Jul 31, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets center Dalton Freeman (right) blocks defensive tackle Damon Harrison (94) during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Monday Morning Quarterback: New York Jets vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Good morning gang, for the first time after a regular season game in 2013. It was an interesting one yesterday, was it not? We had this one, and we didn’t have this one, and we had it again. The game was not a pretty one, but we will take it.

First player to highlight, fan favorite Damon Harrison. What a story he has been, from undrafted free agent last season, to starting on opening day against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Damon is a testament to hard work and dedication. It paid off in spades on yesterday, as Damon posted five tackles, four of them solo, which is an excellent job from the nose tackle position.

It was an up and down debut for Geno Smith, although it ended up in a win. His final line was 24-38 for 256 yards, one TD, and one INT. He added six runs for 47 yards. Geno showed that he understood the idea of sliding, which was nice to see. He also sometimes recognized the need to throw the ball away, and did so.

However, this game did not need to come down to a penalty on Lavonte David. What a break that was by the way! In my view, not a great call, even though it benefited us. He was already coming towards Geno when he stepped out, and he had barely stepped out-of-bounds. David cannot just stop on a dime. It wasn’t like the play in the 49ers game with Clay Matthews where he launched into Kaepernick.

But it didn’t need to come to that. The defense stood on its head all game long. Doug Martin was stifled, and for the most part, Josh Freeman was not winning this game with his arm. 15-31 for 210 yards is not exactly a Pro-Bowl quality outing for Josh. So, the Jets defense came to play, and then some. Any time your defense allows 14-17 points, your offense should take the game. But the Jets’ offense nearly didn’t. One TD in the middle of that game, somewhere, would have made the last drive irrelevant.

Don’t get me wrong, this is to be expected. We couldn’t be looking for a perfect outing from the rookie. But, for the purpose of being honest, just a few more plays out of the offense would have resulted in this game not coming down to the end. They won the game, so that is all that matters in the end. When the season ends, nobody will remember the game for beauty, just wins and losses.

The offensive line didn’t help in the run game very often. There just weren’t the holes there, and as a result, no running back averaged three yards per carry. That will have to get better. Geno was running for his life at times as well, which speaks volumes about his poise, the way he was able to stand in there and take hits. Definitely a great building block game for Geno Smith yesterday.

The defense, put pressure all game long, which was exciting. Kudos to the front seven. Antwan Barnes posted a sack, but the fact is that the defense was in the quarterback’s face all afternoon. This might be the biggest factor to come out of this game on the defensive side, the fact that the team can get to the quarterback without an exotic blitz. If this is consistent, it will do wonders for the defense, and what it can do.

Like I said, we got the job done. 1-0 and we are off to face New England on Thursday night. But there is much work to be done.

One more comment, Dashon Goldson was dirty. He launched nasty hits on defenseless receivers not once, but twice. The referees would have been well suited to throw him out, the way he not only did it, but seemed to show no remorse that he left guys on the ground. Just an aside, feel free, as always, to share your thoughts on the game.

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