Sunday, August 18, 2013
Game recap: What we learned
By Rich Cimini
Takeaways from the Jets' 37-13 victory over the Jaguars:
1. Same old Sanchez: New year, new offense, same Mark Sanchez. In spurts, he showed why the Jets have remained loyal to him for all these years. But he also showed why he's in a quarterback competition, fighting for his old job -- a couple of mind-boggling mistakes. There was the end-zone interception and "even worse, the mismanagement of the last play of the second quarter," according to an NFC scout. The scout was impressed with some aspects of Sanchez's performance, adding: "He didn't earn (the job), but he didn't disqualify himself either." Now it's time to see Geno Smith.
2. Why so long? This was curious: Why did Sanchez play a full three quarters, including the third quarter behind the second-team line? Rex Ryan said that was the plan, but he never really explained the thinking behind it. Here's what happened: Smith (ankle) was inactive and Greg McElroy (ankle) was limited to emergency duty (shades of Tim Tebow last season). Ryan didn't want to give the entire second half to fourth-stringer Matt Simms. I also think Ryan wanted to give a lot of work to Sanchez because, looking ahead, he knows Smith will play a lot against the Giants. Ryan took a big risk, exposing Sanchez to garbage time. He's lucky there wasn't an injury.
3. Dee, for disappointing: Maybe the Jets made a mistake by handing a starting job to first-round CB Dee Milliner. After an uneven performance in the opener, Milliner gave way too much cushion against the Jaguars' receivers. Rex Ryan noted afterward that Milliner has to be more aggressive in man-to-man situations. Milliner also received an earful from Antonio Cromartie during the game.
4. Wake-up call: Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert passed for 165 yards in only three possessions. Blaine Gabbert! Afterward, Ryan blasted his defense for a lack of intensity. He's right, the first-team defense was a step behind, physically and mentally. They struggled with the hurry-up, so you know their early opponents will go to school on this game. Former Jets assistant GM Scott Cohen, now part of the Bucs' front office, was at the game, scouting. The Jets open with the Bucs. This was an uncharacteristically poor game for LB David Harris, who struggled in coverage, missed a tackle and got flagged for a late hit.
5. Watch your back, Joe: Clyde Gates did a nice job on kickoff returns, averaging 33.3 yards on three returns. Joe McKnight is one of the top returners in the league, but he's had a disappointing camp and missed the game with a head injury. I wouldn't be surprised if the Jets start shopping him in trade talks. It wouldn't make sense to just cut him, not with the lack of depth at running back.
6. MartyBall: Hey -- whaddya know? -- Marty Mornhinweg can call a run-oriented game, after all. The Jets called 40 running plays (for 176 yards) and only 30 pass plays. It was a nice game for Bilal Powell and a chip-off-the-rust night for Chris Ivory. The Wildcat was effective. Unlike last season, you'll see a lot of the Wildcat. The first-team line bounced back after a sluggish opener.
7. Folk hero: I think PK Nick Folk made a statement with that 54-yard field goal. If he were a little better on kickoffs, his job status never would be questioned.
8. Safety battle: FS Jaiquawn Jarrett (one tackle) had a relatively quiet game, as did Antonio Allen. This starting job is 50-50. We're not talking great options here.