This week the Jets beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-13. While it is always good to get a win and some excellent performances with it there also more than a few areas of opportunity that need to get fixed before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town to kick off the regular season.
1) Mark Sanchez’s first 2.999 drives – Sanchez looked in control as he drove the team 58 yards in 3 minutes hitting Hill for 11, Kerley for 14 and a 23 yard touchdown to Jeff Cumberland. His second drive he led the team 53 yards with completions to Kerley and Bohanon but threw his first incompletion of the night when he overthrew Stephen Hill on a 3rd and 2. That led to a field goal. His 3rd drive he continued to drive the field and looked good. Then came 3rd and goal from the 3 yard line. You can find the rest under bad.
2) The Offensive Line – The offensive line play was excellent both run and pass blocking. The only sack the first unit allowed was a coverage sack where Sanchez held the ball too long. Of note, Willie Colon was a beast last night opening up a monster hole for Bilal Powell to run through for a 37 yard gain. Austin Howard passed blocked cleanly and Stephen Peterman played well and did not commit a penalty despite getting nicked up a couple of times. The second unit line was outstanding as well led by Vladimir Ducasse. That is not an error I said Vladimir Ducasse. I will wait for you to get up from the floor. Ducasse played around 50 snaps and performed well even recording a pancake block on a 3rd quarter run. Tommy Bohanon run blocked well but couldn’t hold his pass blocking assignment on a delayed blitz which resulted in a sack. Also Oday Aboushi improved tremendously from game 1 and deserves credit for straightening himself out.
2) The Running Game – The Jets rushed for 37 yards last week and Bilal Powell averaged less than 2 yards per carry. This week was an entirely different story. The team had 176 yards rushing and dominated the line of scrimmage. Bilal Powell was quick and elusive in picking up 68 yards on just 7 carries including a 37 yard run. Chris Ivory debuted and only had 13 yards on 6 carries but showed his violent running style on an 8 yard run where he ran over a defensive back before he was taken down. He also did not appear limited by his hamstring and he got through the game without injury. Khalil Bell ran well and had 2 short touchdown runs. Mossis Madu had 9 carries for 34 yards as the game wound down. With Ivory and Powell the Jets have a very good one two punch to open the season with. Hopefully Mike Goodson will appear at some point too.
3) Special Teams – Clyde Gates showed terrific burst and nice awareness as he broke two long kickoff returns. Gates had 3 returns for 100 yards (a 33.3 yard average) including a 44 yard return to start the game. Ryan Quigley took advantage of Robert Malone’s absence averaging 46 yards per punt including 2 inside the 20 yard line. Folk’s first 2 kickoffs were touchbacks and he hit a 54 yard field goal also. The coverage teams were solid and even recovered a muffed punt at the Jacksonville 3 yard line at the end of the first half.
4) Tone Time – Santonio Holmes advanced his rehab for the second time this week when he ran sprints at full speed and also ran some routes and caught some balls before the game. All accounts were that he looked good. Holmes should avoid the PUP list at the beginning of the season and could play anywhere from Week 1 to Week 3 depending on when he returns to practice and how he works himself into game shape. I wasn’t banking on anything from Holmes this year so this is a very positive development.
5) Lack of Penalties – After having 11 penalties and looking sloppy in the opener the Jets were only flagged 4 times for 35 yards including a very questionable late hit on David Harris.