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Perhaps the most interesting outcome from this week's film review is that we have an early leader in the ongoing battle between Ben Ijalana and Brent Qvale for the starting right tackle job. Todd Bowles said during the week that someone needs to step up and take this role and Ijalana might just have done that. While he might not have done enough yet to secure the role full-time, Ijalana was more consistent than Qvale last night, but - more importantly - the Jets offense was significantly more potent with Ijalana in the game.
Qvale - Six drives, one touchdown, two field goals, two punts
Ijalana - Five drives, three touchdowns, one field goal, no punts
This looks really good for Ijalana. The only drive that failed was the one where Jalin Marshall fumbled after picking up a first down. Also, on the successful touchdown drive that the Jets had with Qvale in the game, Ijalana was also on the field for the play where they punched it in, as a jumbo package tight end.
Qvale, whose turn it was to start, gave up a few pressures, had a false start and allowed his man to get off his block for a run stuff. However, Ijalana made fewer mistakes and gave up just one pressure after giving up inside leverage. He also had a tremendous block on the left side defensive tackle to create this touchdown:
The other potentially big story was that James Carpenter hurt his calf in the first half and missed the rest of the game. We shall await to see how bad that is, but he had been having mixed results to that point. Wesley Johnson has jumped ahead of Dakota Dozier as the first interior lineman off the bench and he played the rest of the game at left guard. Johnson didn't do too badly in relief, holding up in pass protection other than a couple of stunts that he reacted late to and making some good run blocking contributions late after some initial mixed results. He did have a false start though. Dozier was inactive, but using one of the right tackles at guard could also have been a possibility, although I assume they didn't want to mess with the rotation in-game.
Ryan Clady had his hands full with Jerry Hughes, who got the better of him on a few occasions. Clady was beaten or half-beaten several times, surrendering a sack and a hold that negated a big play. In the running game, he had more success in the second half as the unit found some cohesion after a slow start.
The battle between Nick Mangold and Kyle Williams was a joy to watch. Boy, is Williams good. However, by the end of the game, he was worn out and the Jets were able to block him out of some plays. Mangold is also really good, of course, and played Williams to a tie enough times to keep the Jets' line anchored. Once again he had more success in the second half and it's interesting that the Jets finally found some cohesion even though they had a back-up in there at left guard.
Brian Winters wasn't perfect, but again deserves credit for playing a big role in the success the running game saw down the stretch. He avoided any really bad mistakes, only allowed his man into the backfield in pass protection a couple of times and rebounded from a slow start to make some big run blocks late.
Despite the rocky start, finding cohesion on the offensive line so early in the season is a positive sign, especially when the line has had a few moving parts in terms of personnel. We shall see what the ramifications of the Carpenter injury are, but hopefully the Jets can build on their second half performance.
Next up ... A productive, grind-it-out game from Matt Forté keeps the wheels greased for the Jets offense...