I had a great feeling all week that the Jets
were going to win today. However I didn't see them being up 41-7 in the 3rd quarter. This was such a sigh of relief for most fans and also made fans who said the Jets just weren't showing anything in preseason (like myself) look good. In my mind, there were 3 main things that catapulted the Jets to their largest opening day point output in the team’s 52 year history.
1. Mark Sanchez
This may very well have been the most comfortable Sanchez has looked in his 3+ years of being the Jets starting quarterback during a full course of a game. This is the franchise QB Mike Tannebaum drafted 5th overall in 2009. He was cool, calm and collected. He didn't let his 1st drive flick pick throw him off or take any confidence out of his game. He established great rapport with Rookie WR Stephen Hill (who is next on the list) and 2nd year slot receiver Jeremy Kerley
. He efficiently spread the ball around and got the team down the field with ease. Everybody is so quick to get on our QB but when you actually protect him and give him time to throw he can definitely be a top tier QB in this league.
2. Stephen Hill
Hill showed why the Jets traded up in the 2nd round to grab the WR. 6'5 and runs a 4.3 40 yard dash (fastest at NFL Combine .That gets coaches and GMs giddy) The wide receiving core was a huge question mark coming into the season and after today it can be put to rest at least for now. Hill can stretch the field. That's what was missing last season. Yes, they had a big receiver in Plaxico Burress
but between his 2 year absence from the game and older age, he was not the down the field deep threat he was in his Steeler/Giant days. He was great in the red zone, but wasn't much of a threat outside it. When Braylon Edwards
was here, he could at least take defenders away from the middle of the field and stretch it, keeping shorter patterns and the middle open for Santonio Holmes
and Dustin Keller
. Hill brings that dynamic back to Gang Green and will always have to be accounted for especially after his impressive NFL debut today. (5 recs 89 yards, 2 Tds)
3. Austin Howard
2 weeks ago, all us Jets fans, and for great reason, were getting very restless with the right tackle aka. #WayneWatch situation. I still say if they didn't address it, we could very well be at 0-1. Yes, it was that big of a necessity. It was one of the biggest days of the offseason/preseason when the Jets finally made the move we were all waiting for and benched, and eventually traded Hunter. Enter Austin Howard. An undrafted 3rd year, fairly unknown tackle who spent time with the Eagles
. He's got the proto-typical lineman size at 6'7 333 pounds. Today, he made one of the best pass rushers in the game in Mario Williams
look like a ghost. If we can get that production out of Howard all year and give Sanchez the time and protection, the sky is the limit for this offense.
Yes, it's only 1 game. Yes, they are only 1-0, but the Jets made a statement in their win against the Buffalo Bill in an important division game. You have to be as happy as you can be as a Jets fan after week 1. If the Jets can go 5-1 in the division (split with NE, sweep Bills
, Fins) and get through the next 4 games (Steelers
, and Texans
) with a winning record, I really believe this team can win 11, possibly 12 games. The offense that many referred to as a "joke" maybe will have the last laugh in the end Stay Tuned..