There is no other point in the NFL season where overreaction and hyperbole are at their height than after Week 1. All we have to go on other than a meaningless preseason is one 60 minute game. A game that, barring season-ending injuries, will not tell the whole story of a team’s season. Every player who played well is a beast and every one who struggled is either on the decline or a bust. Let’s look at a few of these reactions and see which ones have basis in reality and which are fool’s gold.
Overreaction: Antonio Cromartie is on the decline and is going to be exposed as a number 1 cornerback.
Cromartie did get abused by Vincent Jackson (who finished with over 150 yards) and looked a step slower than we are used to seeing from a man who relies so much on his athleticism. I am not ready to panic yet because not only is Jackson the type of receiver who gives Cromartie difficulty normally because of his short area quickness and hard cuts but Cromartie hadn’t had a full practice since after the 3rd preseason game where he developed a hip injury against the Giants limiting his play to 1 quarter. Cromartie practiced fully on Tuesday and should be good to go for tonight’s matchup against the Patriots. What’s the reality? Antonio Cromartie is a very good number 1 cornerback, but he isn’t Darrelle Revis and does have his flaws against quicker receivers but he should be able to get back to the player we saw last year tonight or definitely after the long break before Week 3.
Overreaction: The offensive line is going to be terrible and there will be no such thing as a running game.
In Week 1 the Jets allowed 5 sacks, including a strip sack that led to a Tampa Bay touchdown, and rushed for a poor 2 yards per carry outside of scrambles. Geno Smith was only 5-12 while under pressure including a fumble and an interception. Tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold had poor games to go along with Vlad Ducasse. The line has been a work in progress even through the preseason. Is it time to panic? What’s the reality? The Jets are breaking in two new guards, Willie Colon and Vladimir Ducasse, and a transition like that takes time for a unit to gel. What is making this tougher is the fact that Ducasse did not win the job until after the 4th preseason game and was sharing reps with Brian Winters which gave the line less time to learn to play with each other. While there is certainly cause for concern with Ducasse’s overall ability the line should improve as the they play together and the year progresses. With the exception of Ferguson the rest of the line is known more for their run blocking so that should come around sooner rather than later. The Buccaneers were the number 1 ranked rush defense last year and played like it in Week 1.
Overreaction: Geno Smith is or Geno Smith isn’t a franchise quarterback.
Geno Smith finished his first game as a professional 24-38 256 yards with 1 TD and 1 interception. He also had 6 rushes for 47 yards. He had his good moments such as an excellent drive before the half for a touchdown culminating in a touchdown pass to Kellen Winslow, Smith scrambled for some key first downs, he led 4 scoring drives including two of 13 plays or more as well as got the team in position for the game-winning field goal. He also struggled while under pressure going just 5-12 and yielding two turnovers while under duress. Smith also failed to put the game away going 3 and out with 2:30 left in the 4th quarter when a first down or two would have iced the game. What’s the reality? Only time will tell how Geno Smith develops. There were promising signs where he showed toughness and poise. The game did not look too big for him but he also is going to make mistakes. The ups and downs for a rookie quarterback are completely normal and what we should be looking for is trends that develop over time and how he handles the mistakes he will make.
What do we know about the Jets after Week 1? Not that much but one thing we do know is that this team has more talent than most of the prognosticators gave them credit for and there seems to be hope for this young core of players.