EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The fourth and final preseason game for the New York Jets proved that the team has a few things that they need to work on, if not, the problems will only become bigger. Playing the Eagles or “The Dream Team” as QB Vince Young has named them has been a good test for the team but has also shown their weakness in certain spots.
It doesn’t seem to be bothering coach Ryan, he is looking passed the concerns and says his team is fine.
“I don’t think I have any concerns. We are always two and two in the pre-season. Same old Jets I guess.” Ryan said.
Young got off to a hot start and looked like the QB that lead the Titans to some big wins. He moved up and down the field with grace and carved the second string Jets defense up pretty badly. He threw for (15-23 193 yards) and engineered two long touchdown drives in the first half of the Eagles’ preseason finale against the Jets Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. On most likey his last snap of the night Young rolled out to his right on a 4th and 1 from the Jets 9 yard line and went down with a hamstring injury. If it wasn’t for the injury Young would have had a clear lane to the end zone for yet another touchdown for the Eagles offense.
On the other hand, the Jets first team offense has yet to look better than average so far this preseason. So, with the team entering into their fourth and final game before the start of the regualar season we look for their second team offense who has been a bright spot so far to shine once again.
Getting the start tonight was rookie QB Greg McElroy. In his appearances so far he has looked good and put together a sort of rhythm for his second team offense but tonight was a completely different story.
The offense started off slow and McElroy never got into the rhythm that we have been used to this preseason. He was having trouble finding receivers and getting rid of the ball in certain times. His below average night (3-6 for 29 yards) ended early because of a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand that happened after hitting it on a defensive linemans helmet.
“It’s just so frustrating. It’s just one of those things, McElroy said, ” we play a sport, in this game, injuries are part of it. You never want to get too down, because it can happen to anybody.”
Could his struggles be blamed on the thin depth of the offensive line? Who surrendered six sacks tonight. The ‘o’ line looked lost the entire night. Penalties, penalties and more penalties. After coming around on the Monday night game against the Giants, Vlad Ducasse once again looked lost out there. Committing numerous false start penalties and getting beat almost every time on the line. This problem, if not worked on, will only grow into a larger monster for the Jets.
“Vlad had three penalties today so that’s what I know so that is clearly disappointing, Ryan said. ” Again, I hate to say it one way or the other, just going off what you guys saw and what I saw with three penalties , more than anything. I thought he had his moments. He struggled the first game and then he picked it up after that. In this one, maybe he took a step back, I am not sure. He did have a few penalties so obviously we have to get better there.”
At the half coach Ryan made it clear that he was not happy with the efforts a few players were showing.
“I’m disappointed in a couple of guys.” Ryan said, but he was impressed with Drew Willy. “The young man has stepped up and done a nice job so far,” coach Rex Ryan said at halftime.
And stepped up he did. The undrafted QB in 2009 from Buffalo Drew Willy stepped in and took the leader role and ran with it. His first pass was complete to WR Scotty McKnight for a 14 yard touchdown. Willy went on to finish the game (9-17 for 109 yards).
“Anytime you get a chance to get out there and compete, that’s what I love to do, Willy said. “I think I made some throws here and there and I’m just trying to get better each and every day and look at the film tomorrow and see what I could have done better because I’m sure there’s a lot of things I could have done better.”
Willy filled the void well tonight but I could not say the same for the Jets defense. Yea, it was the second team, but they were playing against a second string offense, so the matchup should have been a bit better. The Eagles ran and passed all over them tonight. There was a couple of golden stars out there tonight for the Jets, like, Nick Bellore, Aaron Maybin and Ellis Lankster who had a pick six that he raan back for a 67 yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter that pulled the Jets within seven points but could never recover to take the lead.
As for the run game, it struggled again and again. It seemed to be the reocurring problem in the preseason. RB Dion Lewis rushed 15 times for 62 yards, including a one-yard touchdown and by himself out ran the backs that started for the Jets. They finished the game with a total of 24 yards on the ground, not good enough to win football games. Ryan seemed displeased.
“We ran for a whopping 1.5 a carry so that’s awful.” Ryan said. “There never seemed like any holes and we never ran through anything so it was a bad day obviously so we will look at it. I am sure the league is going to think we can’t run the football now. We will find out who is right. Maybe they are right.”
Overall, the Jets played like unconditioned athletes. This might have been due to the fact they only had two days off in between tonight and the Monday night game or maybe due to the lockout situation. Ryan disagrees and is making no excuses for his football team.
“I think we are in pretty good shape. I really do.” Ryan said. ” We are team that generally has 100% participation in our off season program so we always think that’s an advantage to us. But our guys, they took it upon themselves and they came back in shape.”
The season will begin September 11th for them at home against the Dallas Cowboys which is now only ten days away. They will cut their team down to 52 and make their practice squad team by next week to get ready for what lies ahead.
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