New York Jets Week 8: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly & Dee Milliner
Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
The Jets were destroyed in Cincinnati by the Bengals 49-9. It was a brutal day all the way around and not too many bright spots but we will highlight what was. So without further adieu here is the good, the bad, the ugly & Dee Milliner for Week 8:
1) The game only counts as one loss in the standings – Despite how ugly, embarrassing and terrible Sunday’s loss was it still only counts one game in the standings. Big picture the Jets are 4-4 and almost to the end of the toughest part of their schedule. This is where a young team struggles normally and the Jets are young all over the place not just at quarterback. The New England game was a very emotional game for this team so some sort of let down was inevitable and the players learned today that if you let down in this league it will get ugly against a good team and it did.
2) David Nelson – Nelson quickly became Smith’s favorite target with the Bengals taking Jeremy Kerley out of the game and Nelson delivered with eight catches for 80 yards. He ran good routes and was able to beat man coverage as well as find soft spots in the zone. Nelson’s play will improve as Holmes returns so defenses will focus more on Holmes and give Nelson easier match ups.
3) Muhammad Wilkerson – Wilkerson had a sack, a quarterback hit, a tackle for loss and an interception of a screen pass in a game where he was one of the few who came to play or were competent today. Each week Wilkerson continues to grow into more and more of a star and has blossomed into the dominant talent we hoped he would become. He now has seven sacks in eight games after having just five sacks all of last year. Damon Harrison also had a good day against the run with seven tackles (three solo).
4) Nick Folk’s field goals – Three more field goals for Folk Sunday. One from 45, another from 47 and a third from a season-high 50 yards. Folk has still not missed on the year and is 19-19. He has also kicked three game-winning kicks in the 4th quarter and overtime in the 1st half of the year.
5) No major injuries – David Nelson and Stephen Hill both left the game briefly with leg injuries but both returned and the Jets left the game relatively healthy. If Santonio Holmes is able to return next week the Jets should be full-strength and can work on resting the nagging minor injuries during the bye week. In a league where almost each game has season-ending injuries the Jets have avoided the major injury unlike last year.
Oct 27, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) passes the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
1) Geno Smith’s bad day – Geno Smith was 20/30 for 159 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns in the second half. In the first half, despite a lot of pressure, a couple of sacks and a number of quarterback hits, Smith hung in there and took what the defense gave him (not much), threw the ball away appropriately and scrambled when necessary. He was 13/19 at that point but he came unraveled after his first pass of the second half was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. It was clearly not his fault as we will talk about it later when we discuss that receiver. You could see that Smith was really upset with the receiver and Smith could not refocus. Smith threw from the far hash mark towards the sidelines late twice and the second one was picked off and returned for a touchdown. That was 100% his fault and Rex Ryan did the right thing by pulling Smith down 40 points. From an accountability standpoint and from an injury prevention standpoint it made sense. Ryan spoke to him personally and explained the decision and Smith on the surface seemed to understand it. I wish they all weren’t returned for touchdowns but these ups and downs are going to happen. How Smith plays next week will show his ability to move on from bad games. He has done it so far this year as the Jets have not had a two game losing streak (or winning streak).
2) Jeremy Kerley – The Bengals’ game plan was to take Kerley out of the game and they succeeded. Kerley finished with three catches for 27 yards and all the catches were insignificant. What lands him in this area is that Geno Smith’s 1st interception was completely his fault. Kerley ran a lazy option route where he was indecisive, rounded it off and made no attempt to get the ball thrown where it should have been. Smith put it where Kerley should have been and Crocker was able to step in front because of Kerley’s poor route. The game was pretty much over at that point anyway but it is lack of effort from a player who is known for giving his all that was troubling.
3) Pass rush? What pass rush? – The Jets had 24 sacks on the season going in to the game and thrive on pressure defense (or the illusion of pressure). Leaving the game the Jets have 25 sacks. Only one coverage sack for Wilkerson and one quarterback hit told the tale of a Bengals line that owned the line of scrimmage in the passing game and gave Andy Dalton all day to do whatever he wanted and most of that was down the field.
4) The kickoff coverage team – Nick Folk’s kickoffs were short of touchbacks every time and the coverage unit, with the exception of Ellis Lankster, could not tackle Brandon Tate. The play that broke the back of the Jets was after they kicked a field goal to move to within 21-6 with just over a minute left in the half Brandon Tate returned the ensuing kickoff 79 yards to the Jets’ 21. The Bengals got a touchdown in the waning seconds and the Jets never recovered. In total Tate averaged 33.3 yards per return and the angles taken to tackle him were terrible.
5) Every wide receiver and running back not named David Nelson – Of Geno Smith’s 20 completions and 159 yards David Nelson had eight receptions and 80 yards leaving 12 receptions and 79 yards for everyone else combined. Kerley, Hill (four receptions for 23 yards) and Cumberland (one reception for 9 yards) were nowhere to be found. The throws down the field, other than one to Cumberland, were nowhere to be found. The running backs (Powell and Ivory) went for 16 carries and 30 yards, a 1.85 yard per carry average. The game plan was flawed in that it started with Powell and ignored Ivory until the 3rd drive and there was one screen and one shot down the field. More shots down the fields could have been called but not open but the game plan lacked creativity and flow.
Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
1) The secondary – If the secondary covered anybody today I didn’t see it. Andy Dalton stood there and dissected the defense to the tune of 19/30 for 325 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. Marvin Jones had eight receptions for 122 yards and four touchdowns and was open on every play. AJ Green caught 2-53 yard bombs over Antonio Cromartie who was in a chase position all day. Drops by Sanu and Green prevented Dalton’s numbers from being even higher. With all of the deep throws there were no safeties in sight. Dawan Landry was invisible and Allen was attempting to cover Gresham and Eifert. Kyle Wilson was just there and trailed along with Cromartie on one of Green’s catches. Darrin Walls came in late in the 2nd quarter to help on Jones but still allowed the touchdown. There is someone else I am not mentioning because he gets his own section later.
2) The offensive line – 1.85 yards per rush before garbage time, four sacks, seven quarterback hits and many, many pressures allowed made this an ugly game for the line. Coming in we knew the Bengals had a very good front seven but today they were dominant. Geno Atkins had a sack, a tackle for loss and three quarterback hits. Between his sack and Thompson’s it was clear they were targeting Brian Winters and Winters was not up to the challenge. Between Smith and Mangold the offensive line shifts were off and Reggie Nelson came free for a sack and another quarterback hit, Crocker came free to stop a 3rd and 1 run and on at least 3 occasions a free rusher came and made Smith throw the ball away without the play having a chance. Winters needs to start improving or it will break the rest of the line who are cheating over to cover for him.
3) Quinton Coples – Didn’t we used to have a player on the team named Quinton Coples? Coples was nowhere to be found. He was active then he wasn’t there. He just hasn’t been the same player since his surgery for the hairline fracture in his ankle and now he doesn’t show up at all. Is he healthy? Is it his attitude? Somebody put out an APB out on him because the Jets need him. They needed a pass rusher today and they got nothing.
1) Dee Milliner – Milliner deserves his own section because, at this point in his career, he is clueless. He has no idea where the ball is, he is faked out easily on double moves and is a liability wherever he is put right now. On one specific play Marvin Jones caught the ball in front of him, juked, then Milliner couldn’t figure out where Jones was or find an angle to tackle him before the safeties had to save a touchdown. Now I would not bench him entirely because if he doesn’t play he will not develop but he needs to split snaps with Walls. Walls is clearly better now but Milliner has a higher ceiling.