Finally, the NY Jets first preseason game is in the books.Â Here are my initial thoughts and observations based on what I watched during the entire first quarter, and the minutes of the second, third and fourth quarters.
– Overall, the offense played well.Â Although Mark Sanchez only played one quarter, he looked sharp.Â He connected on 6-7 plays and the one missed opportunity wasn’t his fault.Â Backup tightend, Matt Mulligan, missed a very catchable ball.Â However, the mid-season chemistry between Sanchez and his wide Receivers, Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason, was in full effect.Â Holmes looked like his normal self, while Mason appears to have transitioned into the new offense well.Â This is great news because only the good Lord knows what’s really going on with Plaxico Burress and his ankle.Â I truly hope the Jets are being overly cautious monitoring his injury.Â But, after seeing the work of Sanchez-Holmes-Mason, I have lots of confidence in our offense.Â Our running game looked great too.Â Shonn Greene looks ready to go, and that’s a good thing.Â After we released Thomas Jones and signed LaDainian Tomlinson, last season, it was expected that Greene would produce like a number one back.Â While the Tomlinson-Greene tandem looked good, Tomlinson surprisingly was the workhorse.Â But, it’s hoped and expected that Greene will finally step it up and play like a number one back, this season.Â Based on what he displayed Monday night, I think he’s ready.Â I just hope he holds onto the ball.Â The only knock against the offense is that we didn’t score a touchdown in the redzone, but more on that later.
– Since training camp opened, all of the Jets’ beatwriters have been raving about how good the rookie WR and special teams kick/punt returner Jeremey Kerley looks.Â Entering the game, I was most eager to see if he measured up to the hype.Â After finally getting a chance to see him for myself, I’ve gotta cosign everything I’ve heard and say that this kid’s got some potential.Â Despite his small frame, he’s listed at 5’9, so his real height is probably closer to 5’7, he’s explosive and can take a hit.Â I predict he’s going to be a fun kick/punt returner to watch, despite the new rules.Â Mike Westhoff, special teams coach, showed that he’s going to get creative with the new rule and try and have some fun with it this season.Â Lucky for us, Kerley seems ready for the task!
– I debated, with myself, if rookie QB, Greg McElroy, should be listed as one of the good parts of last night’s game and I concluded that he should.Â For one, he finished with an 82% passer rating.Â Not bad for his NFL debut.Â Although he did have three fumbles with one resulting in a turnover, he did not throw any interceptions.Â Certainly a noteworthy stat, especially considering he wasn’t exactly being covered by the best offensive linemen that we have to offer.Â No matter what though, he bounced back and was ready to go on the next play.Â While I admit, it was uncomfortable at times watching him breakdown mentally, or watching the second and third string WRs drop many catchable passes last night, I still saw potential in McElroy.Â In fact, I was most impressed with his 2 minute drill execution in the fourth quarter.Â Although he didn’t lead the team to a game winning touchdown, I had fun watching him try. At one point, I thought I was watching an episode of Friday Night Lights.Â But, unlike the Panthers, the Jets loss the game.
– Seeing Jim Leohnard healthy and back on the field was also one of the highlights of the game.
– After a disappointing rookie season, I was encouraged to see Kyle Wilson make some good stops.Â In the first quarter, he had a great read on a Matt Schaub to Kevin Walter play.Â It’s too soon to tell if his offseason training with Darrelle Revis paid off, so teams will continue to exploit the mismatch early and often.Â But, last night when Wilson was tested, he made a couple of solid plays.Â If he consistently shows signs of improvement, this will be a major boost to our defense this season.
– As I alluded to earlier, the bad is that we were still unable to score a TD once we marched into the redzone.Â After a pretty perfect drive, Sanchez was sacked on 3rd down and we were forced to trust in Nick Folk to put us on the board.Â No offense to Folk, but I’d rather we rely on him for the extra point, not a field goal.Â Last season, the Jets were ranked No. 30 in the league with regard to redzone production.Â Pathetic.Â Yet, despite that horrific stat we still made it to the AFC Championship.Â If we’re able to improve in this very important area, I like our chances this season.
– Watching Rob Turner go down early and get carried off the field was definitely the ugliest moment of the game. While no official update with regard to the seriousness of his injury has been given, it’s safe to say that this will be a big blow to our offensive line if he misses significant playing time due to this injury.Â Second-year right guard, Vladimir Ducasse proved that he’s still not the answer.Â He failed to protect both Sanchez and McElroy last night.Â Let’s hope Turner’s injury isn’t as bad as it looks and he’ll be ready to go for the regular season.Â Otherwise, look for Tannenbaum to bring in a veteran to replace Turner.
All in all, I think the Jets showed good effort in their first preseason game.Â If we get Plax into a game, and become more productive in the redzone, I’ll be a happier camper.Â This Sunday the Jets face the Bengals, who will probably be the worst team in the league.Â This should be a fun one!