"It's only the pre-season, it's only the pre-season, it's only the pre-season", I envisage thousands of Jets fans across the country, across the world, repeating these words right now. The saying goes it;s never as bad as it seems, and I sure hope that rings true because tonight was bad; it was very bad.
However it really is just pre-season, and the play calling is reigned back on both sides of the ball, home and away team. As much as the players will say they were going all out. The vets are not, no way. Our watered down system was beaten by the Redskins watered down system. At least that's how I'm looking at it, so on we go:
LaDainian Tomlinson: Finished the night with 11 carries for 86 yards and that's pretty damn impressive. It included a 43 yard run which he may have taken to the house had it not been for a stumble. He pounded inside, he cut through the middle, he stretched it to the outside. He did pretty much everything that you'd want to see from a #1 back, let alone a 1A back. His burst is still there, the vision is still there, and if his pre-season form continues into his regular season form, we'll be uttering the words Tomlinson and renaissance in the same sentence a lot.
Shonn Greene: 12 carries for 56 yards is not eye opening but his ability to keep his legs churning and pick up the extra couple of yards will be crucial this season. He takes a lot of pounding but his brute physical presence just makes LT's change of pace style all that more effective. He was very solid tonight and the running tandem can go home positive with their own performance, if not the teams.
Dustin Keller: 5 catches for 46 yards and a TD on a night where the passing game looked horrendous. He ran some great routes, he was open more than he received the ball. He made a nice stretch move to get in for the TD and after not having a TD for so long as a team, I couldn't leave Keller out here. His blocking also looked like it was better although Hartsock came in for a lot of those situations.
Steve Weatherford: That is one of the best games I've seen from Weatherford, those shakes must really be working for him. His longest was 56 yards and he dropped two inside the 20 yard line, both of which were downed inside the 10. When you have a D like ours, pinning them back inside the 10 yard line will help a lot, and the way the passing O looked. We're going to need it.
Join after the jump for the bad and the ugly
Special Teams (Certain Assignment): I wondered whether to put this in here or not but I'm going ahead with it anyway. We caused a turnover and McKnight had a good return with a great block from Digs. However did anyone notice on kick-off the Redskins gunner coming completely untouched and unabated down the right hand side? on 2 (maybe 3) different occasions he came in and made the tackle on Brad Smith who had nowhere to go. This wasn't a big downside, and wasn't "that" bad, but that was strange to see.
Vlad: It's blocking like we saw in the 3rd quarter that sends your QB to the injured reserve list. He completely whiffed on a Gholston (the other one) rush which led to Sanchez getting driven into the turf. Sanchez had a wrap on his shoulder post game and it could have been worse. Right now I have to believe that Slausen has the edge in the battle for the LG spot. Vlad has plenty of potential and he's a rookie we need to be patient with, but Matt is head and shoulders above him at the minute.
Damien Woody: I have no idea what is wrong with Big Wood right now, but he is getting beaten on that outside shoulder far too often. You watch him and then you watch D'Brickashaw Ferguson. We noted againstthe Giants the ease with which JPP got around Woody for the sack. Well it doesn't always lead to sacks but pressure on Sanchez is never good. He had another outside rush pass him by tonight that actually did lead to a sack.
Nick Folk: He has been a welcome surprise early, but he has to go here for missing an extra point attempt. There really is no excuse for that to happen. He almost connected on a 62 yard field goal, and he kicked his other FG attempt from 45 yards. He also failed to get the ball into the end zone once on kick-offs.
Penalties: 5 penalties for 46 yards, that's all that needs to be said. A couple surprisingly went to Ferguson, who was called for a couple of holding penalties. Cromartie was done for a holding penalty as well which negated an interception. Penalties put you in a hole, and they stall drives. Take some laps gentlemen.
The Very Ugly
Passing offence: I said in the game thread that with Revis or without him, we won't be winning a Superbowl unless Mark Sanchez improves. There was very little evidence tonight to suggest he has made improvements apart from the slide. He got baited by Hall into throwing into double coverage, and thankfully Cotchery got his butt back down field to make the tackle or that could have been a pick 6. He was telegraphing passes, the rhythm and timing wasn't there. At no point did you have any confidence that Sanchez was leading this team to the end zone. He did in the 3rd and you have to give credit there. However the pattern of a poor passing offence that we have witnessed this pre-season continued tonight. 13/21 for 139 yards, and that's with pretty conservative play calling. We need more completions and less turnovers.
Turnovers: How many tonight? 4. We had 3 fumbles and 1 interception in the Red Zone, and that quite frankly is just not good enough. Sanchez's interception we already talked about. McKnight has to do a better job protecting the football, hell learn that as he gets used to running between the tackles. Santonio needs to protect the football after the catch and he needs to know that. Brunell was put behind a terrible offensive line, but protection of the football is paramount. Unfortunately turning the ball over puts too much strain on the defence and although our first team D bent but didn't break tonight, there is only so much they can do. You get in the red zone, you have to put points up on the scoreboard.
Injuries: Matt has already touched on this, but Calvin Pace is out for a "few weeks", you really don't know with comments like that just how long, but that's a big blow. Our pass rush looked pretty mediocre tonight without bringing the house. Pace is one of our better pass rushers, if he does miss week 1, that is a big loss against Flacco and the Ravens.
I may have forgotten a few things here, but this is what immediately came to mind.