Jets over Bengals 27-7: Post-game Breakdown

The Jets won their preseason home opener vs. the Cincinnati Bengals 27-7 on Sunday night.  After finally being able to watch the game, some things jumped out at me right away:

+ Wide receiver Plaxico Burress looked impressive after being out of the game for so long and then missing the start of training camp with an ankle injury. It’s a relief to see that he and quarterback Mark Sanchez are on the same page. He lined up for 30 of 32 plays in the first half. According to Rich Cimini at ESPN, this is the break down of where Burress lined up:

Left side: 18 times.

Right side: 11 times.

Right slot: 1 time.

Hopefully, Burress continues to improve and stays healthy. He can open up the field for Santonio Holmes, drawing the attention of the safety and allowing Holmes to go deep.

+ Safety Jim Leonhard’s interception and 35 yard return was a great sign after Leonhard broke his leg last winter. He’s been saying he feels good most of training camp, but we really got to see how good he felt this time, easily weaving in between players.

+ Mark Sanchez looked good again, particularly with the Jets pinned on their own goal line. With a well-executed fake, he was able to shake the defense and throw the ball to a wide open Dustin Keller, gaining 43 yards on the play.

+ The offensive line’s game fell flat. Pass protection improved from last game, but the running game suffered this time. The Jets rushed for only 16 yards with the starting offense on the field. Running back Shonn Greene was out due to an infection in his foot and Brandon Moore missed his second game, but those aren’t really excuses for the dismal numbers, particularly when the team’s approach is supposed to be “ground and pound.” Holes were scarce for running back LaDainian Tomlinson. People will blame LT, and the whispers of his slowing down due to age will begin, but the fact of the matter is that there just wasn’t much room for him to run.

The Jets O-line was one of the best in the league last year, but they haven’t looked so good during this preseason. They need to improve for the Jets to win.

+ This might be nitpicking, but I thought the special teams were a bit sloppy. There were some misplayed punts and one play where the ball should have been downed inside the 5 and instead was a touchback. Mike Westhoff, the special teams coach, can’t be too happy with that.

Other news:

+ Rex Ryan said that backup quarterback Mark Brunell, who has suffered a hand injury followed by a pulled calf this preseason, will be ready to go by the home opener September 11 vs. Dallas. If not, rookie Greg McElroy will be the number 2 QB behind Sanchez.

+ Former Jets outside linebacker Vernon Gholston had some comments about at Rex Ryan and his time in New York this week. Now with Chicago, Gholston was drafted 6th overall by the Jets in 2008 and was moved from defensive end to outside linebacker by former head coach Eric Mangini.

Apparently Gholston’s relationship with Ryan was rocky from the start, and he claims that he never got a fair shot to become much of an impact player here.

“At the end of the day, being a first-round pick you would hope for more,” Gholston said. “But I’ve got no hard feelings toward anything. It was great playing for Rex and Mangini before him and being a Jet.”

Rex Ryan, of course, had a response and didn’t agree.

+ Shonn Greene has declared himself ready to go vs. the Giants on Saturday night, and that the severity of the skin infection on his foot was overblown by the media.

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