Friday, August 30, 2013
Jets game recap: What we learned
By Rich Cimini
Ten takeaways from the Jets' 27-20 win over the Eagles:
1. Looking like Geno: I left the stadium early Friday morning thinking it'll be Geno Smith at quarterback when the Jets open against the Bucs. Mark Sanchez (shoulder) still hasn't resumed throwing, and I know there was some thought that he'd already be throwing by now. He has five days to make a rapid recovery, because I think the powers-that-be will want to make a decision by Wednesday. If Smith starts, he'll need every practice rep.
Jets QB Matt Simms completed a strong preseason with his effort on Thursday against the Eagles.
2. Son of Phil shines: Matt Simms was so good that Rex Ryan hinted after the game he could keep four quarterbacks. I think that might be more about the injuries to Sanchez and Greg McElroy (knee) than a reflection of awesome quarterback depth. Listening to sports radio on the way home, it's amazing to me that so many people want Simms to be the Week 1 starter. Yes, it was a strong preseason, but it came against second- and third-string players. Simms hasn't taken a first-team rep all summer. Perspective, please.
3. Tone's dress rehearsal: Not only did Santonio Holmes participate in another pre-game warmup, but he did it in full uniform -- another baby step. The sense I get is that the Jets are hoping Holmes (foot) can play in the opener. As we've come to learn, Holmes may have a different opinion.
4. Hold on, Vlad: OK, I admit it, I drank some of the Kool-Aid on Vladimir Ducasse. After his start against the Giants, and the subsequent release of Stephen Peterman, the Jets gave the impression that Ducasse finally realized his potential. But against the Eagles, rookie Brian Winters started at left guard, with Ryan later revealing that Ducasse and Winters are locked in a competition for the starting job. So let me get this straight: Ducasse, a three-year veteran, is neck-and-neck with a rookie who's played only two preseason games? I think we know where this is headed.
5. Safety dance: Ryan said the safety competition between Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett is "too close to call." Both made plays Thursday, including an interception for a touchdown by Allen. It sounds like Ryan may not declare a winner, noting it could go week-to-week based on the opponent. But here's the trouble with that: Allen and Jarrett are similar players, both "box" safeties. So, too, is Dawan Landry. This could be trouble against a spread offense.
6. Good grief, Jason: Everybody is entitled to a bad night, but this was a really bad night for LT Jason Smith, who let more people pass him than a crossing guard. He made Wayne Hunter look like Anthony Munoz. Speaking of Hunter, he's available and the Jets need a backup swing tackle. Kidding.
8. Head scratcher: It was strange to see Kyle Wilson in this game, considering Ryan bubble-wrapped almost every starter and key reserve. In theory, Wilson could be an opening-day starter, considering first-round pick Dee Milliner (calf) still is recovering from an injury. Milliner said he expects to play, but they'd still need Wilson in the nickel. Ryan said he used Wilson because he wanted to give him a chance to return punts and kickoffs, and he figured he might as well let him play cornerback, too. Something smells fishy.
9. Oh, Zach: The Wes Welker wannabe had a solid camp, but Zach Rogers may have cost himself a chance by muffing a punt and alligator-arming a perfect pass. Still think he has a chance for the practice squad.
10. Not-so-chipper Chip: If you're Eagles coach Chip Kelly, how can you feel comfortable with your backup QBs? Nick Foles and Matt Barkley were a combined 19-for-44. Simms threw 44 passes, too, except he completed 33.