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With the first week of preseason in the books it’s time to take a look at the Jets 16-20 loss to the Houston Texans on the first Monday Night Football of the season. The starting teams were only on the field for the 1st quarter and the 2nd stringers, 3rd stringers, and rookies played the rest of the game. C Nick Mangold, RG Brandon Moore, and WR Plaxico Burress all didn’t play due to injuries.
Starting D: The Jets starting D was up to its old tricks again only allowing the Texans high powered offense, though missing top targets Arian Foster and Andre Johnson, to 24 total yards in the 1st quarter.
They caused a 3 and out with a sack on the first series and were able to force a punt on the 2nd and final series. Kyle Wilson had a nice play on a 3rd down pass to TE Owen Daniels on an out route causing the pass to be dropped and forcing the punt. Bart Scott was hurt on the first play from scrimmage, but walked off on his own power and returned in the 2nd series.
Starting O: The starting offense looked good with both the passing and running game moving the ball down the field even though some key pieces were missing. QB Mark Sanchez went 4/4 on the 1st drive and finished 6/7 with 43 yards connecting with 3 different receivers.
RB Shonn Greene showed that he was capable of being the feature back collecting 32 yards on 5 carries showing good strength and speed breaking a 20 yard run. New receiver Derek Mason looked good in his brief appearance catching 3 passes for 21 yards. Sanchez was sacked twice in the 1st quarter.
2nd Team Woes: The backups looked confused in their first game, but that’s to be expected with the lack of time with the teams and the systems. Rex Ryan was furious on a 1st and goal play where a miscommunication occurred and there were too many players on the field. Ryan was animated running onto the field to call a timeout and throwing his hat and his headset.
The 2nd team got burned a few times on play action bootlegs by Texans backup QB Matt Leinert one leading to the Texans only TD. The 2nd team defense surrendered 98 total yards and 13 points in the 2nd half while the 2nd team offense led by rookie QB Greg McElroy was unable to score anything only able to gain 46 total yards.
Vlad the Impaled: With starters Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore out with injuries Rob Turner and 2nd year player Vladimir Ducasse got the start. Ducasse got burned badly on two plays both leading to sacks.
On the first play he got beaten by rookie DE JJ Watt and Watt ended up falling on Turner causing him to be taken off on a cart. On another play he got beat badly on the outside and allowed McElroy to get popped causing a fumble.
Rookie Impact: Overall it was a pretty good game for the Jets rookies. 1st and 3rd round picks DE Mohammed Wilkerson and NT Kendrick Ellis made themselves known on the field both having strong games. Wilkerson showed great speed and power against the 1st team, but was caught offside one time by a hard count.
Ellis also showed great power and awareness blocking up the middle on many plays and tipping a pass that led to an interception for the Jets. WR Jeremy Kerley wasn’t really a factor from scrimmage, but looked good in the return game having a bunch of solid returns. He looks to have a big impact filling in for the loss of WR Brad Smith.
RB Bilal Powell had an alright game with his biggest play coming on a screen for 29 yards bringing the ball down to the 1. QB Greg McElroy looked solid in his first NFL game going 23-29 with 208 yards 1 TD and 1 fumble. He bounced back from a shaky second quarter showing more poise and control in the pocket leading a nice drive down the field for the lone Jets touchdown.
Other Notes: Backup S Brodney Pool had a solid first half posting 5 tackles and TE Jeff Cumberland made some noise posting 6 catches for 77 yards. The battle for kicker continues as Nick Folk went 2/2 hitting from 33 and 40 and Novak hitting from 35. RB Joe McKnight was playing well until he exited the game with a head injury. The Jets out gained the Texans overall 310-221 and committed 8 total penalties.
Overall this was a solid preseason opener for the Jets. The first teams looked strong and the 2nd and 3rd teams didn’t play that bad considering the lack of preparation time.
This should improve as the team has more time in training camp. The Jets could have won the game, but rookie WR Michael Campbell dropped the potential go ahead touchdown in the final minute. Next up for the Jets is the Bengals next weekend.