By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
Well, there you have it: the first preseason game is in the books. Neither team was overly impressive in the first quarter in which the starters played, but the Bengals had the upper hand in the third quarter to give them a big lead.
Neither Sanchez nor Tebow had great nights. Tebow did manage to get the Jets on the board, but Sanchez was able to avoid turnovers, while Tebow threw an ugly interception.
Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of the Jets first live action of the season:
Quinton Coples: Coples was the best player on the field all night. He has already gotten his first sack to go along with a forced fumble and simply dominated the second and third teams of the Bengals. His physical dominance was on display, pushing around guards and providing the Jets with an interior pressure they have not enjoyed for quite some time.
Most importantly, he was stout in the run game, playing with his eyes and shedding blocks with ease. He was also able to get some quality time with the first team, and the moment was not too big for him. Very encouraging performance for a player that needed to prove that he was not the second coming of Vernon Gholston.
Garrett McIntyre: McIntyre is on the bubble this year because of added depth at linebacker, but he made a strong case for himself tonight. He had a sack on an inside move and was getting consistent pressure.
Joe McKnight: Bilal Powell did get the nod as the third-down back with the first team, but McKnight proved to be the better back tonight. While not as well-built as Powell, McKnight was the most explosive offensive player for the Jets.
Yeremiah Bell: Bell didn’t see a ton of snaps, only playing a quarter of defense, but he made a nice play on a pass breakup early on, showing great closing speed and recognition. These are exactly the kind of plays the Jets will need him to make moving forward.
Jay Richardson: Not many people have been talking about this guy, but he had a great first outing. He showed quickness and good hand use, making plays both as a pass rusher an in the run game.
1st Team Offensive Line: Austin Howard, who filled in for Wayne Hunter, looked mostly adequate and was better in pass protection, but the real issues lie with blitz pickup. All of the sacks on Sanchez came on blitzes where Mark really had little chance to escape.
When Mark did have time, he threw the ball rather well, so the Jets really need to hone in on this aspect for next week.
Julian Posey: Posey looked lost and indecisive. You can’t be slow to react and expect to stick around in the NFL.
Tim Tebow: I’m not going to kill Tebow here, because he did give the Jets a bit of a spark when he came in, but it could not be more clear that he is simply not an NFL thrower. His interception to Vontaze Burfict (yes, that guy who went from being a first-rounder to a UDFA in a matter of weeks) was ugly. He was slow to read defenses and get the ball out.
I will give him this: the man in hard to bring down, making him a perfect Wildcat quarterback.
Muhammad Wilkerson: Wilk didn’t have a bad game by any stretch, but I was hoping to see a bit more out of a guy that was getting so much hype in camp. He didn’t have an easy matchup against Andrew Whitworth, who had his way with him on a few plays, but if a player like him is going to be special, he needs to prove he can beat the best.
Overall, this game did not have too many individually poor performances, but the ineffectiveness of the offensive line had rippling effects throughout the offense. If they can get better at picking up blitzes, we could see dramatic improvements on both sides of the ball.