Sep
14

The Morning After: Sanchez and Defense Deliver!

posted by: Site Admin | Jets Regular Season | 0 comments

The Morning After: Sanchez and Defense Deliver!

Rex Ryan's heralded defense and rookie QB Mark Sanchez both made their debuts yesterday against the Houston Texans and both passed the first test. The new aggressive defense was able to completely shut down the Texans' offense that was ranked 3rd in the league last season. Mark Sanchez, meanwhile, did not play like a rookie at all. The 22-year old kid from USC showed great pocket awareness and composure. He was especially effective on third downs, and his ability to buy time with his feet is another thing that we haven't seen from a Jets quarterback in quite some time.

Yes, it's just one game and we don't know how bad or good the Texans are going to be this season. The way Sanchez played yesterday, however, the skills and decision making he demonstrated should definitely be something that we, Jets fans, should be very excited about. He played way beyond his age, avoiding the rush and being able to hit his receivers when it mattered the most.

The Texans' game plan was obviously to shut down the Gang Green's running attack and let Sanchez beat them with his arm. As a result, RB Thomas Jones struggled for the most part of the game, as he was facing 8-men fronts with run stopping mentality. Once the Texans defense got tired and began playing more against the pass, Jones got going as well - two runs for over 35 yards, including a touchdown, in the final quarter.

There was a lot of talk about the Jets' receivers and how the team needed a true #1 wide out. Well, they certainly passed the test yesterday, but next Sunday's game against the Patriots should provide a much better test for them and the entire team. WR Jerricho Cotchery once again showed that he's the most reliable receiver on the team, as he caught 6 of 7 balls thrown to him. WR Chansi Stuckey caught 4 of 8, including a 30-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez. TE Dustin Keller had the team high 94 receiving yards and caught 4 of 7. Now, onto the only negative here, WR Brad Smith might be good on reverses, in wildcat formations and other tricky plays but he's a total liability as a wide receiver. WR David Clowney, who had just one pass thrown to him yesterday, or even WR Wallace Wright should be put in his place as #3 wide out.

As already mentioned above, the defense was just as advertised. They were constantly giving Houston different looks, bringing pressure from different directions and just, in case of NT Kris Jenkins, totally overpowering the Texans. MLB David Harris and MLB Bart Scott seemed to be always around the ball. Harris led the team with 11 tackles (6 solo), while Scott delivered team-high 3 quarterback hits. LB Vernon Gholston, who made his first NFL start in place of suspended LB Calvin Pace, recorded 3 solo tackles, including one tackle for a loss. Gholston's performance was quite a turnaround from what we had seen in preseason. He held his ground and wasn't really getting caught out of position. Training camp star, undrafted rookie LB Jamaal Westerman, recorded a coverage sack late in the game.

The secondary, and especially CB Darrelle Revis who limited WR Andre Johnson to only 35 yards, also had an impressive game. CB LIto Sheppard, another player who looked shaky in preseason, had an interception and not a single pass interference penalty. S Eric Smith and CB Donald Strickland also came up with big plays. Revis will have another big test next Sunday when he faces New England's WR Randy Moss.

It also looks like the Gang Green finally solved their problem at the punter position, as recently signed P Steve Weatherford averaged 41.0 yards on 4 attempts and put 2 of those 4 inside the Texans' 20-yard line.

Penalties, however, just like in preseason, remained a problem. The Jets were penalized 10 times for a total of 80 yards. If Sanchez' false start penalty in the 4th quarter was just due to his lack of experience, OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson's 15-yard personal foul on a field goal attempt along with 3 more penalties on the Jets' offensive line starters are definitely something that should be addressed.

Tags: mark sanchez, david harris, thomas jones, bart scott, rex ryan, darrelle revis

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