Remember how great the feeling was last week when the Jets beat the Bills to go 2-1? It felt like the Jets were onto something and might be a surprise team this year. It felt like a franchise quarterback might be emerging. While we cannot close the book on this team or this quarterback, those good feelings were all but erased in today's 38-13 loss to the Titans. The game was every bit as lopsided as the score would indicate. Join me below as we paint the word picture on this most unhappy recap.
Geno Smith: If you have read this site during the Mark Sanchez Era, you are probably used to reading, "A team cannot win with a quarterback playing like that," in one form or another. Add today to that list. If you look solely at Geno's stats, 23 for 34 for 289 yards, you might think his play was adequate. It was not because he coupled those numbers with four turnovers. The Titans followed all four with a touchdown.
Turnovers happen with a rookie. It is just there are turnovers, and there are TURNOVERS. Sometimes a guy misses a block, a quarterback expects a receiver to run a different way than he does, a defender makes a spectacular play, or there is some other mitigating factor. That has not really been the case with Geno Smith this year. He has eleven in four games. He has had at least two in every game, and they all seem to be really bad ones. They certainly were today. The replay angles were not great, but the first interception looked like some combination of a forced pass to a window that wasn't there, a late throw over the middle, and an inaccurate pass. The second looked like a total force. The first fumble was a result of him both not sliding and leaving the ball totally exposed on a scramble in his inside hand. On the second, he froze when the Titans got a man charging at him. There also was another moment he froze in the face of the pass rush in the second half that was almost a safety and another near interception on a forced throw into a window that wasn't there.
You can live with certain things from a rookie, but turnovers this bad have to be a huge concern. At this point, the only option the Jets really have is to stick with Geno, learn how he deals with adversity, and hope he starts learning. He hasn't so far.
Offensive Line: This by no means takes Geno off the hook, but this was a really poor job in pass protection. It seemed like there was a busted assignment whenever the Titans threw a wrinkle into their pass rush packages.
Vladimir Ducasse: On a bad line, Ducasse has earned his own section. His play at left guard is bringing back shades of Adrien Clarke in 2007. He played well against New England. In the other three games, he has been a blown block machine and an enormous liability in pass protection. He got flagged more than once today and was responsible for numerous pressures. I'm offering the Ducasse fan club a deal. You admit he hasn't gotten better, and I will agree completely. Sound good?
Darrin Walls: Sometimes substitute players look good in limited action because they are really good. Other times they look good because they get easier assignments and don't play enough to have their weaknesses exposed. It is too early to say for sure, but Walls sure looked like the second type today when he got the start. The Titans seemed to view him as a weakness on this defense and attacked him a lot in the first half to great success. Walls also did a lousy job tracking the ball on the touchdown right before the half, which essentially put it out of reach. Kyle Wilson gets a lot of heat, but he seldom has looked as bad as Walls looked today. THAT is a guy getting toasted.
Defensive Line: The Jets did well to bottle up the Tennessee run game, but it felt like Jake Locker had a clean pocket on most of the decisive plays in this one. The line that generated so much pressure on Buffalo was nowhere to be found today.
Antonio Cromartie: He was the culprit on a pair of touchdowns. The second was a 77 yarder in garbage time where it looked like he got away with a penalty, had an official help him out by impeding the progress of Nate Washington, and still allowed the touchdown completion.
Quinton Coples: The first Titans touchdown looked like a total breakdown so it is difficult to say for sure, but it looked to me like it was Coples' responsibility in coverage. He bit hard on play action. I think perhaps people didn't give enough thought to the concerns about the position switch in the offseason. Many dismissed the idea of being worried about him in coverage because of how infrequently he would be asked to drop. That wasn't really the point, though. The point was he would be a fish out of water in the few times he would be asked, and those plays could really burn the Jets if they ended up going poorly.
Ben Obomanu: He hurt the cause with three penalties today. That is not good from a veteran player on the back end of the roster. Many say John Idzik likes to tinker with the back of the roster. This would be a great place to start.
Penalties: The pushups did not work. The Jets were flagged 10 more times today. The coaching staff has a lot of work to do.
Nick Folk: He hit a pair of long field goals today and registered a pair of touchbacks. At least the kicker was good.
Bilal Powell: Powell used to look like a jack of all trades, master of none. These last two weeks he has looked like a back with everything but breakaway speed. He had 108 total yards today, including a 4.7 average per carry and a 36 yard catch and run.
Kellen Winslow II: He was one of the few to provide life to the passing game today with 6 catches for 73 yards and another big grab that was wiped out by a penalty.
Demario Davis: It's nice to finally have speed in the linebacking corps. He had a few hiccups, including one in coverage and another missed tackle in space, but he was all over the place stopping the run with a team-leading 9 tackles.
Dawan Landry: He had 6 tackles, and many were key stops to prevent a first down or stop a play in its tracks.
Jaiquawn Jarrett: He hit hard today with some big stops and separated a receiver from the ball more than once with a thumping.
So the Jets are 2-2. This one was ugly. Hopefully this team can bounce back, and hopefully Geno can clean up his game.