EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It may have taken three preseason games, but the Jets offense has finally showed up to the stadium. After averaging 4.3 yards per play over the course of their first two preseason games, the Jets had three plays of 20 or more yards — a sign that the team is moving forward with positive yardage.

Yes, they still have yet to find the end zone.

But it’s a step in the right direction for a new offensive unit looking to find their identity. The pass set up the runs of Shonn Greene (10 attempts) and the offense moved with a flavor more tasty than vanilla.

Get the good/bad/ugly of the Jets first half against the Carolina Panthers.

Despite being down 10-9 at the half, here are some things that stuck out.

  1. TEMPTING TEMPO: The offense came out revved up and ready to go, starting out in a hurry-up style offense. It worked early on. The team picked up big chunks of yards in their opening series, setting the tone for an offensive output that wouldn’t be so, well, offensive. Despite the change of pace, however, it’s still the same old thing for the Jets offensive — still can’t close the deal. A big issue remains their ineffectiveness on third downs (1-for-5).
  2. TWO-MINUTE DRILLED: After getting the ball back with a 1:11 left in second quarter at their 25-yard line, the Jets didn’t run any type of two-minute offense. Perplexing because they came out with a designed up-tempo style to start the game. I know you don’t want to show everything, but the offense has got to have some practice in real-time situations, right?
  3. HOW’S HOWARD?: Had the opportunity to closely watch Austin Howard’s starting debut against the formidable Charles Johnson. He showed the type of solid handwork that Wayne Hunter has been lacking as well impressive lateral foot movement. The offensive line as a whole has been far more productive in protecting the quarterback, allowing only one sack through the first half.
  4. INSULTING INJURIES: There’s a reason why players hate the preseason. Injuries. Nothing deflates a team more than preseason injuries. In a span of 30 minutes the Jets saw three players leave the game with injuries. Tight end Dustin Keller came up grabbing his hamstring following his 24-yard catch to open the game. Inside linebacker David Harris left the game with a knee injury. And tight end Josh Baker left with a knee injury as well. Josh Mauga has assumed Harris’ duties at linebacker and Dedrick Epps is getting the reps at tight end.
  5. STEPHEN’S UP-HILL BATTLE: The rookie wideout from Georgia Tech with 27 receptions to his name last season has been given the tall task of being the number 2 wideout on a team with playoff expectations. On the second-to-last drive of the first half, Sanchez threw two balls in Hill’s direction — one was dropped and the other was tipped for an interception. There were questions surrounding the rookie receiver’s hands.
  6. A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS: By all accounts, Sanchez has been rock solid thus far. The problem is, he’s getting no help from his friends. Through the first half he’s 7-of-14 for 90 yards and 1 INT. He can’t be blamed for all the offense’s problems if they guys he’s throwing the ball to can’t hold on.

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