Sep 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano (left) and New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan shake hands after the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Jets won 18-17. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
With the return of the regular season, it’s the return of our weekly report card. Here’s what we have as far as grades for yesterday’s game:
QUARTERBACK:B- It wasn’t always pretty, so I am in no way disappointed into giving this grade. However, I call it as I see it, and there is no grade “curve” like we had when we were in school. Geno Smith gets graded like everybody else.
Geno had his moments. 24-38 for 256 yards and 1 TD is no failure, that’s for sure. He got better as the game went along, and he did put the team in position, where the Lavonte David penalty gave them a chance to win. He had the poise to stand in there and take a hit, and for the most part, either ran with the ball or threw it away when he had nothing.
The grade would have been higher, had he been able to lead them to just one more score. Had the game not come down to that final drive, because the Jets had already put it away, it would have led to a B+. The game did not have to come down to that last drive. It wasn’t only his fault, but Geno Smith takes some of the blame, but all in all, a good starting place for him.
RUNNING BACKS:C- Not a great day was had by the running backs. The offensive line was really no help, but they just didn’t get much done. When the quarterback leads the way in rushing, it’s not a goo day for your running attack. Starting back Bilal Powell averaged just over 2.5 yards per carry, and Chris Ivory was far worse. It comes out from being a D because Powell and Bohanon executed well as receivers out of the backfield, including a couple of screen passes, believe it or not.
Sep 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Kellen Winslow (81) makes a catch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS:B+ The receivers, on the other hand, did an excellent job helping out Geno Smith. They got open, and they didn’t drop the football. Stephen Hill recorded six catches, and didn’t drop one. Kellen Winslow is rapidly become an excellent safety valve for Geno, catching seven passes for 79 yards and one TD.
Although he only recorded one catch, Clyde Gates’ catch was an excellent one. Why? Because he worked his way back to the quarterback while he was scrambling. Excellent job by all. I would have handed out an A if someone had eclipsed 100 yards.
OFFENSIVE LINE:C The offensive line got it done when they had to, but it wasn’t good enough for me. They are going to need to get better quickly. First of all, there were too many unblocked Bucs in the backfield. It was unclear to me at game speed, who missed their assignments, but someone did. Geno had to run for his life too much.
The run blocking was non existent. Powell and Ivory really had nowhere to run, other than on a few plays and screen passes. Much work is needed here.
Jul 31, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets linebacker Antwan Barnes (95) reacts while walking off the field following training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
DEFENSIVE LINE: A- What a job these guys did, huh? It’s difficult to even single anybody out, they all played so well. Well, one guy deserves it once again, Damon Harrison. Starting at nose tackle, he recorded 4 solo tackles and 5 combined total.
The whole afternoon, the defensive line was in Josh Freeman’s face all day. This will be key to the rest of the year, being able to put pressure on the QB without the need for exotic blitzes.
LINEBACKERS:B+ The linebackers overall had quite a nice game as well. Antwan Barnes is looking like quite the signing with his speed off the edge. The move from Bart to Demario Davis proved to loom large yesterday as well, as he caught Vincent Jackson from behind with a huge tackle.
We didn’t hear from Ricky Sapp at all. There were also quite a few passes over the middle, which combined to bring the grade into the B range.
DEFENSIVE BACKS:C- Antonio Cromartie was torched all day long. He looked, frankly, slow. Dee Milliner had a couple of flashes, but he too was not great. The safeties cleaned up what they could, but there were too many plays that they needed to clean up.
SPECIAL TEAMS:A- Everyone was fine on the specials this week, special extra grade, bringing it to an A, to Nick Folk for a long field goal to win it late.
What are your grades?