My trial run with Instant Impact got great feedback last week, and it is something I will do for every game this year. I have to admit being in enemy territory last night as I traveled up to Foxboro to the Bruce Springsteen concert at Gillette Stadium. I will say that I at least wore green and white there to represent.
Anyway, back to the Jets. The metaphor that comes to mind when describing this team is that the Jets are the Titanic and the offensive line is the iceberg.
The line, particularly Wayne Hunter, is sabotaging this entire offense, and until this gets fixed, keep your expectations low. The game got out of hand late, but for much of the first half, both defenses were the story. Neither team did much offensively, and the Mark Sanchez interception was the only big play.
Sanchez will get some grief for failing to move the offense and for the interception (rightly so), but I am going to take the opposite stance and give him credit. His only incompletion, besides the pick, was a dropped pass by Patrick Turner, and he looks like he is playing with improved confidence.
He hasn't looked beleaguered or indecisive, and his body language has been great.
However, body language does not win football games.
The Jets are in a conundrum because they aren't doing anything on offense, but they have to keep a majority of their offense under wraps because it depends on the element of surprise.
Can they really come out on opening day and run the Wildcat in live action for the first time? Or, are they going to have to give everyone a sneak peak in one of the next two preseason games?
I am not panicking yet as the Jets first-team defense turned in another great performance. They are going to need the defense to hold form though as they figure out the offense and get themselves healthy.
But most importantly, something has to change on this offensive line.
Here's a deeper look in this week's (not so) Instant Impact:
Champ of the Game: LaRon Landry
Landry made his presence felt early with a big (legal) hit on Victor Cruz and was in great position to intercept an ill-fated attempt at throwing away a pass by Eli Manning. The best news about Landry was that he saw extended playing time and didn't hurt himself.
Chump of the Game: Wayne Hunter
This is getting ridiculous. Hunter is not even close to being a competent NFL player. He wasn't effective against the bull rush, and at times, completely whiffed on speed rushes on the outside. He had his hand in four sacks allowed. He also missed a block on a crucial 4th-and-1 run play. Hunter is short-circuiting the entire offense, and one of these games is going to get somebody hurt.
Defensive Star: Bart Scott
Scott was very active and was credited with five total tackles. He came very close to recording a safety at the end of the first half and was frequently in the Giants' backfield. Scott has shown flashes like this in the past, but needs to do this on a consistent basis. Either way, Scott reported to camp this year in great shape, and it was good to see him lead the charge with the first-teamers.
Offensive Star: Mark Sanchez
His interception was awful; I will give you that. However, his only other incompletion came on the Turner drop. Sanchez was under fire all game from a fierce pass rush, but was able to complete passes when given a sliver of time.
The team hasn't scored a touchdown in two preseason games, and they have had trouble moving the ball, but Sanchez isn't to blame. He has no running game, no game-planning, is short on receivers and has little pass protection. Sanchez must start getting points on the board, but he does need some help around him to do so.
Sanchez actually outplayed Manning this game, but will most likely be picked on in the New York media all week.
Special Teams Star: Aaron Maybin
Maybin made news early in training camp when Rex Ryan and Mike Westhoff decided that his speed would serve the special teams well. He partially blocked a punt in the first half, despite being held by D.J. Ware.
No notable injuries to speak of. The Jets have had trouble staying healthy in practice, but have come through their first two preseason games unscathed. That's great news, as both the Bengals and Giants suffered multiple injuries in those same games.
Turning Point of the Game
Jayron Hosley's interception against Sanchez marked the second straight week that the Jets were done in by a big play while their defense was on the bench. This wasn't an instance where Sanchez stared at his receiver or made an awful decision though.
Sanchez didn't put enough speed on the ball and didn't get the pass out in front of Turner enough. Hosley made a nice play to undercut the pass, but if the ball was thrown another foot closer to the sideline, the interception wouldn't have happened.
Revis Island Report
The Giants went right after Revis on the first play of the game. Cruz got behind Revis using a double-move, but the angle Revis took forced Cruz toward the sideline. There was a tiny window for Eli to drop the pass in, but the throw sailed out of bounds. It's subtle plays like positioning that sometimes go unnoticed, but make Revis so effective.
Manning took a shot at the end zone with Ramses Barden on Revis in the first quarter, but Revis had perfect coverage.
On 4th-and-1, Manning completed a pass for a four-yard game to Domenik Hixon in front of Revis, who was playing seven yards off the line of scrimmage. Revis was probably positioned too far off the line on 4th-and-1, but nearly got to Hixon in time to break it up. Manning's pass was to the outside, away from an approaching Revis. It was a good route by Hixon and pass by Manning.
The Rookie Report
Jordan White made a nice catch and run off a low Sanchez pass for a seven-yard gain on the first play of the Jets' hurry-up offense. Hunter allowed a sack the next play to help wipe out the gain. White also made a great play to help set up the Jets' field goal. After his initial route, White read Tebow's movements and broke off his route and shuffled himself open for a 16-yard catch.
Antonio Allen continued to play well. He recorded two tackles in the backfield during the second half.
Stephen Hill caught two passes for 21 yards from Tebow. Both plays showed excellent timing, and it appears that Tebow and Hill are starting to develop excellent rapport.
Quinton Coples was relatively quiet, but did record a sack and a nice one-handed tackle of fellow rookie David Wilson.
Best Coaching Move
The Jets offense has been brutal, and the fans and media alike are beyond antsy to see something happen, but Ryan and Tony Sparano have rightly kept the Tim Tebow Wildcat package under wraps. In both games, Tebow has provided an instant spark when he has come on the field, and the hopes are that the same will happen when he is trotted out onto the field for the first time in the regular season.
It's obvious the Jets are trying to be secretive with Tebow's Wildcat package, as they have only practiced it in closed practices, and the media has been banned from reporting on the specifics of it. If the plays remain secret going into opening week, it could provide a huge advantage in a key game against the Bills. Good job by the coaches to keep it on the shelf for the first two weeks. Let's keep it there.
NFL Personality Tweet of the Game: Jay Feely
In response to a request to see Mike Westhoff's reaction to Joe McKnight's roughing the kicker penalty:
@JayFeely You need the audio for the full experience
Joe Namath's Tweet of the Game
In response to Tim Tebow entering the game:
@RealJoeNamath This is like Johnny U, coming in 16 points down.
Great Quote From the Booth
"What I want from you is an unbiased opinion, because of your defensive background," CBS announcer Ian Eagle after color man Greg Buttle claimed that the offense held on every play.
The Arguing Army Says
"The Jets have bigger problems than worrying about Eli Manning," Mr. P, Giants fan.
The Refs Blew This One
Matt Slauson was called for a questionable holding call on a nice screen pass to Shonn Greene. Slauson was out in front of Green and seemed to have a great block on Mathias Kiwanuka, but was called for the borderline hold.
If Slauson did extend his left arm on Kiwanuka, it wasn't seen on camera, and Kiwanuka didn't have his momentum stopped. He didn't react like he was held either until he saw the flag on the ground.
The Jets would have had a 1st-and-10 from the 14-yard line, instead, they were pushed back to the 30. Two plays later, Sanchez threw the interception to Hosley, and the game was effectively over from there.
Did You Notice
Jets CBS reporter Ian Eagle pointed out this was the 44th straight year the Jets and Giants have played in the preseason...MetLife donated $40,000 to Kaboom! Playground Initiative on behalf of the Giants after their win. They donated $10,000 to Trust for Public Land on behalf of the Jets...The Jets have won both coin tosses so far and elected to receive each time.
Jason Pierre-Paul knocked Hunter back three full yards and completely around in a circle with one blow on his first sack of the game...The Jets had to burn a timeout immediately after a TV timeout...Manning appeared to misread a blitz on a third-down pass attempt just before their second field goal. He pointed out pressure coming from the middle, but Scott came free from the outside for a big hit on Manning.
The Giants' second sack was a coverage sack when Sanchez looked to hit Bilal Powell on a deep pattern out of the backfield. Prince Amukamara made a nice play to stick with Powell instead of biting on an inside route by Hill...On 3rd-and-1 with 7:50 left in the first half, the Jets ran Green behind Jeff Cumberland, not the ideal person to run behind.
Needless to say, they didn't pick up the first down. On fourth down, Brandon Moore failed to effectively cut Rocky Bernard who came in clear for the stop on John Conner. Hunter also missed a block on the play.
Isaiah Trufant did a nice job downing a punt at the 2-yard line...Kenrick Ellis nearly caused a safety when he jammed up the middle of the line as Ware looked to run out of the end zone. Ware was given forward progress to the 1.
For the second week in a row, Tebow completed his first pass to Hill...Although he didn't have huge numbers, Powell looked more confident running the ball this week...Austin Howard missed a block on Markus Kuhn, allowing the Giants rookie to make a tackle on Tebow. It appeared that if Tebow got by Kuhn, he had plenty of open space ahead of him.
Tebow badly underthrew Hill, who was wide open in the end zone on a blown coverage. Tebow was seen after the play telling Hill he should have come back for the ball...T.J. Conley had a brutal game and don't be surprised to see some competition brought in soon.
He shanked two punts badly, and even when he kicked it well, things worked against him. Conley had a punt sail 59 yards, but it went into the end zone, amounting to a 39-yard net.
What This Means Now
This means the pressure cooker is turned up to "high" for the Jets offense next week. This is going to be the last chance they have to really do anything for an extended period of time before opening day against the Bills. The penalties need to stop, the offensive line needs to prove they can protect the quarterback and the offense needs to get into the end zone.
It all starts with the offensive line though. The offensive line stunk last preseason, was awful in the regular season and has been even worse this preseason. It's been the same unit all along, so chances are that it isn't going to get better. Mike Tannenbaum needs to fix this immediately, because this is a personnel issue, not coaching.
Next week, the Jets will take on Cam Newton and Panthers next Sunday, August 26, at MetLife Stadium at 8:00 p.m. It will be interesting to see how the Jets fare against Newton, who is likely to see extended time. The Jets first-teamers have been excellent against the run this preseason, but Newton presents a whole new challenge.
The Panthers have allowed 43 points this preseason in games against the Texans and Dolphins. If the Jets can't muster any kind of offense against the Panthers, it will trigger a two-week panic as the first-team offense is not likely to see much action in the team's fourth preseason game.
Writer's note: New York Jets Instant Impact is something I hope to be able to do immediately following every Jets game. My aim to is give the Jets fans an instant look at some of the details from the game without having to wait for longer production pieces. Visit Bleacher Report's page for the New York Jets immediately following the game.