New York Jets: grades

Report card: Another keeper

December, 9, 2012
12/09/12
9:54
PM ET

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Posting grades on the Jets' 17-10 win over the Jaguars:

C

PASSING OFFENSE

The Jets kept it real simple for Mark Sanchez, and the result was a no-interception day. Baby steps, right?

Out of 62 plays, they called only 20 passes. Sanchez dinked and dunked all day, finally hitting a throw he had to make -- 37 yards to Jeff Cumberland. Against a terrible team like the Jaguars, it only took one big pass play and 111 passing yards in total.

Antonio Cromartie took three snaps at receiver and made his first career reception, albeit for minus-2 yards.

WR Jeremy Kerley had a costly fumble, recovered by former Jets S Dwight Lowery.

A

RUSHING OFFENSE

The Jets rushed for 110 of their 166 yards in the second half, as the offensive line took control of the game in the third quarter.

The Shonn Greene-Bilal Powell platoon continued to produce positive results, as they rushed for 77 and 78 yards, respectively -- and one TD apiece. They needed a nice job of mixing power runs with misdirection plays -- wind-back runs that picked up nice chunks. Of course, there was a reason why the Jaguars began as the 31st-ranked rushing defense.

A

PASSING DEFENSE

Chad Henne was bad -- not quite as bad as the Cards' Ryan Lindley last week, but bad just the same.

The Jets cooked up some clever third-down pressures, and they rattled him into a 21-for-43, two-interception stinker. The Jaguars' receiving corps, minus the injured Cecil Shorts (concussion), was brutal. It had at least four drops, including three by rookie Kevin Elliott.

LB Garrett McIntyre made the biggest play, drilling Henne on Bart Scott's red-zone interception.

B-minus

RUSHING DEFENSE

The Jets faced 24 runs, and they did a good job on 23 of them. They suffered a major breakdown on Montell Owens' 32-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. They were thinking pass on second-and-17, and the fourth-string tailback made them look silly.

Otherwise, the Jets controlled the point of attack, with S LaRon Landry (10 tackles) and LB David Harris (10) playing exceptionally well. Harris played perhaps his best game of the season.

B

SPECIAL TEAMS

For the first time in seven games, the Jets didn't have a major blunder on special teams. P Robert Malone delivered another strong performance, narrowly escaping a blocked punt. PK Nick Folk didn't hit any uprights. Hey, it's progress.

B-plus

COACHING

Say this for Rex Ryan: His players play hard for him. It looks ugly, especially on offense, but they play with passion.

This game was so predictable: The Jets attacked Henne and choked the Jaguars' anemic offense. Offensively, the Jets played around struggling QB Mark Sanchez, keeping the ball on the ground. It works against teams like the Jaguars, but you're not going to beat any of the elite teams with that style.

The one criticism: The decision to dress Tim Tebow, not Greg McElroy, made no sense.



Report Card: Good enough

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
10:46
AM ET
video

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The sorry Jets didn't lose to the sorry Cardinals, 7-6. Now for the grades ...

A

RUSHING OFFENSE

The Jets cranked out 177 yards against a pretty good defense, their second-best rushing day of the season. The news here is that Bilal Powell, not Shonn Greene, got the start. Powell got the first four carries of the game. In fact, Greene didn't get his number called until 3:44 left in the first quarter. Maybe that sparked something, because Greene (104 yards) responded with the eighth 100-yard game of his career. The offensive line did a fantastic job, opening huge holes. Tony Sparano sprinkled in a couple of misdirection runs that worked. The only negative was Khalil Bell, who, in his first action, lost a fumble.

F

PASSING OFFENSE

It was so bad that Rex Ryan, a staunch Mark Sanchez supporter, benched him in the third quarter after three interceptions and 10 possessions that produced zero points. Actually, it should've been four interceptions. Sanchez was careless with the football, failed to recognize blitzes and demonstrated poor body language. Greg McElroy, in his NFL debut, provided an immediate spark, leading the game-winning TD drive. The best thing he did was not mess up. Hello, quarterback controversy.

A

RUSHING DEFENSE

This was simply a dominating performance by the Jets, who held the Cards to 81 yards -- but 40 came on Rashad Johnson's run on a fake punt. On plays from scrimmage, the Jets limited them to 41 yards on 20 carries. They got a lot of production out of the linebackers, especially Bryan Thomas ( two tackles for loss), Bart Scott (one) and David Harris (six tackles, 0.5 sack). The Jets were aggressive, crashing the line of scrimmage with blitzes and eight-man fronts.

A

PASSING DEFENSE

Talk about domination. The Cards were 0-for-15 on third down, a remarkable figure. QB Ryan Lindley (10-for-31, 72 yards) was overwhelmed, often missing receivers by several yards. The Jets sacked him only twice, but they got decent pressure with a variety of blitzes. S LaRon Landry made a great read on an interception and CB Antonio Cromartie did a nice job on WR Larry Fitzgerald, who had only one catch on seven targets. It's amazing they had just one interception in the game.

D

SPECIAL TEAMS

The nightmare continues. The Jets could've lost the game because of a lapse by their punt-return team, which fell for a fake punt that resulted in a 40-yard run by Johnson. It set up a field goal for the Cards, giving them a 3-0 halftime lead. The Cards made a great read, capitalizing on an overloaded front. The hiccups also hit the FG unit, as Nick Folk doinked two attempts off the uprights from 46 and 52 yards. Nice game for P Robert Malone.

B

COACHING

Rex Ryan's decision to bench Sanchez probably won the game. He wanted a spark -- any kind of spark -- and he got it from McElroy. Now the real decision comes: Does he stick with McElroy or go back to Sanchez? It's the biggest decision of Ryan's coaching career. Clearly, the defense still is playing hard for Ryan. The defense nearly pitched a perfect game. The offense managed one good drive, but there were the usual number of glitches.




Report card: Post this on the fridge

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
7:00
AM ET

ST. LOUIS -- It took more than a month, but the Jets finally came home with an impressive report card.

B-

RUSHING OFFENSE

The final numbers don't jump off the page (124 yards), but the Jets ran 41 times and ran it well enough to control the game. The money runs came out of their nickel offense, with third-down RB Bilal Powell scoring on runs of five and 11 yards -- in third-down passing situations. The offensive line did a nice job, exploiting the Rams' aggressive front four with trap blocking on apparent passing downs. They tried a few misdirection runs, and even got WR Clyde Gates involved with an end-around.

A

PASSING OFFENSE

Mark Sanchez managed the game nicely, made good run checks at the line, hit the big throws when necessary and, most importantly, didn't commit a turnover for only the third time this season. He completed 15 of 20 passes -- and two of those incompletions came on drops, by Stephen Hill and Joe McKnight. Gates and Chaz Schilens got most of the snaps at receiver, with Schilens enjoying his best day as a Jet. The pass protection tightened up after some early hiccups.

C-

RUSHING DEFENSE

The Jets never really stopped the Rams, who averaged 5.7 yards per carry. If the game had remained close, the Rams would've kept running it -- and that might have been a big problem for the Jets. Steven Jackson ran for 81 yards on only 13 carries, a 6.2 average. S LaRon Landry was a presence, recording a team-high eight tackles and forcing two fumbles. S Yeremiah Bell had a strong game with two tackles behind the line.

A

PASSING DEFENSE

Was Sam Bradford that bad or were the Jets that good? Probably a combination. Bradford (23-for-44, 170 yards) got off to a good start, but he folded as soon as he started feeling pressure from the Jets' pass rush. He wasn't the same after Muhammad Wilkerson's strip sack, which set up the go-ahead touchdown. Bradford was lost without a healthy WR Danny Amendola, who injured his foot in the second quarter and was a non-factor. S Eric Smith made a nice interception.

C-

SPECIAL TEAMS

Look at the bright side: No turnovers this week. But there were still too many mistakes. The Jets tried a fake punt, with Tim Tebow flipping a shovel pass to Lex Hilliard, and that was stuffed for a loss. It didn't surprise anyone and it was poorly executed. The other blunder was a blocked field goal. How does a 26-yard field goal get blocked? Fortunately for the Jets, PK Nick Folk drilled two 51-yarders, providing sparks in the first half.

A

COACHING

Rex Ryan scored big points for crisis management. Amid a week of controversy, his team was ready to play. Rams coach Jeff Fisher praised Ryan for preparing the Jets under "difficult circumstances." After a shaky start, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine adjusted nicely, allowing them to shut down the Rams over the final three quarters. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano rotated personnel more than usual, especially in the backfield. That kept the Rams off balance. His play calling was conservative, especially in the red zone, but conservative was the way to go, considering Sanchez's recent struggles.




Report Card: Lots of D's and F's

November, 12, 2012
11/12/12
10:57
AM ET


SEATTTLE -- Handing out grades from Sunday's 28-7 loss to the Seahawks. You may want to cover your eyes.

C

RUSHING OFFENSE

The game will be remembered for two runs that gained nothing and one run that never had a chance. On the opening drive, Shonn Greene and Lex Hilliard were stuffed on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 runs, a fourth-down gamble that backfired. It was a worthwhile risk because the Jets had led the league in short-yardage efficiency. In the second quarter, they called a counter for Tim Tebow at the Seahawks' 1, but TE Dustin Keller was flagged for a false start. The Jets didn't run poorly (3.8 per carry), but they got away from it too early.

F

PASSING OFFENSE

Are you kidding? It was brutal. Mark Sanchez passed for only 124 yards, with 75 coming in two completions. The Jets' wideouts were manhandled by the Seahawks' big, physical corners, unable to beat man-to-man coverage. Sanchez's biggest mistake was an interception at the Seahawks' goal line, a game-turning play. Keller was open for a second out of a bunch formation, but the pass was late and hung too long in the air. Tebow was 3-for-3, all bubble screens to WR Jeremy Kerley. Talk about predictable.

C+

RUSHING DEFENSE

The Seahawks ended up with 174 yards, but the total is a bit deceiving. The Jets actually played solid run defense for three quarters, holding Marshawn Lynch -- the NFL's second-leading rusher -- to 64 yards for the first 45 minutes. The front seven played well, especially Bryan Thomas, Mo Wilkerson, Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito. But the unit eventually wore down in the fourth quarter, letting Lynch pad his total.

D

PASSING DEFENSE

Well, say this: The Jets cranked up the pass rush -- even without LB Aaron Maybin, who was a healthy scratch. They recorded four sacks, including DeVito's strip sack that resulted in a touchdown -- a 21-yard return by Wilkerson. But the Seahawks adjusted nicely, as they started to move the pocket with mobile rookie QB Russell Wilson. It's tough to hit a moving target. The Jets surrendered three long TD passes, with Kyle Wilson, Ellis Lankster and Antonio Cromartie getting victimized. Wilson finished with a 131 passer rating, more than triple Sanchez's rating.

D

SPECIAL TEAMS

For the third straight game, a special teams mistake figured prominently in the outcome. This time, it was a muffed punt by Jeremy Kerley, setting up a Seattle touchdown. Inexcusable. Otherwise, the kicking units were solid. The coverage teams did a nice job on former Jet Leon Washington, who didn't break anything longer than 20 yards.

F

COACHING

This was the Jets' third blowout loss -- a damning indictment of Rex Ryan. The offense was dreadful. With two weeks to prepare, the only wrinkle they cooked up was Tebow -- in a spread formation -- throwing bubble screens to Kerley. Eventually, the Seahawks figured it out and the Jets never adjusted. How about using motion and shifts and different formations to mess with the Seahawks' man-to-man schemes? Ryan was right to stick with Sanchez, but it made no sense to pull him for a play after a 32-yard completion to Keller. Talk about a rally killer. The defensive plan was excellent, as they harrassed Wilson with a varierty of pressure packages. But the Seahawks figured that out, too.




Report card: Sorry, no A's for effort

October, 22, 2012
10/22/12
1:02
PM ET


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Handing out grades from the Jets' 29-26 overtime loss to the Patriots:

C

RUSHING OFFENSE

This is what you call running back-by-committee. Six different players carried the ball on designed rushes, including Lex Hilliard and Jonathan Grimes. Who could've figured that a few weeks ago? The Jets were held to 106 yards, but this was a tougher defensive front than last week. Shonn Greene ran hard, but couldn't get to the second level. He scored on a 1-yard run, with a great block from jumbo TE Jason Smith. The short-yardage package was excellent, covering 3-for-3.

B

PASSING OFFENSE

Mark Sanchez passed for a season-high 328 yards against a terrible pass defense, carrying the offense with 16-for-20 efficiency after halftime. But he still made a few costly mistakes -- a woefully underthrown interception, a botched handoff exchange that resulted in a safety and the inexcusable fumble in OT. That was a bad, bad drop by WR Stephen Hill, who may have cost his team the game. It's fun to watch WR Jeremy Kerley, who gets better and better every week. He posted a career-high 120 receiving yards. TE Dustin Keller is back to his old form. The pass protection (four sacks) broke down in the end, with RT Austin Howard and RG Brandon Moore surrendering the game-ending sack. It was a rare off day for Moore, who had two penalties.

B-

RUSHING DEFENSE

The Jets allowed 131 yards, 21 yards below the Patriots' average. It didn't look promising early, as they allowed a 14-yard run on the second play of the game. But the Jets adjusted nicely, with their nickel package holding up well against the run. Rookie LB Demario Davis (nine tackles) started in the nickel, replacing Bart Scott, and he played well enough to earn more time. He brings a speed element to the linebacking corps. S LaRon Landry did a nice job in run support, with a team-high 12 tackles.

B

PASSING DEFENSE

The Jets played well for 58 1/2 minutes, but they let down on the last two drives -- the final possession of regulation and the first in OT. They caused some trouble for Tom Brady, who seemed to be a loss when he couldn't find WR Wes Welker. CB Isaiah Trufant, in his first extended playing time, was a surprise starter in the nickel. For the most part, he played well against Welker in the slot. Thanks to a few well-executed screens, Welker finished with six catches for 66 yards. The tight ends hurt the Jets, as Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez combined for 11 catches for 132 yards and two TDs. Sound familiar? The Jets' biggest problem -- no takeaways by the defense.

C-

SPECIAL TEAMS

This was a game of extremes. The lowest of the lows was the terrible coverage on Devin McCourty's 104-yard kickoff return, the first TD allowed by the Jets since the Ted Ginn nightmare in 2009. On the flip side, the special teams gave the Jets a chance to win in the fourth quarter, Lex Hilliard forcing a fumble on a kickoff return. PK Nick Folk was masterful, making 4-for-4 on FG attempts -- including two clutch 43-yarders at the end of the fourth quarter. A couple of penalties hurts the grade.

B-

COACHING

No one gave the Jets a chance, and they came oh-so-close to pulling off a major upset. They adjusted their offense to attack the Patriots' weakness (defending the pass) -- and that worked well. The defense prepared well for the Patriots' controversial up-tempo offense, making it a non-issue. The coaches eased up on the gas pedal late in the fourth quarter, playing it too conservatively on both sides of the ball. You can't give Brady that much time -- 1:32 -- needing only a field goal to tie. And if you do, you can't play soft zone coverage, letting him march down the field. It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise fine coaching day by the Jets.




Report Card: A bad win

September, 24, 2012
9/24/12
11:28
AM ET
MIAMI -- Grading the Jets' 23-20 win over the Dolphins:

D

RUSHING OFFENSE

You figured it would be a day of tough sledding against the Dolphins' stubborn run defense, but the Jets should've managed more than 88 yards. Shonn Greene struggled again, as he averaged less than 3 yards per carry for the second straight week. Time to be worried? Bilal Powell made a case for more playing time, rushing for 45 yards on 10 carries. Even without injured FB John Conner, coordinator Tony Sparano made a concerted effort to establish the ground game, often using H-Back Konrad Reuland in the backfield and loading up on two- and three-tight packages. No matter; it was a rough day.

D

PASSING OFFENSE

We'll give it a D, not an F, because Mark Sanchez managed to make two good throws -- a 66-yard catch and run by Jeremy Kerley and a 38-yard pass to Santonio Holmes. Holmes tied a career high with nine receptions for 147 yards, his best overall day as a Jet. Otherwise, the passing offense was awful -- except for some decent protection. Sanchez (21-for-45, 306) was below 50 percent for the second week in a row and he threw two interceptions, one in the end zone. Rookie WR Stephen Hill (no catches, seven targets) was a non-factor again, including a dropped TD pass.

D

RUSHING DEFENSE

Reggie Bush might have gone for 200 yards if he hadn't suffered a game-ending knee injury in the second quarter. He had 61 at the half, gashing the Jets with his darting moves. The Jets should've shut down the Dolphins after Bush left, but backups Daniel Thomas and rookie Lamar Miller caused problems, as the Dolphins finished with 185 yards. The bright spot was Darrelle Revis' fumble recovery, caused by NT Kenrick Ellis.

A-minus

PASSING DEFENSE

The Jets held rookie QB Ryan Tannehill to 196 yards and a 50.2 passer rating. S LaRon Landry made the biggest play, interception Tannehill and returning it for a touchdown in the third quarter. Once again, the pass rush was virtually non-existent (no sacks), but they flustered the rookie with coverage schemes. There were some leaks when CB Darrelle Revis (knee) went out. The biggest mistake was by CB Antonio Cromartie, who nearly cost them the game when he bit on a double move -- a 41-yard reception by WR Brian Hartline.

B

SPECIAL TEAMS

Credit goes to PK Nick Folk, who capitalized on a "do over" to kick the game-winning field goal in overtime. Joe Philbin's ice-the-kicker timeout backfired, as he called it a split-second before Folk's initial try was blocked. Folk's counterpart, Dan Carpenter, choked his brains out, missing from 47 and 48 yards, the latter in OT. How lucky were the Jets? A year ago, their field-goal block team was the worst in the league, as opponents converted 29 of 30 attempts. Tim Tebow made a huge fourth-down conversion on a fake punt, calling an audible when he recognized the Dolphins' light front.

C

COACHING

The Jets were damn lucky to walk away with a win, as they were outplayed by the rebuilding Dolphins. Offensively, the Jets were restricted by injuries, hampering their ability to run out of conventional packages  and it showed. But only one TD in 13 possessions? That's not good. They were smart enough to keep throwing at the Dolphins' suspect corners, especially Richard Marshall. They unveiled Tim Tebow in a new role  pass receiver  but that didn't work out too well. Defensively, they played eight-man fronts, but still couldn't stop the ground game.



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