Sunday Morning Quarterback: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New York Jets


Aug 17, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) celebrates a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars with center Erik Cook (70) during the third quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Jaguars 37-13. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Well, week 2 of the preseason is in the books for the New York Jets. Not that the result is that important, but the Jets won 37-13, defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife stadium last night. There were some good signs, and some things not to be too happy about. Let’s talk about it:

The first drive of the game showed a lot about what the offense could look like, when it is clicking. It showed us what it can be when the quarterback is on his game. On that opening drive, Mark was about as sharp as we have seen him, going 3-3 for 48 yards, including a 23 yard TD hookup with TE Jeff Cumberland. The chemistry between Mark and Jeff is becoming exciting. He has improved leaps and bounds over 2012, and is becoming quite the weapon.

Another guy that continues to make the most of the chances that he is getting is Bilal Powell. He did much of his work running the “Wildcat” last night, and had some giddy-up out of the backfield. He ran the ball 7 times for 68 yards, leading all rushers for the game. Chris Ivory finally saw game action, and ran it 6 times for 13 yards in limited time. He flashed, with one run of eight yards. Let’s seem more next week, as he gets back into the swing of things.

Kahlil Bell is trying to stick with the Jets again, in his second tour of duty, scoring twice.

Joe McKnight became quite the expendable player last night. Clyde Gates looked quite fast in the kick return game, running 3 of them for a 33 yard average, and Kyle Wilson added one for 24 yards. Coach Ryan has already mentioned that there are “concerns” about McKnight’s durability, for obvious reasons. Instincts tell me that he won’t be on the roster for much longer.

On defense, Ricky Sapp broke through with his first sack, exciting the fan base, but nobody more than our buddy Jake Steinberg, who has championed Sapp’s ability for two years now. Dawan Landry did his best to make fans forget his older brother Laron, leading the team with 7 tackles, 6 solo.

However, other than Sapp’s sack, that was the extend of the Jets’ defense getting to the QB last night. We have seen this story for many years as Jets fans, not having a pass rush. It’s amazing, how often the Jets draft on the defensive side of the ball, but must blitz in order to get any push on the QB. For this defense to be all that Rex Ryan envisions, they are going to have to get a rush on the QB from the front seven, without exotic blitzes.

The first team defense also had some difficulty, especially when the Jaguars ran the hurry up offense. They seemed to tire quickly, and had moments that they were blown off the ball. The low octane offense of the Jaguars took the ball right down the field on them on their first drive, moving the ball as they saw fit. When Blaine Gabbert goes 4-4 for 71 yards and a TD, you know your defense got it wrong. The backups, for the most part, outplayed the starters on defense in the second half.

Mark Sanchez played three quarters, because of Geno Smith and Greg McElroy being banged up, and overall, he played a game consistent with, well, Sanchez’s last two years. He threw an end zone interception, which will drive coach Ryan crazy. He tried to force a pass to Kellen Winslow when he wasn’t open, and the usual result happened, it was picked off. Earlier in the drive, nobody was open on a screen pass and Mark threw it into the ground, so we thought he was making a transition. Oh, well. It was a nice thought.

With Geno sidelined, Mark could have really taken a firm lead in this QB competition. He couldn’t do that, instead he left it nicely muddled. His final stats on the evening were 13-23 169 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Not terrible, but terribly inconsistent, and this is what drives everyone nuts about Mark.

The redzone offense left a lot to be desired as well.  Two times down deep in the first half, and coming away with no points?  Absolutely unacceptable, even if this was preseason.  That must get better.

I still need to see much more out of Dee Milliner before he can start opposite Cromartie. He seemed to have a tough go at times sticking with his opponent, and getting his head around to the thrown ball at the right moment at times. He seems like a young man who is learning. That is fine, but just please don’t anoint him the starter Rex. He can play in nickel for a while, it wouldn’t hurt. Danny Lansanah made an excellent play on his interception to set up points for the team. He’s a very active linebacker that everyone should pay attention to.

That’s it for the recap. I would think we are going to see Geno Smith for most of the game against the Giants. We will update as we hear more and more on that.