BGA is back…and this time it’s preseasonal (again)!
Coming up, part one of your breakdown of tonight’s blowout loss to the Eagles 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 early tomorrow. We're getting this up particularly early because news of final cuts should start to leak out soon.
With Michael Vick's workload limited to handling a ceremonial first play, this game boiled down to the culmination of the battle for a role that there may not be room for on the Jets roster; the third string quarterback.
Matt Simms played the rest of the first half and it wasn't his finest performance as he was inaccurate early and completed just seven of 17 passes. Tajh Boyd, who looked out of his depth in his one previous appearance, put up much more efficient numbers than Simms, along with the only touchdown of the day. All the same, he wasn't very impressive in doing so, even though it was a big step-up from his last outing.
I guess if you were to look for a positive you could at least say that neither of them turned the ball over, although both got lucky with Simms not seeing a linebacker underneath with his pass being batted into the air and Boyd getting lucky on a couple of plays, including his touchdown pass, which went through the safety's hands as he came across.
In case you missed it, the recent changes to the practice squad rules included a provision whereby a player like Simms who would otherwise have been ineligible will now qualify for practice squad eligibility. Considering the Jets don't usually have three quarterbacks active on gameday, there's no need for him to take up a roster spot because he can still practice with the team and run the scout team during the week while on the practice squad. The only reservations the Jets would have here would be if they really thought there was a risk of him being claimed and his potential to be next year's number two would make it too risky to expose him to waivers.
As for Boyd, you'd think four quarterbacks would be surplus to requirements, but the Jets have had four on the active roster before, so adding a fourth one to the practice squad wouldn't be a big deal. It's evident Boyd isn't ready for the NFL yet though and he'll have to hope someone influential within the organization still believes he one day will be.
Brian Winters was basically the only projected starter on either side of the ball to play and it wasn't exactly encouraging to see him driven into the backfield and knocked to the ground for a pressure on one play. He did have one good second level block though and wasn't in the game for very long.
Oday Aboushi's ability to play both guard and tackle looks like it will be enough to earn him a roster spot, but he hasn't exactly been that impressive over the last few games. Don't get me wrong, he's improved a lot since last year, but you'd expect him to stand out in a game like this and he was still pretty inconsistent. Aboushi was troubled a few times in pass protection and penalized twice. As a run blocker he did well overall, but there was one failed short yardage play where he missed his block.
It looks like Dalton Freeman has convincingly won the backup center role. He avoided any noticeable mistakes and had one great block on a screen play. That likely means the end of the road for Caleb Schlauderaff, who replaced Freeman at center. He had one good run block, but was beaten for a pressure that led to a sack and let his man get off his block to stuff a run.
The backups at guard were Dakota Dozier and Will Campbell, although Aboushi did stay out there for a bit longer than Winters. Dozier had one solid block at the point of attack, but also false started on one play and let his man get off his block to make a play on another. He was solid in pass protection this week though. Campbell - who also saw action at defensive tackle - hasn't shown much improvement this preseason. He also let his man get off his block to stuff a run.
Most projections seem to think Ben Ijalana will make the roster as a backup tackle, but I don't know if it's automatic. That's one spot I could see them putting in a waiver claim. Ijalana got beaten inside once but was otherwise pretty solid.
Finally, I saw some good things from Brent Qvale this week and would expect him to land on the practice squad. He's quite aggressive in the running game and had one outstanding block where he initially doubled with the tight end and then peeled off to drive another player out of the play to create a big lane. In pass protection, he held up initially but started to waver towards the end. He was beaten inside for two hits and his man sacked Boyd in the second half after the quarterback stepped up. He also missed a block on the edge leading to a tackle in the backfield. There's potential there, but he's obviously a work in progress.
Neither running back stood out this week, but while Alex Green's rushing numbers were superior, it was Daryl Richardson who made the best case for a roster spot. Green had a couple of nice runs, but also lost a fumble and gave up a pressure in pass protection. While Richardson averaged less than three yards per carry, he did catch four passes for over 50 yards - although two were negated by penalties. He did also give up a pressure and had one drop, though.
I think Richardson, a 2012 7th round pick, has outplayed Green, a 2011 3rd rounder, throughout the preseason, but it's going to come down to whether they feel they need to carry a fourth running back who will presumably be inactive until someone gets hurt.
Tommy Bohanon got the start at fullback but didn't do anything to stand out. Tight end Chris Pantale took over for him in the second half. Bohanon should be on the roster, assuming the Jets are going to carry a fullback.
Stephen Hill's final chance to shine fizzled out early when he was removed from the game, presumably because he is still suffering from the illness that limited him during the week. That's unfortunate, but I don't see how the Jets can keep him on the roster with his failure to generate any meaningful production this preseason - even against backups. While he was out there, he had one drop as he caught the ball awkwardly and had it knocked away as he hit the ground. He did make a third down conversion on a quick slant, but that was it.
Clyde Gates made his case with a 42-yard touchdown catch from Boyd, but it was far from convincing. He did get a step on his man, but the safety came over to almost intercept the underthrown deep ball and Gates eventually bobbled it a couple of times before making the catch. Nice concentration, for sure, but you'd like to see it backed up with more production. Instead, he also had a drop and there were two passes where he ran deep and then failed to locate the ball. Maybe they were just terrible throws, I can't be sure, but it could be down to poor route running, awareness or even just bad instincts. He did draw one penalty.
With Hill and Gates only catching one pass each, this was an ideal opportunity for Greg Salas to lock down his spot. However, he also only caught one pass, although it was a nice high snag at the sticks for a first down. He also had a pass go off his hands in a crowd. If I had to predict from these three, I'd go with Salas because he's been the most consistent all preseason.
Two guys looking likely to make the team as receivers but primarily due to their special teams prowess had mixed fortunes on offense tonight. Jalen Saunders led the team with four catches and showed some toughness by not backing down when things got a little chippy. Two of his catches were first down grabs while tightly covered and although he did have one drop, that was on a ball that got tipped at the line. On the other hand, Saalim Hakim didn't register a catch. He did almost come down with a deep throw out of bounds, only to land awkwardly on the ball.
The only other receiver to get any reps was rookie Quincy Enunwa who has failed to show anything in preseason having missed time early in camp. He did not register a catch.
At tight end, Pantale and Zach Sudfeld split duties with Pantale making a strong case for himself with 74 yards on three catches, most of which came on a 50 yard catch and run from Simms early on courtesy of a blown coverage. Sudfeld caught two passes, one for a first down, but did have a drop on a ball thrown slightly behind him. As a blocker, he had a couple of good moments, but did get beaten once for a pressure.