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Monday, August 27, 2012
In-depth look at Howard's performance

By Rich Cimini



Some final observations on Sunday night's 17-12 loss to the Panthers:

Austin Howard, starting for the demoted Wayne Hunter, allayed the organization's concerns at right tackle. By my evaluation, after studying the video, Howard didn't allow any QB pressures while playing with the starting unit -- a total of 21 drop-backs. Here's a breakdown of how he fared in different pass-protection situations:

Isolated vs. pass rusher -- 13 plays. On nine of the plays, Howard blocked DE Charles Johnson, the Panthers' best pass rusher. He was on an island, left alone versus a guy making $76 million over six years. Howard held his own, showing nice lateral quickness on Johnson's outside rushes. Johnson had a knee scope in the offseason and he said recently he's still not 100 percent, so maybe that was a factor.

'Chipping' help vs. pass rusher -- Four plays. On the Jets' first play, Howard got big-time help from FB John Conner, who blasted Johnson while leaking out on a pass route. It was like the Jets were trying to send a message, telling the Panthers they weren't going to allow them to do what the Giants did to Wayne Hunter the previous week. NBC's Cris Collinsworth, on the game telecast, picked up on that immediately. Conner chipped Howard's man on three other occasions.

Double team vs. pass rusher -- One play. They used Howard in tandem with RG Brandon Moore to block DE Antwan Applewhite.

"I thought Austin Howard had a nice game for us," Rex Ryan said. Moore added, "I didn't hear the coaches yelling at him, so he must have done pretty good."

BAD GAME MANAGEMENT: I have no idea why the Jets chose to eat the ball at the end of the first half. With 1:11 on the clock, they got the ball at their 25, with three timeouts remaining. This was a perfect chance to work on their hurry-up offense, but they ran Shonn Greene around left end and threw a nothing pass to Greene, content to take a 10-9 deficit into halftime.

Obviously, the score didn't matter, but they wasted a good teaching opportunity. The previous week, they got a two-minute chance against the Giants, but they went three-and-out. So, yes, they could've used the work.

"It was kind of an iffy situation," said Ryan, explaining the decision. He said they didn't feel the urgency in that situation because they knew the starters would begin the second half. Nevertheless, it didn't show a lot of confidence in the players.

TINY TIM: Backup QB Tim Tebow has provided an occasional spark, but his preseason passing numbers are about as ugly as ugly gets -- 13-for-34 (38 percent), 151 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and seven sacks. Tebow won't play in the final preseason game, so those numbers aren't getting any better.

"It was kind of good news, bad news," Ryan said. "At times, Tim looked terrific, (he) absolutely did. He did energize the crowd ... I don’t know how many quarterbacks can stand back there and get away from the rush (and) buy time like he was able to do. I was impressed with it, and there was one ball, he threw it so hard, I was just glad it never hit a cheerleader, to be honest with you."

BOTTLE THIS: For one fleeting moment, the Jets' offense was flawless in its execution. It came on Shonn Greene's 18-yard run. The play was well-blocked, with C Nick Mangold delivering a hook block on NT Sione Fua. RG Vladimir Ducasse finished off Fua, pancaking him. LG Matt Slauson and LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson executed a combo block on rookie DT Nate Chandler. Wayne Hunter, in as an extra blocker, neutralized DE Greg Hardy. Greene picked the perfect hole and hit it for 18. Now if they can do that more consistently ...