Preseason games are always hard to decipher based on the limited playbook and surplus of players. As Tony Sparano said the playcalling was very vanilla, but even in a preseason game there are many players battling for a roster spot. Only the strong survive the final cuts and after game one against the Cincinnati Bengals there are certain players who stepped up their game while others faltered at the opportunity. In the NFL a team needs the good to outweigh the bad to be successful. The Jets in their first preseason game seemed to have more negative than position due to certain players not playing at a high level.
1) Joe McKnight- There is a battle going on between McKnight and Powell with round one clearly going to McKnight. McKnight led the team in receptions and reception yards with 34 he also rushed for 32 yards, second to only Tim Tebow. He showed his quickness and proved he could be a valuable backup for this team.
2) Jay Richardson- A team can never have enough defensive ends who can rush the quarterback. It was nice to see Richardson get a sack along with four solo tackles. He looked like he had confidence and the ability to be on this team.
3) Demario Davis- Demario may have only had five tackles, four of which were solo, but they were hard tackles that showed how much of a warrior he is on the field. Davis looked like an absolute monster on the field and should battle for starting snaps as the season goes on.
4) Julian Posey- Due to the fallout of Isaiah Trufant it opened the door for players underneath him on the depth chart. The man who took the biggest advantage from this was Julian Posey. He may have only had two tackles but his coverage was superb. He was all over the receivers and seems to be the fifth best cornerback on the team.
5) Ellis Lankster- The player ahead of Julian Posey is a man by the name of Ellis Lankster. He stepped up tremendously against the Bengals. He led the team in tackles with six, four of which were solo. He had great coverage and even when he missed the coverage slightly you could tell he was affected. He tried as hard as he could and looks like the uncontested 4th cornerback going into the season.
6) Quinton Coples- Coples was the MVP for the Jets and it wasn’t even close. The first rounder proved he is ready to play like a Jet with his five solo tackles, deflected pass, and most importantly his strip sack. He had constant pressure on the quarterback and was exciting to watch. If he can keep it up he will be a force in the NFL.
1) Kyle Wilson- When your team has the best cornerback tandem in the NFL the third cornerback needs to step up and play solid. A quarterback will be looking at Revis and Cromartie covering his top receivers and immediately go to the receiver covered by Wilson. The coverage against the Bengals was subpar and his decision making in the return game was not good. He turned what could have been a 15 yard return into a 6 yard return by running backwards trying to make something out of nothing.
2) Bilal Powell- For a player that was talked about so much in training camp as the leader to be Shonn Greene’s backup he sure didn’t help his cause against the Bengals. He had 5 rushes for 16 yards and added a reception for 4 yards. That YPC average is not the worst but it seemed like he was running with no burst and was simply falling forward. We already have a running back that is known for that and his name is…
3) Shonn Greene- You guessed it his burst simply wasn’t there. Hopefully he will get rid of the rust before the start of the actual season because his performance in preseason game one was not starter worthy. He had 5 carries for 11 yards which is just barely over 2 YPC, just think he will only need around 50 rushes to score a touchdown…If the Jets are going to be a ground and pound team someone has to step up and everyone is counting on Greene to be the guy.
4) Jeff Cumberland- Against the Bengals one thing became evident, the Jets drastically need a blocking tight end. Jeff Cumberland is not a blocking tight end and probably never will be. Tarren Lloyd is probably the best blocking tight end on the team and it will be hard for him to even get on the field. Cumberland needs to at least be an average blocker or the defense will always know how to read plays. If he cannot block odds are the play will be a pass. The Jets need to add a blocking tight end before the start of the season.
5) Jordan White- If seventh round draft pick Jordan White wants to make an impact on this team he simply needs to do more. White had a drop that would have led to a first down and was nonexistent the rest of the game. He had no receptions in a game where he had every opportunity to at least get a few. With Holmes and Kerley not playing in the game White was considered the 4th wide receiver behind Hill, Schilens, and Turner. According to Rich Cimini he picked Jordan White over Chaz Schilens to make the team. With a game like that he has his work cut out for him.
1) The O-Line- It seemed as if the offensive line was invisible at times during this game. When it takes three quarterbacks to get twelve completions there is something severely wrong. It wasn’t the quarterbacks struggling because there were only twenty passes thrown. The quarterbacks had absolutely no time to throw and paid the price by being sacked six times respectively. Austin Howard showed promise in this game but the whole line was shaky at best. The team may need to look for support or Sanchez will be on a first name basis with the field turf.
2) Isaiah Trufant- It is hard to pick a player that played worse than Isaiah Trufant. He led the team in tackles along with Ellis Lankster, but that is only because he blew his coverage and had to regroup. This game proved that Trufant is strictly a special teamer and will never be a starter at least not on this team. He is a good special teamer but there is no room to keep a player strictly for their special team ability.
Things to look for next week against the Giants
1) Will Stephen Hill step up and prove his ability?
2) Will the injury plagued Jets get players back against the Giants such as Holmes, Hunter, and Kerley?
3) Who will win round two of McKnight vs. Powell?
4) Can the offensive line step up and give the quarterbacks time to throw?
5) Which wide receivers will step up and prove they should make the roster?
6) Who will score the first touchdown of the preseason?
7) Who will win round two of Folk vs. Brown?
8) Which quarterback will perform the best out of the four, if four play?
9) Lastly, will Snoopy stay green?