Jets Lose to Texans: Post-game Breakdown

The Jets lost their preseason opener to the Texans, 20-16.  They probably should have won, but no big deal. It’s only preseason, all hope is not lost. The game was entertaining, at least, which is more than can be said for most preseason games.

There were some encouraging signs for the upcoming season.

+ Mark Sanchez looked sharp, completing 6 of 7 passes for 43 yards in his limited time on the field.  Manish Mehta of the Daily News broke down Sanchez’s passes in offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s plan:

Three-step drops: 4-4, 33 yards

Quick hitch: 1-1, 5 yards

Screen: 1-1, 5 yards

Designed rollout: 0-1 (dropped pass)

vs. 4-man pressure: 3-3, 16 yards

vs. 5-man pressure: 2-3, 23 yards

vs. 6-man pressure: 1-1, 4 yards

Not bad, although it is a small sample, so we’ll have to keep an eye out for how this develops. Accuracy can be a weak spot in Sanchez’s game, but outings like this can be great confidence builders.

+ Shonn Greene had 5 carries for 32 yards (although one carry was helped along by a penalty), and it was good to see him getting through open holes. Last season, Greene excelled at gaining short yardage with an average 4.1 yards per carry, but it always felt as though he were running into the pile. It would be a huge advantage to the Jets if he can continue get through holes created by the line. Sure, this depends on a lot of factors, including how they platoon Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson, but hopefully Greene will continue to gain more yards per carry.

+ Third string quarterback, rookie Greg McElroy, settled down after he started with 3 incompletions and a sack & fumble. He was 23 for 39 for 208 yards and a touchdown. McElroy played most of the game after Sanchez was pulled because second string QB, Mark Brunell, was out with a finger injury. McElroy looked particularly composed as the Jets made their way back down the field at the end of the game without about a minute left. His pass to rookie wide receiver Michael Campbell was in exactly the right place, but Campbell dropped it. A catch would have been the go ahead score at the end of the fourth quarter.

+ The starting defense allowed the Texans only 24 yards in the first quarter.

Then, there was some stuff that really needs to be improved before the season gets underway.

+ The Jets continued a trend of being unsuccessful in the red zone.  On their first drive, they had three plays inside the 20, but couldn’t reach the end zone. They couldn’t even effectively move the ball. This resulted in a 33 yard field goal from Nick Folk instead of a touchdown. Gang Green’s offense stalling in the red zone last season was frustrating to even the most patient of fans, and has to be remedied this season if they want to have any chance of delivering on Rex Ryan’s standing Super Bowl promise.

+ For a team that prides itself on defense (again, the starters only allowed 24 yards in the first quarter), the pass rush last season was inconsistent at best and nearly non-existent at worst. The starting defense only pressured Matt Schaub once in six drop backs, although it did lead to a sack. The pass rush is effective when it’s there, so a consistent pass rush would be an improvement. It’ll be something to look for as the season goes on.

+ The offensive line looked weak, allowing seven sacks for the game. Starters Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore were sitting out, but they’ve got to do a better job of protecting the quarterback than that.

+ The Jets were flagged for 9 penalties that cost them 65 yards.  Even in preseason, nobody likes to see that many penalties. Even though it was only the first game, discipline needs to improve if the Jets want to win.

Other news:

+ It’s being reported that Rob Turner, the Jets’ top backup offensive lineman, needs surgery on the broken leg he suffered in the Jets’ loss. They don’t know how long he’ll be out, but it’s supposed to be up to 12 weeks.

+ Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told a New England radio station that he’ll “never get over” the loss to the Jets last January, and that as a team, the Patriots learned a lot from it. The idea of Tom Brady sitting around all offseason actively looking for new ways to burn the Jets is a scary thought (particularly if you picture him stewing in his underwear, maniacally watching film with a bottle of whisky and a five o’clock shadow).  And knowing that Brady is extra motivated to beat New York this season should make all Jets fans a little nervous. Still, we know that after all these years the Jets have permanently gotten under Brady’s skin, and there’s a little part of every Jets fan that’s saying, “Good.”

So what did you think of the preseason opener, Jet fans? Sound off!

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