Tonight the Jets faced a big test in their 2nd preseason contest versus the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jets were without their #1 wide receiver, running back and tight end but still were able to move the ball against a stout Bengals defense. The starting defense played poorly but their depth helped them defeat the Bengals 25-17. How did it break down? Here are the quick hits:
1) Geno Smith has a good 1st half – Smith finished 10/13 for 98 with 0 touchdowns and one interception. He ran three times for 21 yards and a touchdown. He was calm and poised and consistently made good progressions. The interception was a miscommunication between he and Nelson based on which way Nelson should have turned. The passes otherwise were accurate and catchable. The Jets had a nine play drive for a touchdown, a 10 play drive for a field goal and a short four play drive for a touchdown which capitalized on a Cincinnati turnover.
2) The offensive line and skill position players have a better night – In the 1st half the Jets ran for 124 yards on 18 carries (6.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. Geno Smith was not sacked and only faced heavy pressure a couple of times. Chris Johnson led the way with 10 carries for 63 yards. Johnson showed burst both in gaining the edge and rushing up the middle. He also caught two passes out of the backfield. Bilal Powell had 41 yards rushing on only four carries and two catches for 13 yards. Greg Salas has stood out with good hands and decent burst with a 20 yard catch in the 1st half. Stephen Hill had an excellent catch on a 3rd and 16 for 17 yards and had a good run block. Jace Amaro had a good 17 yard catch in the 1st half, another seven yard grab where he leapfrogged a defender and had an 18 yard catch on a tight end screen nullified by penalty in the 2nd half. Amaro has looked good in the games and is slowly developing like a draft pick should.
3) Andy Dalton eviscerates the Jets defense – Dalton didn’t miss going 8/8 for 144 yards and a touchdown. AJ Green had three catches for 69 yards, including a 35 yard catch against Antonio Allen (he did clearly push off but receivers get away with that regularly). Allen was not responsible for any other receptions and played well in my opinion. Kyle Wilson got beat twice by Mohamed Sanu for two catches for 56 yards and a touchdown including a 44 yard touchdown. Dawan Landry was late coming over on both big plays. Curiously Calvin Pryor did not play in the 1st quarter with the starters. Gio Bernard had seven rushes for 22 yards including a 1 yard touchdown run. The secondary was terrible but there was no pressure either from the front 7. The 1st team didn’t start looking good until the Cincinnati 1st team left the game.
4) Penalties in the 1st half – The Jets had eight penalties for 95 yards in the 1st half, all but one of which were on the offense. These included personal fouls on Willie Colon (2), Breno Giacomini (2 but only 1 enforced), and Brian Winters (2 personal fouls, 1 holding penalty) and Stephen Hill had a phantom personal foul. Colon has to keep his cool or he will lead the league in personal fouls and cost the team games.
5) Calvin Pryor debuts – In his first series he recovered a fumble forced by a Demario Davis strip sack then later on he laid out Dane Sanzenbacher forcing him to drop the ball. The Jets blitzed him on multiple occasion with fumble recovery and a batted pass off of his pressure on another. He made a tackle behind the line for a loss on a run. Pryor looked very, very good. It will be interesting to see if he starts on Friday against the Giants or at least plays against the Giants’ starters.