Giants vs Jets: 10 Things We Learned from NYJ's 26-3 Loss
The Jets were once again embarrassed by their cross-city rivals on Saturday night, as they were dismantled on both sides of the ball from start to finish.
The offense failed to do anything against a strong Giants' defensive unit, and Gang Green's supposed elite defense also struggled at times.
The 26-3 loss exposed New York's many flaws and taught us some valuable lessons heading down the stretch of training camp.
Here are the top ten things learned about the Jets from the New York preseason bowl.
The Offense Struggles out of the Gate
New York's offense really struggled at setting the tone on the team's first possession last season.
Saturday against the Giants, they failed to move the ball at all.
The offense captured just one first down, despite some solid running from Shonn Greene and a couple of nice passes from Mark Sanchez.
The key play of the first drive was the Jets' offensive line being overpowered by the Giants' defensive line on a third-and-one at the NYJ 41.
If New York is to improve offensively, they need to be able to move the chains effectively to begin the game.
Otherwise, field position will be lost and the defense will simply be under too much pressure.
The Offensive Line Is Still a Question Mark
With Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson healthy and D'Brickashaw Ferguson apparently back to his usual dominant self, the Jets' offensive line was supposed to improve drastically in 2012.
However, on Saturday night, the unit was horrible.
Against the Giants top-notch pass rush, the offensive line allowed a gaudy seven sacks.
Two of those sacks came against much-maligned right tackle Wayne Hunter.
Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow were under pressure all night and were forced to make tough throws.
The constant pressure on the passers made it impossible for the Jets' offense to find any sort of rhythm, and they failed to move the chains consistently.
Gang Green's offensive line was also subpar in the running game, as they were continually overpowered by the Giants' defensive front.
Penalties Could Be the Doom of the Defense
Although the Jets were only penalized six times on Saturday, the team suffered from constant mental mistakes.
The majority of the penalties came in the first half when the first team was on the field. This should not be the case, as the first-team should be playing clean football by now.
Many of the penalties called on the Jets could easily of been avoided, and they helped the Giants move the ball further downfield.
If the Jets' defense is to revert back to its elite self this season, it needs to avoid checking out mentally at critical moments.
The Jets' Run Defense Is Top-Notch
Despite struggling with penalties, the Jets defense was tremendous against the Giants' rushing attack.
New York allowed just 58 total rushing yards on 32 carries, which translates to giving up just 1.8 yards per rush.
The Jets' defensive line was continually able to push back the Giants' front, halting David Wilson and D.J. Ware at the line of scrimmage on numerous occasions.
Bart Scott and Mike DeVito were both terrific, and Bryan Thomas and Muhammad Wilkerson were also solid.
New York's defensive line has a chance to be one of the best in football in 2012. The rush defense should be spectacular.
The Wide Receiving Corps Is Second-Rate
Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow may not be the most accurate quarterbacks in the world, but it would drastically help if they had a solid group of wideouts to throw the ball to.
With Santonio Holmes out for the second straight preseason game, the wide receiving corps was anything but great on Saturday night.
Rookie Stephen Hill failed to make a big impact, although he did get overthrown by Tim Tebow on what looked like a long touchdown.
Jordan White led the team with just three receptions for 28 yards.
The receivers failed to get open on a consistent basis, despite the Giants having a dispersed secondary.
The Jets' wideout corps needs to improve in the coming weeks or the passing game will once again struggle.
The Backfield Lacks Explosiveness
The Jets are meant to be a physical team, but sometimes the lack of explosiveness in the backfield can haunt them.
Starting running back Shonn Greene is unable to burst out into the open field. This puts all the pressure on the offensive line because it has to consistently beat the defense up front.
Greene rushed the ball 11 times for just 36 yards in the first half. His long run was just eight yards.
While Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell have a bit more speed, they are mightily inconsistent.
Without being able to explode a run for twenty-odd yards a few times every game, it is simply impossible for the Jets' offense to succeed.
The Offense Is Too Conservative
Brian Schottenheimer was often criticized for being too conservative with the passing game, and it looks like Tony Sparano is no different.
The Jets offense only attempted a few big passes all game, and they didn't connect on a single one of them.
Although constant pressure often prevented receivers from going deep down field, the team was still too conservative when given the opportunity.
Tebow and Sanchez combined for for 118 yards on 25 throws. That is under five yards an attempt, well below the league average.
If the Jets offense does not attempt more big plays, they will find it very hard to move the chains against an elite defense like the Giants'.
Joe McKnight Is an Elite Return Man
Joe McKnight led the league in yards per return last season, but many deemed it to be a slight fluke.
However, the former USC product has spurned the doubters so far through preseason.
On Saturday, McKnight returned two kickoffs for an average of 34 yards a return. He returned one kick for an impressive 46 yards.
The backup running back used his blistering speed and outstanding agility to make defenders miss and get the Jets' offense into solid field position.
McKnight's returns might be the Jets' best bet of scoring against solid defenses.
Tim Tebow Is a Spark Plug for the Offense
Tim Tebow's final line was ugly.
5-for-14 passing for just 59 yards.
However, the polarizing quarterback lit a fire underneath the offense to begin the second half.
After totaling just four first downs in the entire first half, the Tebow-led offense matched that total on their first drive alone.
The former Heisman Trophy winner led a 68-yard drive that spanned over eight minutes, and it resulted in the only points of the game for the Jets.
Although he struggled beyond that point, it is comforting to know that Tebow can make a sudden impact as soon as he steps on the field.
The Defense Will Carry the Team Again in 2012
If Saturday proved anything, it was that the Jets' defense is far-and-away the team's better unit for the fourth successive season.
The offense was horrific. Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow were borderline awful, the running backs failed to find holes, the offensive line was subpar, and the receiving corps was disappointing.
The mess added up to a measly 148 total yards of offense.
On the other hand, the defense was pretty impressive.
The defensive line was terrific at getting the push on rushing plays and the secondary was also solid.
The lack of pass rush and the penalties are problematic, but the unit should rank as one of the best in the league this coming season.
If the Jets are going to be successful in 2012, it will be because of their defense.