The Jets offense struggled for the second game in a row as they put up only 11 points falling to the Redskins 16-11. With the loss the Jets preseason record now stands at 1-2. The team will play its preseason finale next Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia. Here are some of my thoughts after watching the game.
- Most importantly, Calvin Pace left the game in the third quarter in what is being called a “foot injury.” After the game, Rex said that Pace will miss “a couple of weeks.” His injury will force Jason Taylor into the starting lineup for the time being. It remains to be seen whether Pace will be ready for the season opener on September 12th. If he is out for any extended period of time, it would be a huge loss to the Jets defense. Pace is the Jets best pass rusher and is also stout against the run.
- Mark Sanchez finished the game 13-21 for 139 yards and one touchdown and one interception. While those number may seem fine, Sanchez played worse than they indicate. He threw a costly red zone interception after he zeroed in on Dustin Keller and DeAngelo Hall anticipated the pass and intercepted it. Luckily, Jerricho Cotchery hustled down the field and tackled Hall and prevented what easily could have been a pick sick. His touchdown drive came when the Redskins had their second team defense in. I don’t want to get too hung up about a preseason game because there is no game planning involved, but you would like to see Sanchez played better. In three games, the starting offense has produced only two touchdowns in 18 possessions.
- On the bright side, the ground game looked fantastic. LaDainian Tomlinson is making me eat my own words. He clearly still has some gas left in the tank. He showed great burst and exceptional vision on his runs finishing with 86 yards on 11 carries. I continue to be more impressed with Tomlinson every time I see him play. He looks like a man on a mission this season. Don’t forget about Shonn Greene, who ran with power tallying 56 yards on 12 carries and a few Redskins with bruises.
- The defense was good, bending but not breaking. I feel like that will be the case without No. 24 on the field. Granted, the opposing quarterback was Rex Grossman, not Donovan McNabb. Rex Grossman can make any defense look good. He made a few nice throws, but was mainly ineffective and cost his team two points by mishandling a snap that resulted in a safety.
- Dustin Keller looked like Sanchez’s favorite target. The duo connected for 46 yards on fix completions and the teams lone touchdown.
- Vernon Gholston had a solid game. (I never thought I’d say that). The former sixth overall pick had a fumble recovery on a punt return and also had a quarterback hit forcing an errant throw.
- I’m not worried about Nick Folk, despite the fact he missed an extra point. It’s an extra point, who cares? I’d be more worried if he was shanking field goals. He connected from 45 yards out and nearly made a 62 yarder, which fell just short.
- Kyle Wilson looks like he has a bright future in this league. I think it’s safe to say Mike T hit on another first round pick.
- Vlad Ducasse struggled and looked out of his league at times. He played with the first unit in the third quarter. He whiffed on a block which ended up with Sanchez being taken to the ground hard on his shoulder. Sanchez had a wrap on his shoulder after the game, but it was purely precautionary. Ducasse looked likes a player who is thinking too much on the field instead of just playing. Eventually, I think he’ll get it, but it will take some time.
- It was an up and down night for Joe McKnight. He had another impressive punt return, but he also lost a fumble. This marks the second game in a row McKnight has lost a fumble. The rookie needs to improve his ball security, if he wants to be a part of the offense this season.
- With Mark Sanchez playing into the fourth quarter, only Mark Brunell saw time in relief. This could be an indicator that Kellen Clemens is on the chopping block. Brunell was pretty brutal in relief though. He completed only one of three attempts and lost a fumble. Granted, the protection was awful, but his throws were wobbly.
The Jets close out the preseason next Thursday in Philadelphia against the Eagles. Don’t expect to see most of the starters though. Rex is expected to give them some rest in preparation of the the season opener, which is almost two weeks away. I can’t wait for some football that actually matters.