Staff writer Vincent Hall checks in with three points he took away from last night that he wanted to share.
First off, the offensive line is not a power line. Early in the first quarter, I watched the Jets 1st team O-line try some pretty straight forward up the gut running. It resulted in some 1 and 2 yard gains and a few stops right at the line. I think the line will be very good as the season goes on, but where it will shine is in finesse and in pass blocking initially. The same linemen, that stayed in a few more series when Geno Smith came in, were far more successful on pitches, draw, and zone read running plays.
Next up was the receivers. I have been wondering who will step up, and frankly I’m pessimistic about the quality of receivers on the team when the real regular season games start. One thing that I didn’t realize until tonight was that there may be a strength in the tight ends in the passing game. Not including Jeff Cumberland’s touchdown on a busted coverage, the tight ends, and Winslow Jr. in particular were routinely getting open in the short and intermediate area. Every time I saw the play extend or Sanchez check down, in the replay was an open tight end. I hope that given time, Sanchez, or Geno, or whoever will start to look for the tight ends faster, and more routinely. I also think there may be a possibility in this offense for some two TE sets with Cumberland and Winslow Jr. or even as a base offense at times.
Lastly, and I will keep this brief was the QB competition. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I think the Jets should put Geno Smith 3rd on the depth chart. I’m sure a lot of people aren’t going to agree with me on that, but that’s the way it looks to me. First, he needs a year to just develop and get the pace of the game down. Secondly, I think Sanchez played well. He threw the INT, which everyone is going to harp on, but a tackles job is to make sure he gets a defensive lineman’s hands down on screen plays. D’brick disengaged the DE just as Sanchez was passing and it resulted in an easy interception. Other than that Sanchez hit 10/13 for +70% completion and 12+ yards a completion. He also in only 13 passes had 3 throws of 20 or more yards. Even though it’s preseason I think that’s pretty good. Geno Smith while only missing 1 pass, didn’t really move the ball as well (not all his fault) and in multiple series finished with under 50 yards. He did complete some safer short throws and not turn the ball over.
This brings me to my point. I think Greg McElroy is freaking great. Every time the guy plays well, it is followed by an asterisk that he played against a third string. I think the guy was very accurate in short and intermediate throws. He moved his feet well in the pocket, and extended the plays resulting in a TD on one drive, and he’s always moving the sticks. He was 11 of 19, but by my count he had two passes bounce off the hands of Spadola, one drop by KJ Stroud, one by Rogers, and another by a tight end on a 3rd down that would have made it 1st down. That’s 5 I count, and 4 because one was a diving grab that Spadola couldn’t get. His final stat line should have been 15/19 or so. Basically 75% of his passes hit his target in the hands.
If it is a genuine QB battle, in my book the depth chart is Sanchez 1st, followed closely by McElroy, followed closely by Geno Smith. In my opinion this would work out best, because it would allow Sanchez to drive up his value, McElroy to provide real completion and/or a solid backup QB. Also Geno Smith looks like he might need a season to really be ready to take the reins. All that said, I thought it was a positive and productive preseason week 1 game.