3 Major Takeaways from the New York Jets vs. Detroit Lions Game

Jul 31, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) walks to the practice field prior to training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Topics: Geno Smith, Jets Vs Lions Game, Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

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  • Paul Newbold

    Interesting take on that game. O line dropped the ball in the run game, I think the final stat was 1.3 yrds per rush, sad even for a preseason game. Way too many offensive penalties to boot, but it is game 1 of the pre season. The jury is out on TE, if Winslow stays healthy and Cumberland steps up, they may be able to contribute to the pass game. My concern is their blocking abilities in the passing game, and their contribution in the run game. The Jets are long over due for a top notch TE, but I’m not sure if he’s on this roster. You make an interesting argument about the QB’s roles (though highly unpopular), the Jets fans have had it with Sanchez and the few Mcelroy fans that I know, jumped off his ship last season when he had a dismal performance. McElroy is a smart kid, pretty athletic and knows this system, his arm strength has always been the knock on him. He is accurate in the short game (he can throw a screen without being intercepted), and has picked up some good blitz reads. Solid back up for Sanchez if they choose to start him. Geno looked a lot like Mark on friday night, tentative, and indecisive….he even seemed to be struggling with the game speed. I like your analysis. Start Mark, let McElroy back him up and let the kid sit and learn from his offensive coordinator and quarter back coach. I’m not sold on Geno being this team’s future QB quite yet and wouldn’t be surprised if they drafted another QB in next year’s draft.

    • Vincent Hall

      Thanks. I’m definitely a GMac fan. Whenever a QB is short, or doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, people say he’s not starting QB material. This was said as far back as Pennington (NFL career completion percentage leader), and even up to today with players like Andy Dalton and Drew Brees. I think he drives the ball better than Pennington ever did which tells me he’d be just fine as a starting QB.

      • Paul Newbold

        Doug Flutie was my favorite “too short to play in the NFL” Quarterback! LOL

  • Dustin Schrank

    I would have to go Mcelroy, Smith, Sanchez. Sanchez is the only QB in the league to consistantly throw picks to linemen, and on top of that he should have thrown 2 pick 6′s, Winslow saved his butt on a great reaction to Sanchez poorly thrown ball. Well maybe Sanchez will get injured its the only way I can imagine Mcelroy getting on the field. I thought Dee looked good, since I didn’t hear anyone mention it.

    • Vincent Hall

      True about Milliner, I thought he looked good considering he’s been practicing for only a short while with the 1′s. He doesn’t get his head around enough, but they targeted him often and he delivered. Sanchez, I thought settled down after about 4 passes and was pretty solid his last 8-10 passes or so.

      • Dustin Schrank

        I agree he was solid after the first 4 passes but that second one shoulda been a pick and I dont know how to justifie another int to a lineman but well see first hand because I think hes gonna get the nod either way.

  • Yoshi

    McElroy should start we’ve seen him do this last year too I think if given a real chance he might really be good

    • Vincent Hall

      Thanks! Sometimes I think that I am the only one that sees it. He plays with confidence, the game isn’t too big for him, and you can see he is playing with a passion that I don’t really see from anyone else.

      • Yoshi

        Problem with him is that he was given one start last year and he didn’t come through which I don’t think was enough of a chance truthfully

  • Frank Antonelli

    Why are we constantly making excuses for Mark. There is no way we can win consistently with the amount of brain dead plays he makes. McElroy proved last year that his deficiencies are too great for him to ever be a quality NFL QB. It’s understandable that people get enamored with him but he’s not the answer and time will prove that statement correct. The jury is still out on Geno but quite frankly he’s our only hope at the QB position.

    • Vincent Hall

      I’m not so sure. I don’t blame the Interception on Sanchez, although that’s the easy thing to do. It was a combination of Ferguson not engaging Ansah so that Ansah had to keep his hands down. Not only did he disengage the block, but he did it as Sanchez was throwing that pass. If I remove that play, I think he did pretty well, and although he should take the blame for the INT, it is not solely on him.

  • matr dontelli iii

    it’s easy to talk about mcelroy’s limited ceiling, which is kinda like what we had with chad. with mcelroy’s physical limitations we would have to have a strong defense and special teams and we could go as far as they take us. it’s long been acknowledged that the defense is and will continue to be the strong suit of this team. geno is simply not ready yet and there’s no point in starting him unless you want to flush the season and go for a high draft pick. i don’t wanna see that. if mark continues to give the opponent as many points as he scores for us we should start mcelroy. however, if markie can settle into mornhinweg’s system and thrive then that’s another story. there were plenty of mistakes on friday and we shouldn’t only hold the qb accountable while giving everyone else a mulligan. that said, if we’ve got to rely on the special teams and defense to carry us we may as well give mcelroy a try. and as silly as this may sound, given that one of markie’s greatest abilities has been bringing the team back when all seems lost at the end of the game, maybe we should try him in just that role. let greg start and if we’re losing late put markie in. be innovative

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