Giants vs. Jets: NYJ's Biggest Winners and Losers from Preseason Week 2
It wasn't just the fact that the New York Jets were outscored badly in their second preseason outing against their crosstown rivals, it was how it all went down that matters.
From Sanchez's costly interception to Wayne Hunter, well, being Wayne Hunter, the Jets offense left plenty to be desired in their second preseason game of the season.
However, there were some bright spots as well, as the running game showed some life and veterans began to stand out on defense.
Here are a dozen winners and losers from the annual showdown in the Meadowlands.
Winner: Bart Scott
Coming off a game in which he was exposed in coverage, Scott had himself a good bounce-back game.
He looked faster in all phases: He made a great stop on a run by shooting a gap from a difficult angle and shot out of a cannon on a blitz to almost sack Eli Manning.
It is still preseason, but this is the quicker, more athletic Scott that the Jets need.
This is just the kind of game Scott needed to regain his confidence and try to get back to his 2009 form. If he keeps this up, the Jets will have no problem leaving him on the field on third downs.
Loser: Wayne Hunter
There really is no nice way to put it: Hunter was nothing but a massive liability all night long.
Yes, he was going up against some pretty good edge rushers for the Giants, but Hunter could not even get a hand on them. He was pushed around like a rag doll, and Sanchez was under duress the entire time.
The Jets need to give Austin Howard more live reps with the first team in the next preseason game, because there is no way Sanchez is going to survive this season if Hunter is the starter going into this season, nevermind get into any rhythm to be an effective offense.
Winner: Mike DeVito
DeVito has been one of the most overlooked players on the Jets defense for several years now, but perhaps he will start to get more of the credit he deserves if he continues to make an impact on the passing game.
Mike was his usual dominant self in the run game, throwing around the likes of David Diehl and David Bass with ease. But the more athletic version of DeVito was maybe the best pass-rusher the Jets had in the first half, as he forced the pressure on Eli Manning that led to a LaRon Landry interception.
Bottom line: Quinton Coples is going to have to be much more consistent in order to keep DeVito off the field this year.
Loser: Short-Yardage Offense
The Jets actually run the ball rather well in "normal" down and distances, but the Jets' failures on 3rd- and 4th-and-short were simply embarrassing.
Not only were the Giants able to get penetration on several missed attempts by the Jets, but Tony Sparano elected to give fullback John Conner two opportunities in short-yardage, including once on fourth down.
Rather than catch the defense by surprise with a quicker handoff, Conner wound up running into the hands for Giants defenders without giving much of a fight to get extra yardage.
After the missed fourth-down attempt in the second quarter to end their most-promising drive of the night, the Jets offensive personnel were clearly upset with the result. Perhaps the Jets can use this experience to their advantage, but like everything else about this team, that remains to be seen.
Winner: Shonn Greene
As bad as the Jets' short-yardage attack was, they were able to move the ball fairly well against a talented Giants' front.
Greene ran with a level of anger, especially after the failed fourth-down conversion. He looked quicker and hit the hole with a purpose, avoiding negative plays along the way. He even caught the ball on a few screen passes.
While the passing game still clearly needs a lot of work, the Jets are well on their way to returning to their "ground and pound" roots if Greene keeps running like this (and if they can fix their short-yardage issues).
Loser: Mark Sanchez
Yes, his interception was a terrible decision that resulted in a touchdown for the Giants, but all things considered, Sanchez had more of a neutral night than a bad night.
He was under constant pressure all night long and had few weapons to work with. Before the interception, he was careful with the football and did not make errant throws.
In fact, Sanchez was surprisingly accurate, completing 9-of-11 passes.
Still, the interception is especially damaging, because as conscious as Sanchez was in terms of protecting the football, he still made a devastating turnover. Sanchez needs to learn that short interceptions are far more disastrous than long interceptions because of how easy it is to turn them into pick-sixes.
However, all the New York media will remember is the interception and how Tebow was able to move the ball against the second-team offense shortly after, making this a tough outing for Sanchez.
Winner: Tim Tebow
Tebow was able to move the ball more effectively than Sanchez, but in fairness to Sanchez, Tebow had exponentially more time in the pocket and was throwing to receivers who were gaining separation.
Nonetheless, Tebow definitely saw his stock rise after nearly scoring a touchdown on his first drive, just minutes after Sanchez threw his devastating interception.
Also, Tebow's throwing motion looked much cleaner and more refined. He showed improved accuracy since the Cincinnati game as well.
While he was put in a perfect situation on the heels of a Sanchez failure, he was able to at least make some plays to give the Jets some much-needed life.
Loser: Julian Posey
Posey was a victim of a fantastic 49-yard catch by Rueben Randle, which he followed up with a pass interference call shortly after.
Posey is getting some extra time with Ellis Lankster out, but he did not capitalize on his added opportunities tonight. With the competition for the last few cornerback spots so tightly contested this year, Posey needs a bounce-back game next week.
Loser: Muhammad Wilkerson
I put Wilkerson in the "Losers" column simply because he has yet to show any of the dominant athletic ability that coaches have been raving about all summer.
He did face some double-teams, but he was not a factor in the running game and was unable to generate any kind of pass rush. If the Jets are going to stay in games with a dominant defense, they are going to need more production from the former first-round pick.
A player of his ability and long arms should have been able to do more against a weak Giants offensive line, but he was outshined by his counterpart, Mike DeVito.
Winner: LaRon Landry
While he probably could have fair-caught his interception of Eli Manning, he laid a huge hit on Victor Cruz to set the tone.
Essentially, Landry delivered everything the Jets are looking for him to do in those two plays: bring a level of fear to the secondary with big hits and physical play, while being in the right spot in coverage to make plays on the ball.
So far, so good for Landry's career as a Jet. If he can stay healthy, he could be the Jets' biggest addition.
Loser: T.J. Conley
Conley was able to hit one nice pin inside the 5-yard line, but he shanked two miserable punts in a row near the end of the game to put Mike Tannenbaum on the phone immediately, looking for someone to bring in as competition.
Judging by the Jets' first-team offense, they are going to doing plenty of punting (if they don't turn the ball over), so this is a position they can not ignore.
Winner: Antonio Allen
It is starting to look as if the Jets found themselves a steal in the seventh round of the draft.
After nabbing three tackles, including two for a loss, Allen is looking like a natural making the transition from his hybrid safety/linebacker position at South Carolina to a more traditional role as a strong safety in the NFL.