EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18: Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets catches a first quarter touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium Stadium on September 18, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
The Jets are 2-0 after winning a 32-3 laugher today in the Meadowlands against the Jaguars. Although some early miscues caused stress, this one was much easier on the nerves than the opening week win. A defense that did not play well in the opener made Luke McCown look like Curtis Painter.
More under the jump.
Antonio Cromartie: Cromartie bounced back from a bad opener as he should have facing an opponent with a normally suspect receiving corps depleted even further by injuries. He was rock solid in coverage. He registered a pair of interceptions, doing what he should have done when a quarterback forces a throw in coverage. He was also much better as a return man, averaging 42 yards on kickoff returns and almost running an interception back for a touchdown.
I have one nitpick. When you are running down the sideline, the ball should be in his outside arm so that it goes out of bounds in case you get stripped. Cromartie is running with it inside. He did this on the interception return and then switched it outside as he was extending it for a touchdown. That is when the ball should be on your inside arm trying to keep it in bounds. Aside from that, Cro had a great game.
Muhammad Wilkerson: Maurice Jones-Drew had the least effective 88 yards on 18 carries I have ever seen. The Jets did a great job up front. Wilkerson stood out for a sack that resulted in a safety. Beyond that, he was winning his assignments.
Sione Pouha: He deflected a pair of passes. He also controlled the point of attack. Jones-Drew broke a few big runs, but his good numbers were not a result of consistent good chunks of yardage.
Mike Devito: He was also part of the good work up front. He finished with 5 tackles.
Eric Smith: I thought he would play well today because Jacksonville is a good running team. He was great in coverage, though. He jumped a pass early to break up a pass and picked one off later.
Shonn Greene: His 49 yards on 16 carries does not tell the whole story. His run blocking, particularly with Nick Mangold out, was suspect. Greene grinded out more yardage than he had any business getting running through arm tackles and exploding through tight running lanes. His average was also hurt a bit by getting carries on obvious run downs.
Darrelle Revis: You barely heard from him because he locked his man down so thoroughly that McCown did not even bother throwing his way.
Dustin Keller: It is nice to see the Jets exploiting the mismatches he poses. The Jaguars could not cover him with their linebackers. He found the open spots in the defense and was explosive after the catch, finishing with 6 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Santonio Holmes: He only had 3 catches for 42 yards, but he broke ankles on the move he made on his early touchdown reception. That touchdown set the tone for the game.
Mark Sanchez: Perhaps it is hypocritical of me to put him here this week after listing him as bad last week for turnovers. Both interceptions were bad. One was a force. The other was a result of staring down a receiver. Those throws are just the player Sanchez is at this point in his career. I guess we should resign ourselves to it. Not to sound trite, but Mark is a gunslinger. He takes chances. His two touchdowns were throws into tight windows. They encourage him to take similar chances that result in plays like the interceptions. A lot of quarterbacks would not have thrown the balls he threw for interceptions. They also would have avoided the throws he made for touchdowns. He is a high risk-high reward guy right now. That is enough for today. The defense had his back after the mistakes. The 71% completion percentage is encouraging. He also made smart decisions to tuck and run as he finished with 3 carries for 29 yards.
Kyle Wilson: He was good in coverage. He tackled to limit any damage when there was a completion. He forced a rushed throw as a blitzer. So far, the Jets have to like what they have seen from their third corner. A defense like this cannot have too many good cover guys.
Calvin Pace: He finished with 5 tackles and was a presence in the first half getting into the backfield to make plays.
Nick Folk: The kickoffs were not as good as last week, but he was 3 for 3 with a 45 yarder.
Jeremy Kerley: He really did not get a chance because Matt Turk punted well. He made smart decisions, not trying to do too much. He also baited some gunners into touchbacks by focusing on him instead of the ball's trajectory.
Josh Mauga: With an interception and a pass defensed building off a strong preseason, he is making a case to get on the field as a nickel linebacker.
Wayne Hunter: It is one thing to get whipped by DeMarcus Ware. It is another to get whipped by Matt Roth. Hunter got Mark Sanchez hit a few times and got beaten badly a few other times that were no quite as obvious. Even worse, he took two penalties, one a personal foul. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but it was very annoying to watch him laugh after the two penalties. You have been horrible this year. You just made a boneheaded play to dig a hole. This is funny? I have seen guys get cut for stuff like that. It will not happen with Hunter because he just signed a new contract, and the team has nothing behind him. He improved as the year progressed last year. Jets fans can only hope for something similar this year.
Collin Baxter: He has an excuse. He is a developmental undrafted rookie free agent. He is not supposed to play this year. He looked the part. The snaps were discombobulated. One resulted in a false start. Another got Greene's clock cleaned because the rest of the line was not ready. He looked lost as a blocker. He was confused with his assignment and ended up blocking nobody too frequently. This is to be expected. Disturbing is that Nick Mangold's injury did not look good, and four straight opponents, Oakland, Baltimore, New England, and Miami with strong interior defensive lines are up next.
LaDainian Tomlinson: Ineffective as a runner (6 carries, 8 yards), not much of a factor in the passing game (1 catch, 7 yards), and a big drop to end a drive right before the half.
Marquice Cole: Bad penalty as a gunner and blew another tackle.
- Plaxico Burress was not necessarily bad. He had no catches, but he was off the field a lot. When he was on the field, he drew attention. That opens things up for other guys. Keller and Holmes are now the big guns in the passing game. Other guys might be doing their job even if they do not get numbers.
- I really liked the reverse to Antonio Cromartie even if it resulted in nothing. It gives the defense something to think about. Even when he does not get the ball, when he is faking an end around it prevents defenders from flying at the running back. With Wilson's emergence as the third corner, the concerns about an injury become less. Cro is a better option than Jerricho Cotchery was last year.
- I know there will be calls to bench Wayne Hunter. Just because a guy is really bad does not mean a downgrade is impossible. He has not been great, but he is still better than what the Jets have behind him, at least until Robert Turner gets back. Yes, I am sure. If he is still playing like this then, maybe the Jets should consider moving one of the guards outside and having Turner play guard.
That makes the Jets 2-0 for the second time in three years. Next up is a trip to Oakland to play a Raiders team that had its heart ripped out today before a really tough stretch. The Jets are banking wins early, which is what they need to do.