BGA is back…and this time it’s preseasonal (again)!
Coming up, part one of your breakdown of last night’s loss to the Giants with detailed analysis of the offensive performance.
Join me after the jump as I attempt to cover every angle.
This week, we're splitting the BGA into two. We'll cover the offense here and defense and special teams in part two later today. However, for this week only, we're also doing a Preseason BGA Extra, so let me know if there's anything from this game (or the previous two) that you'd like me to investigate in more detail. Let's get going...
All the hype leading into this game was meaningless. What you ideally wanted to see from a Jets perspective was for their starters to outperform those of the Giants and for Geno Smith in particular to play well. That's what they got from Smith in the first half, with two scoring drives and some impressive throws and decision making. Something else we needed to see from Smith was for him to throw a red zone touchdown (or, indeed, any kind of touchdown pass) and he did that with a short play-action flip to Jace Amaro.
The first scoring drive could also have ended up with a red zone touchdown after two well placed throws fell incomplete, one because Eric Decker just couldn't quite hang on with the defender draped all over him and the other because Zach Sudfeld turned to looked for a ball a bit early and was backpedaling and off balance when he probably could have just run through the ball and caught it over the shoulder.
Something else the Jets can also be encouraged by is the fact that Smith was under pressure a few times but didn't take unnecessary risks with the football. He also supplemented his passing yardage with 17 on the ground.
Michael Vick replaced Smith at half time and immediately put the Jets in a hole when he bobbled a low snap and then fumbled a hand-off. However, he responded with a touchdown drive, hitting Decker at the back of the end zone. His one incompletion came on a quick slant thrown slightly behind Stephen Hill. I couldn't tell for sure, but it did seem possible that maybe Vick took something off that pass due to a lack of faith in Hill to catch it. While Smith benefited from a few penalties on his touchdown drive, Vick got plenty of help from the running game.
Matt Simms came in to play mop-up and did lead one scoring drive, hitting Greg Salas on a touchdown pass down the middle. Simms began 8-of-9 but only completed one of his last five, although it was difficult to blame him for any of these misses as Jacoby Ford came down just out of bounds with one and then let another go through his hands, Alex Green dropped a pass in the flat and Clyde Gates looked to have been interfered with on 4th down.
Tajh Boyd did not get any reps. I assume they'll keep him aboard just long enough to play the sacrificial lamb role on Thursday night. As for Simms, under the new rules, he qualifies for practice squad eligibility, whereas before he didn't. That might influence the Jets' thinking on him.
There were one or two errors, but I don't have any real concerns about the starting offensive line after this performance (and, yes, I guess I'm assuming Brian Winters will get the left guard job).
The Jets picked up some good yardage off the edge again, rushing for 88 yards altogether in the first half. Smith was sacked once, but that was negated by a defensive penalty. On the play, it was Breno Giacomini's man who finished him off, but really that was on D'Brickashaw Ferguson as he got beaten, forcing Smith to try and scramble. Other than that, the tackles weren't really troubled in pass protection, although Ferguson did get beaten inside one other time with Smith stepping up to make the completion.
Ferguson didn't quite do as good of a job in terms of setting the edge this week, but the Jets still saw success there. On one of these plays, Greg Buttle praised the job he did, although really he'd have been graded down on that play because the runner had to break through his man's tackle. On one play, the Jets went unbalanced line with Winters and Amaro on the left and Ferguson as an extra tight end on the right side, but again, Ferguson's man got off his block to force the runner wide.
Giacomini had a couple of minor negatives in the running game, but made one good block at the point of attack to spring a big run and executed a good block on the edge on a short yardage conversion.
Willie Colon, usually so reliable in pass protection, did get beaten a couple of times here, once by a spin move. However, the line usually afforded Smith plenty of time. Colon did have one key block to spring a big gain, as he initially doubled with Nick Mangold and then peeled off to make a cut block at the second level. He also had a couple of punishing pulling blocks in the second half.
Mangold was his usual solid self, holding his own in pass protection and making some good run blocks at the point of attack and a couple of key blocks downfield on screen passes. He did allow his man to get penetration on one play, but reacted well to drive them out of the hole. There were a couple of less-than-perfect shotgun snaps though.
Winters continues to limit the negatives much better than he did last season. Yes, it was frustrating to see his holding penalty negate a big play by Jeremy Kerley, but other than that and one play where he got beaten inside in the running game, he generally held up well. He did allow a couple of pressures once Vick entered the game and had one series at right guard with the second unit.
The second unit was credited with one sack allowed on a play where Vick rolled out and then just stepped out of bounds. Simms was sacked twice, once when a stunting end came unblocked up the middle and the other when rookie Brent Qvale went to double team on the edge, turning his back on a delayed blitz up the middle.
Oday Aboushi started off at right tackle before moving to right guard. He did have one play where he let his man beat him outside. Dakota Dozier played left guard and was beaten three times in pass protection this week, although one of these came as an edge rusher made an inside move on left tackle Ben Ijalana so they both could have been at fault there.
At center, Dalton Freeman was less impressive than last week and was late picking up a rusher on one play. He remains firmly ahead of Caleb Schlauderaff though.
The Jets backfield put together a dynamic first half performance accounting for 107 yards on 15 touches. Chris Johnson looked pretty sharp from the get-go this week, picking up a big gain on a screen and then cutting back superbly on a first down run. You can already get a sense of the change-of-pace dynamic that Chris Ivory looks set to bring this year. He picked up a nice gain on a rare reception, following his blockers down the sideline and almost tightroping his way into the end zone. He also ran for a couple of first downs, including one where he broke a tackle on the edge.
In the second half, the dynamic play continued as Johnson made 19 on a screen pass and then broke a tackle on a 12 yard run. Ivory followed that up with a 17 yard burst, hurdling a defender in the open field. All in all, the two of them racked up 150 yards from scrimmage on 18 touches.
Bilal Powell didn't play much in the first half, but did pick up a first down on a short yardage direct snap play in the second half.
Tommy Bohanon's preseason so far has been the opposite of last year. In 2013, he had quite a few negative plays that went unnoticed. This year, he seems to have made some steady improvements to his game that have gone largely unheralded. Here he made a good screen block downfield on Johnson's reception and led the way on a short yardage conversion off the edge.
Chad Young had a catch well short of a first down on fourth and long and one good blitz pick-up. He's shown some promise this offseason, but there's no way he's ahead of Bohanon in the pecking order.
Aside from his bad drop, Green had two short catches and one carry, totalling 12 yards. Daryl Richardson gained 18 yards on five unremarkable touches.
Smith did a good job of spreading the ball around in the first half, hitting seven different receivers. The only player with more than one catch was Amaro, who looked solid with three first half catches, including a first down on a drag route and the short touchdown where he was wide open on a leak-out. Amaro's blocking has been better than advertised so far this preseason and he had another good downfield block here. However, there are still signs of rawness at times. On one play, he was stood up by his man. Another saw him engage his man too early on a screen pass and get called for offensive pass interference. Finally, he tried to make a seal block on the edge, but let his man elude him and then was lucky not to be called for a hold. In the second half, Amaro made another first down catch over the middle.
Of the three top guys, Decker did fail to come up with a couple of targets but had one nice downfield catch. He did draw two penalties though and then added another short catch and the touchdown once Vick entered in the second half. Kerley just had one short catch in the first half, but did have a bigger gain called back for a hold. Nelson had a meaningless 25-yard gain on the last play of the half. He too drew a flag on one play.
Hill again didn't show much in the first half. He had one 12 yard catch on a crossing route against zone coverage underneath but couldn't get any real separation against man coverage with the defender able to disrupt each of his other three targets. He was unable to come up with a deep ball and allowed his defender to recover and break up a quick slant by running what appeared to be a sloppy route. In the second half, his one target - another quick slant - was thrown slightly behind him.
With Hill once again failing to distinguish himself, it was up to the backups to try and make their case, with mixed results. Greg Salas seemed to fare the best with a couple of nice catches - one for a score. Ford struggled with one pass off his hands and another where he came down out of bounds. He was also called for offensive pass interference while blocking for a screen pass although this was an awful call because the defensive player initiated contact. Somewhere in between was Clyde Gates who made a 32-yard catch on a back shoulder throw where he may have got away with a push-off and one shorter catch. He also juggled a catch he could have made on the sideline and failed to come up with a fourth down pass in tight coverage.
Sudfeld was targeted a couple of times in the end zone but couldn't come down with the ball. He finally made a downfield catch in the second half. Third stringer Chris Pantale drew one penalty in the first half.
Part two will look at the defense and special teams. We'll be posting this later today.