FINAL SCORE: 24-17 Jets over Washington. You can catch a game summary here.
OFFENSE -- Mark Brunell was unimpressive and had a hard time moving the chains. Jason Campbell showed much of the same he did in game one; he was patient, calm, and delivered the ball well. He only went 6 of 13 for 83 yards but a few of those were dropped passes. He threw an interception as well, which is discouraging because he now has two picks in less than one full game of playing time, but has otherwise looked good. Todd Collins bounced back from a horrid preformance last week and shined with the 3rd stringers, accumulating 114 yards on 12 (of 18) completions with a touchdown. As I said yesterday, one game is not necessarily indicative of how good/bad this guy is and he showed why last night.
The running backs were dismal. Betts didn't look like much of a starter, but then again neither did our offensive line. Only FB Mike Sellers (who is also an animal in the redzone) showed any intensity on the field. We need Clinton Portis back. I still think Betts is a serviceable backup, but there's an observable talent drop off when he is not on the field. Jesse Lumsden only got the ball once, but did take it for 6 yards. It's hard to evaluate the guy if he isn't given the opportunity. He's running out of time to make the squad.
Wide receivers were good and bad. We finally caught a glimpse of ARE, who had 2 catches for 42 yards. Nothing discouraging about the way he played.
Patten dropped a few balls and was generally unimpressive. I still think he's guaranteed a spot on the roster as our #4 wide receiver. Mike Espy, who really needed a big game, did not have one. He also dropped a few passes. At this point I'm having a hard time seeing him on the final roster because I don't think we are taking 6 WRs. Also, Jimmy Farris had a very respectable game (5 receptions for 65 yards). If we do have 6 WRs, Espy will have to step it up to beat out Farris for the number 6 spot.
Tight End Robert Johnson injured his ankle and was replaced by Buck Ortega who promptly came in preformed admirably. I don't think Ortega will make the squad, but he made a partial case for it last night 2 catches for 35 yards and a touchdown.
The Offensive Line did not get much push. Even the first stringers didn't impress, which is distressing. Kili Lefotu seemed to step up and looked like a respectable backup. He needs to do that consistently, but it was a bit of good news on an otherwise bad evening.
DEFENSE -- The secondary was ok. Kenny Wright had a good game, which he needed after getting burned deep last week. He had a sack and deflected a pass intended for Laverneus Coles. Adam Archuleta missed a tackle and will need to improve that aspect of his game (though he also had a sack). The team did get burned on a 61 yard reverse, which is embarrassing. Recently acquired CB Julian Battle looked good on a few tackles and played well also. Sean Taylor forced a fumble.
Rocky McIntosh played a good game and I'm still projecting him as the starter by the end of the year. Backup Khary Campbell led the team in tackles, with 6. The Jets ran the ball well early on, and some of that blame has to go on the linebackers. Even the usually stalwart first stringers bent a little.
Cornelius Griffin was injured and is day-to-day. He managed to walk himself off the field, so there's really no long term injury concern here. Rookie Anthony Montgomery played strong with 3 tackles and appeared to hold his ground well. They ran the ball all over us and managed to sustain long drives because of it, so I wasn't pleased with the D line last night. Renaldo Wynn missed a tackle on the 61 yard reverse as well. Meh.
All in all it was not a good outing for the defense (or offense, really). The Jets held the ball for 37 minutes of this football game because of their success on the ground. We have got to tighten up our run defense. Even in last week's boring offensive preformance against Cincinnati, the starting defense played well enough to keep my hopes high. No such luck yesterday.
But more miserable than offense and defense was our DISMAL special teams, which gave up 47 and 87 (touchdown) yard returns. Sellers wasn't in, nor was Ade Jimoh and Rock Cartwright, but still, you want some depth even on special teams. Those guys are our starters on ST, but should one of them go down the rest of the coverage unit will have to improve.
The only thing from yesterday that concerns me in the long run was the kicking of Derrick Frost. An 87 yard touchdown return is unacceptable. You must get the ball past the 13 yard line. He kicked a few line drives (and with the way our coverage unit was playing, you can imagine how that worked out). We need to fix this immediately. If Frost is not a competent punter/reliable on kickoffs, we need someone in now to replace him.
Other than that I want to express caution over getting worked up about a meaningless pretend football game. All aspects of the game looked terrible, no doubt. And Joe Gibbs was clearly frustrated with the way we played. But Saunders isn't going to foolishly give away his playbook in the preseason. We're evaluating players and running plays based off that. We are not necessarily trying to win the game, or get touchdowns on every down.
I didn't think it was particularly wise of either Cincinnati or New York to run trick plays in the preseason. They might trick backups and scrubs, but that won't work against veterans in the regular season -- especially now that opposing defenses know what's coming.
I'm a bit flustered with the way the Skins played, but I'm not ready to start screaming bloody murder and declaring our season a bust. Remember that we went 1-3 in the preseason last year, and did not impress on offense -- ultimately we finished the season with the 11th best unit in the NFL. Remember also that Saunders hasn't even begun to open up his playbook and that I think his resume speaks for itself. I'll question Saunders in Week 8, if we are still playing limp on offense. But until then he's done enough with his career to warrant my allegiance and trust.
It's only pretend football.
I'd love to hear others' thoughts on the game, so please take the opportunity to post them in the comments section. Cheers.