Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Game review: Jets-Texans
By Rich Cimini
A look back at some positive and negative individual performances from the Jets' 20-16 loss to the Texans:
• TE Jeff Cumberland. Rex Ryan has been gushing about Cumberland's receiving skill for a year, and we finally got to see it in a game. He caught six passes for 77 yards, including a 25-yarder -- longest play of the game for the Jets. It makes sense to give Cumberland some work with the 1s, as the No. 2 tight end, to see if he can handle it.
• LB Josh Mauga. The Jets opened camp with some concern about their depth at inside linebacker. They can rest a little easier. Mauga was terrific in the opener, recording a sack (when he replaced the hobbled Bart Scott), intercepting a pass (on a deflection by rookie NT Kenrick Ellis) and making three tackles.
• FB John Conner. Firmly entrenched as the starter now that Tony Richardson is gone, Conner -- aka the Terminator -- made key blocks on Shonn Greene's three longest runs -- five, seven and 19 yards. Conner and Greene can be a formidable tandem, but O.C. Brian Schottenheimer could be faced with a dilemma: If he uses a lot of two-back sets, it's going to take away from the number of times he employs the three-receiver look (Santonio Holmes, Derrick Mason, Plaxico Burress).
• RG/RT Vladimir Ducasse. He allowed two sacks, one on a bull rush (at right guard), the other on a speed move to the outside (at right tackle). Yeah, he's struggling, but in fairness to Ducasse, his head must be spinning. Because of injuries, he played three different position, filling in at left guard in the second half.
• WR Michael Campbell. He dropped a potential game-winning TD, a 32-yard pass from Greg McElroy, in the final minute. When you're an undrafted free agent, trying to beat the odds, you can't do that. Campbell, out of Edison, N.J., and Temple, is performing well in practice, so it would be premature to say he's done.
• TE Matthew Mulligan. There's a reason why Mulligan doesn't get many passes thrown his way; he's a blocking tight end. Nevertheless, he was targeted four times, none of them resulting in a completion. He dropped one of them, Mark Sanchez's only incompletion of the game. Mulligan also may have been responsible for a red-zone sack, releasing on a blitz instead of staying home to block.
QUICK HITS: RB Joe McKnight could be down a week with a possible concussion, which means rookie Bilal Powell will get his chance to claim the No. 3 tailback job ... Nice game for rookie WR Dan DePalma, out of Verona, N.J., and West Chester -- two special-teams tackles, a 22-yard punt return and a 23-yard kickoff return ... Average hang time for the punters: Chris Bryan 4.33 seconds, T.J. Conley 4.17 ... Free-agent OLB Garrett McIntyre, who caught Ryan's eye early in camp, recorded two sacks.
J-CO UPDATE: Former Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery ended up signing a one-year contract for the veterans' minimum ($810,000) with the Steelers, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. That's unfortunate for Cotchery, who would've made $1.8 million from the Jets. Sometimes the grass (and the money) isn't greener on the other side.