By Ryan Alfieri
For the first time in months, we finally got a chance to see the Jets in real uniforms playing real football with real tackling—with mixed results. The Jets clearly are far from a complete team, but there were good signs coming from players who don’t usually provide them.
Here are some quick thoughts following preseason Week 1.
Mark Sanchez is still Mark Sanchez
Give Mark credit for rebounding nicely from his ugly first-series interception, as he manufactured a nice touchdown drive shortly after. However, this continues to be a theme of Sanchez—he has stretches of competence, then blows you mind with his innate ability to turn the ball over in the most spectacular way possible. I mean…there was no one even CLOSE to wherever he was trying to throw the ball. It’s honestly difficult to process how he manages to make these mistakes on such a regular basis.
Geno still has work to do
Before his ankle injury, Geno looked solid and he did not turn the ball over, but he clearly is far from a finished product. He is a bit clunky taking snaps from under center and left a few plays on the field. This is hardly a rare trend for a rookie in his first preseason game, but some time on the bench may do Smith some good.
The Offensive line is offensive
The worst unit of the night was, by far, the offensive line. They racked up an inordinate amount of penalties, blew assignments, were beat in one-on-one matchups and got no push in the run game. The only lineman who looked like NFL players were D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. Oday Aboushi, Austin Howard and Willie Colon had rough nights. This unit still has a way to go as they work in two new starters.
Receiver depth is much-improved
The Jets still need an injection of star power into this group, but there is no question that depth this year is a huge upgrade over last year. Zach Rogers, Clyde Gates, Ryan Spadola and Ben Obomanu all had strong nights. This is going to be a fierce competition as camp heats up.
Coples is not an outside linebacker…yet
Coples had some pressures rushing from his new linebacker position, but he was clunky out in space. This is not going to be an easy transition, but the good news is that he can still get to the quarterback.
Quiet night for first-rounders
Dee Milliner started out strong with a nice pass defense on a would-be touchdown, but he let up a long completion and struggled in his technique while turning and running. Sheldon Richardson had a quiet night on the stat sheet, but he spent a lot of time facing double teams.
Greg McElroy makes his move
McElroy was starting to lose grip on his role as the third-string quarterback, but he made a strong case for himself when he came in for relief of Geno Smith. He’s no Joe Flacco in terms of arm strength, but he showed some improved velocity on the ball, poise, and accuracy. It would be hard to cut a guy like McElroy after that performance.