Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan on the sideline against theTennessee Titans during the second half at LP Field. Tennessee won 38-13. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s get right to the grades for Rex Ryan’s team, on the back of yesterday’s lackluster performance in Nashville:
QUARTERBACK:D+ Geno Smith looked every bit the rookie that he is during yesterday’s game. He continued competing, and threw a TD late, but that doesn’t change the rest of the game. Four turnovers turned into 28 points, and those turnovers were directly attributable to Geno. He needs to protect that football, and even as a rookie, deserves the low-grade.
RUNNING BACKS:C+ Bilal Powell had a good game, with 14 rushes for 66 yards. However, with the longest run being 12 yards, he never, at any point, took any sort of control. The mark of a running back playing a great game is when he takes that football and runs like he is going to win the game by himself. The running game never did anything special to help take the load off of Geno, and the Jets finally had to abandon it because they were too far behind.
It was good, it just wasn’t anything special.
WIDE RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS:C+ Again, this was a case where the group wasn’t a “problem”, but they didn’t do anything to assert themselves either. Kellen Winslow led with six catches for 73 yards. Jeremy Kerley added four receptions for 65 yards. Jeff Cumberland caught a 34 yard TD pass when the game was out of reach.
Part of the reason was that Geno wasn’t on target, but these guys didn’t do much to take over the game. Nobody demanded the ball, the way the top wide receivers do when they take over a game. And now, Hill and Holmes are hurt. God help us if either are serious.
OFFENSIVE LINE:C- This was a game full of inconsistency from the guys up front. When the running game was still in play, they blocked pretty well. Not so much for the passing game. Geno Smith was running for his life for most of the afternoon in Nashville. He was sacked five times, hurried and hit several others. There was one play in particular where the entire offensive line, all five of them, were pushed back into the quarterback.
Needless to say, this is not the way to help out your young quarterback.
Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Nate Washington (85) catches a pass and runs for a touchdown against New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) during the second half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Jets 38-13. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
DEFENSIVE LINE:B This was the top group of the day, by a lot. The defense was beaten by an excellent Titans’ game plan, but when the line could, they did an excellent job. Holding Chris Johnson to 15 carries for 21 yards is by no uncertain terms, an excellent job.
They didn’t get enough pressure on Jake Locker, and when they did get there, they didn’t close. Jake was able to scramble out of trouble too often, as the line only sacked him once (second sack was by Calvin Pace). We always know the Jets defense will play well. Yesterday was one of those days that the offense just made it too tough on them to overcome.
LINEBACKERS:B Not much to say here as well. The group played well against the run, as they certainly were part of Chris Johnson’s off day. However, they got caught in bad matchups in the passing game and it cost the Jets. The defense was stout against the run, as it always is, but not so much against the pass.
DEFENSIVE BACKS:C- It was not a good day for this group. Jake Locker was a far too efficient 18-24. Part of it was Locker’s ability to scramble out of trouble, as any defensive back can only cover for so long. But, they needed a big play, and a unit that we can often count on for a big play was unable to come up with one.
SPECIAL TEAMS:C+ The special teams group was fine. Nick Folk continued his perfect season with two field goals and an extra point. Ryan Quigley had a nice game, but you know it isn’t a good day when the punter is noticeable. There were no punt or kick returns of note, so an average, C+ seems appropriate.