed a snap all season. Trufant had assumed the nickel-back role, but suffered a season-ending injury, giving Lankster a reprieve. Smith, finally healthy, is back to a consistent role in the sub groupings.
Muhammad Wilkerson -- 238 snaps, 84 percent
Mike DeVito -- 164 snaps, 58 percent
Sione Po'uha -- 128 snaps, 45 percent
Kenrick Ellis -- 110 snaps, 39 percent
Quinton Coples -- 104 snaps, 37 percent
Marcus Dixon -- 57 snaps, 20 percent
David Harris -- 284 snaps, 100 percent
Calvin Pace -- 274 snaps, 96 percent
Bart Scott -- 234 snaps, 82 percent
Garrett McIntyre -- 128 snaps, 45 percent
Aaron Maybin -- 48 snaps, 17 percent
Bryan Thomas -- 42 snaps, 15 percent
Josh Mauga -- 39 snaps, 14 percent
Demario Davis -- 16 snaps, 6 percent
Yeremiah Bell -- 284 snaps, 100 percent
LaRon Landry -- 272 snaps, 96 percent
Antonio Cromartie -- 266 snaps, 94 percent
Kyle Wilson -- 226 snaps, 80 percent
Darrelle Revis -- 93 snaps, 33 percent
Ellis Lankster -- 61 snaps, 21 percent
Eric Smith -- 55 snaps, 19 percent
Isaiah Trufant -- 9 snaps, 3 percent
Joe McKnight -- 2 snaps, 0.7 percent
Analysis: The biggest story here is Maybin's lack of playing time. You knew he'd fall short of his goal of becoming a full-time player, but 12 snaps per game is on the low side. DC Mike Pettine said Maybin will see more time Monday night, which means they could have a special package for him ... Look for Ellis and Coples to see increased playing time ... Davis is a surprise. He figured to be more involved in sub packages. They could use his speed on the field ... Tremendous durability by Bell and Harris.
An individual rundown, comparing player snaps, team rushing yards allowed while on the field and average per carry:
Muhammad Wilkerson -- 38 snaps, 237 yards, 3 TDs, 6.2
Mike DeVito -- 29 snaps, 156 yards, 2 TDs, 5.4
Kenrick Ellis -- 27 snaps, 151 yards, 2 TDs, 5.6
Sione Po'uha -- 27 snaps, 149 yards, 3 TDs, 5.5
Quinton Coples -- 21 snaps, 142 yards, 3 TDs, 6.8
David Harris -- 44 snaps, 245 yards, 3 TDs, 5.6
Calvin Pace -- 42 snaps, 239 yards, 3 TDs, 5.7
Bart Scott -- 40 snaps, 126 yards, 3 TDs, 5.9
Bryan Thomas -- 22 snaps, 102 yards, 3 TDs, 4.6
Garrett McIntyre -- 6 snaps, 68 yards, 1 TD, 11.3
Josh Mauga -- 2 snaps, 33 yards, 0 TD, 16.5
Aaron Maybin -- 1 snap, 3 yards, 0 TD, 3.0
Analysis: Pretty bad run defense across the board. The perimeter, in particular, was exposed. Of their 245 yards, the 49ers produced 149 outside the tackles, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It was the second-highest single game total of any team since the start of 2011 ... This was a particularly rough game for the usually solid Harris, who missed at least three tackles. Pace also had a couple of big misses ... What went wrong? A lot of things: Poor tackling. Poor gap control. Slow pursuit (at times, it looked like players were stuck in quicksand). Also credit the 49ers for near flawless execution, using an inside-outside running attack that had the Jets completely off balance ... Perhaps the most embarrassing moment occurred in the fourth quarter, when Ellis was driven back five yards and pancaked by LT Joe Staley. If he wanted to, Staley could've re-enacted the scene from "The Blind Side," blocking him off the field and pushing him over a fence.
TEXTBOOK: QB Colin Kaepernick's 7-yard TD run typified on a few levels the kind of day it was for the Jets. First of all, it was embarrassing to receive a taste of their own Wildcat medicine. Secondly, the scoring play was a textbook example of the 49ers simply out-executing the Jets.
The 49ers had seven blockers on the left side; the Jets had only five defenders. The 49ers created a huge lane for the speedy Kaepernick. FB Bruce Miller blocked down on McIntyre; TE Delanie Walker took out Scott; RB Frank Gore, leading the way, drilled CB Kyle Wilson; Staley pulled, providing a personal escort for Kaepernick, who was untouched to the end zone.
High-school football coaches should show that play to their teams. That's how it's done.
OFFENSIVE HICCUPS: There's a fine line between success and failure on most plays. On the Jets' first possession, QB Mark Sanchez was sacked by LB Aldon Smith, who beat RT Austin Howard. Howard actually did a decent job on the play, so other things went wrong.
Sanchez looked to RB Bilal Powell on a wheel route, but he couldn't shake LB Patrick Willis. WR Chaz Schilens was the No. 2 read, but he got knocked off his route by LB NaVorro Bowman. Because of a blown coverage, WR Santonio Holmes was wide open in the middle of the field -- wide open. Sanchez, under pressure, stepped up when the pocket collapsed and never tried to throw to Holmes. Either he didn't see him or didn't have time.
A huge missed opportunity.
CRUSHING PICK: Sanchez struggled on his short passes. In fact, he completed only eight of 17 throws within five yards of the line of scrimmage, per ESPN Stats. The low point was getting intercepted on a screen pass. But take a closer look and you will see where the breakdown occurred.
Instead of allowing his man to rush up-field, thereby allowing the screen to work, Howard short-sets DT Ray McDonald. That allowed McDonald to stay in Sanchez's field of view. McDonald tipped Sanchez's floater to RB Shonn Greene, and Willis made a diving interception. That subtle mistake by Howard ruined a potential long gainer by Greene, who was wide open.
We're not absolving Sanchez for his poor performance. By my count, he missed six open receivers even when he wasn't under duress, one of which should've been intercepted.
Going into the game, Sanchez had been effective against pressure schemes -- 8.4 yards per attempt versus 5+ pass rushers. In this game, he was held to 1.8 per attempt, with an interception.
THE INEXPLICABLE BLOCK: Ryan was beside himself after the game because of a blocked punt that occurred against a one-man rush. Actually, it looked like a two-man rush, but the point remains the same. How does that happen? Here's how: Jeff Cumberland brain locked.
He released too soon from his left-tackle position and never blocked rusher Larry Grant, who had a clear path to P Robert Malone. Tim Tebow, the personal protector, never reacted. It was an embarrassing moment for the Jets' special teams, usually among the most well-schooled in the league.
ODDS AND ENDS: A lot of people blame the Jets' rushing woes on Greene, saying he's not a No. 1 back. But a clever team can scheme up a running game. Even without Gore, the 49ers rushed for 183 yards, with eight others carrying the ball ... Maybe this is a bit harsh, because he got hurt on the play, but Holmes could've demonstrated more regard for the ball instead of tossing it to an opponent when he hit the turf ... This wasn't a good game for C Nick Mangold, who had a holding penalty and allowed a sack.
Muhammad Wilkerson -- 64
Mike DeVito -- 45
Sione Po'uha -- 45
Quinton Coples -- 41
Kenrick Ellis -- 39
David Harris -- 72
Calvin Pace -- 71
Bart Scott -- 61
Bryan Thomas -- 33
Demario Davis -- 10
Garrett McIntyre -- 7
Josh Mauga -- 2
Aaron Maybin -- 2
Yeremiah Bell -- 72
LaRon Landry -- 70
Antonio Cromartie -- 65
Kyle Wilson -- 63
Eric Smith -- 16
Ellis Lankster -- 12
Joe McKnight -- 2
Analysis: As expected, the Jets played more 4-3 than usual, resulting in higher play counts for the defensive linemen. No. 1 pick Coples played a season-high in terms of snap percentage ... Maybin played a season-low two snaps, in part, because he's not used in run-oriented packages -- and the 49ers spent most of the game running the ball ... McKnight made his 2012 debut, a cameo as a blitzing slot corner ... McIntyre's PT dropped way down with the return of Thomas ... No. 3 pick Davis played a season high ...
"You know I had to get a shot in at a Patriot," Ryan said Thursday, laughing.
Turning diplomatic, Ryan said Davis is the No. 1 tight end this week, and that Gronkowski will be No. 1 in three weeks when they face the Patriots.
DAMAGE CONTROL: Obviously, Ryan got wind of RB Joe McKnight telling reporters Wednesday he's not thrilled with his move to cornerback. Ryan said McKnight "misunderstood" his intentions, claiming they want him to maintain his role on offense while learning the defense.
What role on offense? McKnight has appeared in only seven plays.
He's attending defensive meetings this week, not offensive -- which pretty much tells you the Jets' plan for him. Ryan, trying to boost McKnight's spirits, mentioned that he intercepted three passes Wednesday in practice -- one from each quarterback.
ONE IN, ONE OUT: As expected, rookie WR Stephen Hill (hamstring) was all but ruled out for Sunday by Ryan. He will be replaced by Jeremy Kerley or Chaz Schilens. Ryan expects TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) to return after missing two games ... Ryan declined to comment on the end of the league's lockout of game officials. "I haven't really thought about it," he said ... When OLB Bryan Thomas (hamstring) returns -- and it could be this week -- he'll go back to his starting job, replacing Garrett McIntyre.
"We want to go out and win for him, just so he can get his last laugh," McKnight said Thursday. "The last laugh always laughs loudest."
Sparano was 29-32 in three-plus seasons as the Dolphins' head coach, including a 3-2 mark against the Jets.
McKnight has taken cornerback reps in the past. He got into a game last season -- one play against the Ravens. Rex Ryan said Wednesday that McKnight, recovered from a hamstring injury, could have an expanded role this week. We all thought he meant on offense; maybe there's a chance he makes a cameo on defense.
TROUBLE FOR THE TERMINATOR: FB John Conner (sprained knee) missed practice for the second straight day, and his chances of playing Sunday appear remote. He had a brace on his right knee and was favoring it as he performed basic rehab exercises. Conner is the only natural fullback on the roster. They can use TE Konrad Reuland in the backfield, as they did last week.
It also appears that OLB Bryan Thomas (hamstring) won't play, meaning another start for Garrett McIntyre, who had two sacks last week.
HE'S PLAYING: Listen to the first five questions to CB Darrelle Revis, who spoke to reporters after practice.
Q: How do you feel?
A: I feel good.
Q: How confident are you that you can play Sunday?
A: I’m playing Sunday.
Q: How confident are you that you will play?
A: I'm playing.
Q: Did you pass the concussion tests this morning?
A: Yeah, the doctors cleared me, so I’ll be playing Sunday.
Q: Do you have to take more tests?
A: No, I got cleared, so I’ll be playing.
All right, then ...
AS THE CRO FLIES: Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine gave an honest assessment of Mike Wallace's 37-yard TD reception, saying of CB Antonio Cromartie, "Yeah, (he) just didn’t play the ball. Early on, I thought he was in good position, and then I don’t know whether he lost it. It was just one of those situations where he didn’t play the ball and Wallace did. We say it’s a game of inches, you could say it was a game of centimeters on that one. It was very close to being a long foul ball. Give them credit and obviously, we have to play the ball better."
PLENTY OF BLAME: Immediately after the game, the prevailing explanation for the utter ineptitude of the passing attack was how the wide receivers failed to handle the Steelers' aggressive press coverage. After watching the tape, I think that was a bit overblown. A myriad of factors contributed to Mark Sanchez's 10-for-27, 138-yard day.
I categorized his 17 incompletions into five different categories:
Off-target passes -- 5
QB under pressure -- 4
Drops -- 3
Miscommunications between QB and receiver -- 3
Pass breakup/good coverage -- 2
DEEP THOUGHTS: Adhering to Tony Sparano's vertical philosophy, Sanchez made an attempt to push the ball downfield, perhaps eschewing safer throws. Overall, he attempted 10 passes of 10-plus yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information -- but he completed only two. In Week 1, it was a completely different story, as Sanchez went 7-for-11 with two TDs on such throws.
PROTECT AT ALL COSTS: One of the questions that emerged after the game was, why didn't Sanchez utilize his backs in the passing game? He had no completions on two RB targets. A big reason for that was pass protection, as Sparano often kept in a back to block.
The Jets were so concerned with the Steelers' pressure that they over-emphasized pass protection. For the most part, they kept Sanchez upright (sacked only twice), but the cost of operating that way is that it takes a potential target (or two) out of the passing game. When you do that, and your wideouts can't win their one-on-one matchups, and your tight end is home rehabbing a hamstring injury, the passing attack gets choked to death. And that's what happened.
Here's a breakdown on how the Jets blocked the Steelers (most of the five-man protections came on the final possession, when they passed on every down):
Five-man protections: 9
Six-man protections: 14
Seven-man protections: 4
Eight-man protections: 1
IF ONLY HE KEPT IT: On Tim Tebow's third and final play at QB, a 6-yard loss by Shonn Greene, the Jets tried a misdirection run. RG Brandon Moore and RT Austin Howard pulled to the left, Greene ran right. If Tebow had faked the handoff and kept it himself, following Moore and Howard, he would've had a nice gain. In that case, he probably would've stayed on the field instead of getting pulled on 2nd-and-16. And who knows how things would've turned out?
RADICAL REX: We all know how much Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine like to use defensive backs. Against pass-happy teams, they've been known to dress 10 defensive backs. This time, they departed from their usual philosophy. Without CB Darrelle Revis (concussion), they dressed eight DBs and played only six. Really, it was just a five-man defensive backfield, as S Eric Smith had only seven snaps. Incredibly, they went the entire game with only three corners -- Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster.
By my count, the corners were responsible for 11 of Ben Roethlisberger's 24 completions. Breakdown:
Cromartie -- Five receptions for 77 yards, one TD.
Wilson -- Three for 41.
Lankster -- Three for 26.
BEN BUT DON'T BREAK: Concerned with the Steelers' big-play ability, the Revis-less Jets took a more conservative approach, playing more zone than usual. Roethlisberger did a nice job of finding soft spots in the underneath zones, exploiting the lack of speed at linebacker. LB David Harris allowed four completions for 44 yards (including a TD). At times, the Jets used a two-deep safety look, with Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry lined up on the hashmarks. Ordinarily, the Jets don't use a lot of two-deep looks. This was another adjustment to life without Revis.
BIG MAC: OLB Garrett McIntyre, who started for the injured Bryan Thomas and recorded two sacks, was praised for his production -- and deservedly so. But McIntyre is a limited player -- not good in space, as Ryan noted -- and his shortcoming was exposed. McIntyre missed three tackles in space, resulting in a couple of long gainers. It almost seemed like the Steelers made a concerted effort to pick on McIntyre whenever the opportunity was available.
NOT-SO-GREAT-SCOTT: LB Bart Scott might have experienced a moment of deja vu in the fourth quarter, when RB Isaac Redman ran through him for a 2-yard TD. Scott defeated his block and was positioned in the hole to bring down Redman at the 1- or 2-yard line, but he failed to get it done. Sound familiar? Scott also whiffed on a tackle in the 2010 AFC Championship Game, resulting in a 1-yard TD run by the Steelers' Rashad Mendenhall. Same field, different end zone.
ODDS AND ENDS: At one point, Sanchez had seven straight incompletions, the longest drought of his career, according to the CBS telecast. ... Rookie LB Demario Davis had a nice outside rush on the Jets' first sack, forcing Roethlisberger to step up. ... I counted at least four plays in which the Jets had a free runner at Big Ben and failed to bring him down. Harris had a shot at him on the 37-yard TD pass to Mike Wallace. ... Ryan went easy on Cromartie for giving up the Wallace TD, saying he had great coverage but misplayed the ball. But that's like a center fielder dropping a gimme fly ball after tracking it down in the gap. If you get there, make the play. ... The Jets made the Steelers burn a timeout when they lined up Tebow on a wing in punt protection. Great nugget from Phil Simms in the TV booth: He noted that one of the Steelers' assistants saw Tebow catching a pass in the pregame warmups, and he immediately told another assistant coach.
The longest run of the day was Tim Tebow's 22-yarder in the third quarter. What does that tell you? In fact, 28 of the 90 rushing yards came when Tebow was in the game. For all the talk about Ground & Pound, the Jets have managed only 208 rushing yards in two games. Shonn Greene had a couple of opportunities to get into the secondary, but he didn't have enough acceleration. They tried to shake up the line, using Vlad Ducasse for a few series at left guard, but that didn't help. Well, at least they converted a couple of third-and-1 plays; short yardage was a problem in the preseason.
It wasn't like they committed a ton of big mistakes (two sacks, no interceptions); it was just ... well, flat. After a 4-for-5 start, including 45-yard seam pass to Jeremy Kerley and a 14-yard TD to Santonio Holmes, QB Mark Sanchez hit the skids. After the opening drive, he was only 6-for-22 for 58 yards. It's not often you see numbers like that in the NFL. It wasn't all his fault. The receivers, especially rookie Stephen Hill (no catches), couldn't beat press coverage. It disrupted eveything. The Sanchez-Holmes chemistry was brutal. Sanchez targeted Holmes 11 times, completing just three. Holmes had two drops, but he drew four penalties.
Hard to find any fault with the run defense. The Jets absolutely bottled up the Steelers, holding them to 66 yards on the ground. They mixed their fronts, going back and forth between a 3-4 and 4-3 on base downs. The return of NT Sione Po'uha clogged the middle, but he had help. LB Garrett McIntyre, starting for the injured Bryan Thomas, played his best game -- six tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss. Thomas could get Wally Pipped. DE Muhammad Wilkerson and LB David Harris also played well at the point of attack.
Without CB Darrelle Revis, the secondary was ripe for the picking. QB Ben Roethlisberger (24-for-31, 275 yards, 2 TDs) was the best player on the field, constantly extending plays by sliding in the pocket. It was his highest completion percentage since Week 4 of the 2009 season. He spread the ball to 10 different receivers, always finding the right matchup. The Jets got occasional pressure on him, but he responded. Roethlisberger was 5-for-6 for 74 yards when under duress, according to ESPN Stats & Information -- including a 37-yard TD to Mike Wallace. That was horrible coverage by CB Antonio Cromartie. S LaRon Landry (two penalties for 30 yards) had a rough game.
Tough league, the NFL. One week you're a rock star, the next week you're dirt. Welcome to Jeremy Kerley's world. Kerley, who scored last week on a punt return, muffed a punt in the third quarter. He called it a "selfish" play, saying he should've taken the fair catch. It didn't cost them the game, but it cost them a possession and field position -- killers.
This was a tough spot for the Jets, who didn't have their best player (Revis) in a hostile environment. It would've taken an unbelievable performance to ruin the Steelers' home opener -- and they came up way short. The Jets came out on fire, but they couldn't sustain it -- and that's a bit troubling. Simply put, Mike Tomlin made better adjustments than Rex Ryan. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano mixed and matched his personnel packages, emphasizing pass protection. He could've been more creative in trying to get the ball in the hands of his receivers, who struggled to beat press coverage. Defensively, they were one step behind Roethlisberger all day. Without Revis, they played more zone than usual, but Roethlisberger found the soft spots. They got beat by an elite quarterback.
1. Garrett McIntyre. Dude played his butt off. Starting for the injured Bryan Thomas, McIntyre finished with six tackles, two sacks and four tackles-for-loss. He's not the greatest athlete, but he always plays hard. Thomas should be worried about his job.
2. Muhammad Wilkerson. He was one of the big reasons why the Jets shut down the Steelers' ground game. Big Mo was a beast inside, recording four tackles and a tackle-for-loss.
3. Kyle Wilson. He held up reasonably well in place of the injured Darrelle Revis. When you get beat this decisively, "reasonably well" is good enough to crack the top three performances.
1. Mark Sanchez. At one point in the second half, he went 51 minutes in real time between completions. Sanchez had no turnovers and still finished with a 66.6 passer rating. Yikes. He'll need a rebound performance against the Dolphins or else the Tim Tebow chatter will intensify.
2. Stephen Hill. Someone check the milk cartons, because the Jets lost their promising young receiver. Hill was targeted only twice and didn't have any catches, unable to get open against press coverage. Clearly, he has a long way to go.
3. Antonio Cromartie. His coverage on Mike Wallace's 37-yard touchdown catch was non-competitive, as Bill Parcells might say. He mispayed the ball in the air and showed no sense of urgency as he let Wallace out-position him in the end zone -- and it came on third-and-16. That's bad.
REVIS: You can't replace the best cornerback in football, but you can adjust your game plan. Kyle Wilson will start for Revis, opposite Antonio Cromartie. Ellis Lankster becomes the No. 3 corner, with Isaiah Trufant also a possibility. It wouldn't be a surprise if they put Cromartie on WR Mike Wallace -- similar body types and skill sets -- using Wilson on Antonio Brown. When the Steelers go to a three-receiver package, the Jets could slide Wilson inside to his familiar slot position, where he'd cover Emmanuel Sanders. The Jets might have to entertain the idea of playing more zone coverage than usual.
KELLER: Jeff Cumberland figures to get the bulk of the snaps at tight end, especially on passing downs. Cumberland is a decent receiver, but he's no Keller, who is Mark Sanchez's security blanket in short and intermediate zones. Cumberland isn't a good blocker, which will create problems when the Jets go to their two-TE package. Konrad Reuland isn't a sturdy in-line blocker and neither is Dedrick Epps, who was re-signed Friday to provide depth. This could mean more playing time for OT Jason Smith, the "jumbo" tight end.
THOMAS: Rex Ryan said Garrett McIntyre will replace Thomas, but the more likely scenario is they eliminate the position -- meaning they play more 4-3 base than usual. It makes sense, especially with NT Sione Po'uha set to return to the lineup. They have better numbers on the line than linebacker, so you might as well play to your strength and keep the fourth LB spot off the field.
Muhammad Wilkerson -- 53
Quinton Coples -- 32
Kenrick Ellis -- 30
Mike DeVito -- 27
Marcus Dixon -- 16.
David Harris -- 63
Calvin Pace -- 60
Bart Scott -- 54
Aaron Maybin -- 16
Garrett McIntyre -- 15
Josh Mauga -- 11
Bryan Thomas -- 9
Yeremiah Bell -- 63
LaRon Landry -- 63
Antonio Cromartie -- 59
Kyle Wilson -- 54
Darrelle Revis -- 50
Isaiah Trufant -- 9
Ellis Lankster -- 9
Analysis: The blowout, plus injuries to Thomas and Revis, allowed some of the backups to get more playing time than expected ... Coples, the No. 1 pick, and DeVito basically split their playing time ... Interesting that Scott didn't come off the field; he has played his way back into the good graces ... It was a surprisingly heavy workload for Ellis, considering the Jets were in nickel and dime packages so often against the Bills' spread offense.
"I don't want to talk about anybody's specific roster spot," Ryan said after the 28-10 loss to the Eagles. "We'll look at the tape and we'll let you know tomorrow."
The Jets must cut 22 players by 9 p.m. Friday.
Conner said he didn't read anything into his participation, saying the coaches wanted him to play because of the "low numbers" at fullback. He's the only pure fullback on the roster. They lost H-Back Josh Baker to a season-ending knee injury. Rookie RB Terrance Ganaway was used at fullback in the first half. Conner came in for a few plays in the second half, getting stuff on a fourth-and-1 run -- his third unsuccessful short-yardage run in the preseason.
QB ROTATION: Third-stringer Greg McElroy (12-for-17, 90 yards) started and played into the third quarter, leading the Jets' only TD drive of the preseason -- a 14-play, 77-play drive in the first quarter. It ended with a 6-yard TD pass to Ganaway on a well-executed play-action. He was wide open. The Jets had gone 36 possessions without a touchdown.
"It was a sigh of relief," Ganaway said. "That was the feeling on the sideline."
Ryan liked what he saw from McElroy.
"I thought McElroy did a nice job when he was in there," he said. "He moved the team, showed poise and that was good to see."
McElroy was almost Tebow-esque at times, making plays with his feet. He ran five times for 33 yards, including a pivotal fourth-and-1 run around right end.
FOLK HERO: The Jets have to bee feeling good about their decision to keep Nick Folk over Josh Brown. Folk drilled a 58-yard field goal at the end of the first half, which he said was the longest of his career.
"That was probably the highlight of this game," Ryan said.
ODDS AND ENDS: DT Marcus Dixon suffered a stinger late in the game. ... No. 1 pick Quinton Coples played most of the game and finished with four tackles, 1.5 sacks, two QB hits and one pass breakup. ... OLB Garrett McIntyre solidified a roster spot. He was all over the field, recording a team-high seven tackles. ... Newly acquired P Sherman Lanning got a chance in his Jets debut, punting five times, but his net average was only 34.6 yards, with one inside the 20. Incumbent T.J. Conley averaged 43.7. Looks like Conley wins the job. ... Incredibly, the Jets managed only 8 total yards in the second half.