New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Jets
As much as Jets fans may want to complain about an extensive list of things-gone-wrong, just remember one thing: they are currently in first place in the AFC East at 2-1.
That doesn't mean you can just put your head in the sand and pretend there aren't warts, but things could be much, much worse.
Especially if Dan Carpenter had made a 48-yard field goal in overtime.
This will be a tough game to grade as the individual grades don't figure to be good. But any time the Jets can go into Miami and beat the Dolphins, it's an A+ day for me.
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Mark Sanchez: C
The Jets won the game thanks to their offense. As the unit's leader, Sanchez has to get credit for that. He led them on a fourth-quarter touchdown drive to give the team a 20-17 lead and keyed the game-winning drive in overtime with a 38-yard pass to Jeremy Kerley.
However, Sanchez's overall game was poor.
The Jets had the ball inside the Dolphins' three yard line twice and came away with three total points, thanks in part to a Sanchez interception. He looked skittish again early, was very inaccurate and threw two interceptions. He finished 21-for-45, his second straight game with a completion percentage under 50.
One thing to consider about Sanchez's interceptions is the roles played by his receiver's routes. Clyde Gates seemed to run a poor route and Sanchez's interception in the end zone was the result of Jeff Cumberland drifting too far into Stephen Hill's area.
The overall play was poor, but Sanchez led them to a win. That results in a middle-of-the-road grade of a C.
Tim Tebow: C-
Tebow didn't provide a spark to the offense today and teams have been very prepared for anything the Jets do in the Wildcat. It appeared the Jets called a pass-option down near the goal line with Tebow at quarterback, but the Dolphins were in on it quickly.
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Bilal Powell: B+
Powell was the Jets' best running back today, carrying the ball 10 times for 45 yards. He showed the ability to explode through the hole, and create on his own. Powell was the Jets' featured back in overtime, so you can expect a much-deserved expanded role going forward.
Powell also had a nice gainer on a screen play negated by a Santonio Holmes hold. I am still nervous about Powell's ball security though.
Shonn Greene: C-
Greene simply cannot make things happen on his own. He had holes early in the game, but his inability to explode through them caused them to close up quickly.
He is a trusted runner as far as ball security, but against a good run defense like the Dolphins, a runner like Greene is ineffective. He finished with just 40 yards on 19 carries.
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Santonio Holmes: A+
Holmes returned to the scene of his "Miami Meltdown" and lit up the stat sheet.
His clutch 38-yard reception in overtime set up the game-winning field goal and was the capper on a nine-catch, 147-yard performance.
On the drive that gave the Jets a 20-17 lead, Holmes caught an 18-yard pass to start the drive and converted a crucial third down with a 15-yard reception.
Jeremy Kerley: B
Kerley continued to be a nice big-play threat, providing the Jets with two huge plays on his only two catches. He hauled in a 66-yard reception from Sanchez and scored on a seven-yard touchdown to give the Jets their first lead at 20-17.
Stephen Hill: F
Another tough day for the rookie from Georgia Tech. Hill dropped two passes, one of which should have been a touchdown, and didn't record a catch on the day. He also came up with a hamstring injury that kept him off the field at a crucial time. Both of his drops would have been tough catches, but they are catches an NFL receiver should make.
Chaz Schilens: C
There were multiple Chaz Schilens sightings today. Schilens' most notable play came when he executed a nice double move to get open, but Mark Sanchez misfired on the pass, overthrowing the wide-open Schilens.
He caught two passes for 16 yards with one of his receptions coming in overtime.
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Jeff Cumberland: C
The low grade for Cumberland comes as a result of a play diagrammed by CBS analyst Rich Gannon. Gannon pointed out that on Mark Sanchez's interception in the end zone, Cumberland drifted too far into what was supposed to be a jump ball between Stephen Hill and a Dolphins cornerback.
As a result, Cumberland's man was able to make a play on the ball and record the interception in the end zone on the intentionally underthrown ball.
Cumberland did have a six-yard catch to start the Jets' game-winning drive in overtime.
Konrad Reuland: B
Reuland had two catches for 12 yards. He looks like he can be a contributor if given the opportunity.
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Austin Howard: B-
Howard did a fine job against another tough pass rusher in Cameron Wake. Thus far, Howard has faced Wake, Mario Williams and Lamarr Woodley and allowed just one sack on the year. The Dolphins were able to get some pressure from the left side though and Howard was whistled for a penalty.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson: B-
Ferguson had a hand in allowing the only sack to the Dolphins, when the left side of the Jets' line looked confused in their pass protection. Vladimir Ducasse was on the play next to him and appeared to be the main culprit, but Ferguson was there as well.
Besides that, it was an average day for Ferguson and the offensive line against a very good front seven.
Nick Mangold: A
Mangold matched up against Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Paul Soliai and kept the stout lineman quiet all day. Soliai didn't apply much pressure to Sanchez and made just two tackles on the game. Mangold's performance against Soliai is something that will likely be overlooked after a game that had so much going on.
Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson: B+
They were solid parts in a unit that did well to keep Mark Sanchez upright most of the game. Sanchez did face some pressure, but avoided sacks nicely with some subtle moves in the pocket.
The Jets' offensive line is in the middle of a stretch where they play the Steelers, Dolphins, 49ers and Texans, four teams with excellent front sevens. Quarterback pressure is guaranteed to happen and running lanes will be hard to come by. The offensive line has done well to hold its own against the Steelers and Dolphins.
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Muhammad Wilkerson: B+
Wilkerson was very active along the front, having his hand in nine total tackles. He lost his footing chasing Ryan Tannehill in the end zone late, but enjoyed a solid game overall. Wilkerson didn't register any big plays, but he did a ton of dirty work for this unit.
Mike DeVito: B
DeVito was quiet with just two solo tackles, but he played a role in forcing the third-quarter fumble by Daniel Thomas. The forced fumble was credited to Kenrick Ellis, but DeVito was in there too.
Quinton Coples: C-
Again, Coples had a minimal impact on the game, registering just two tackles. The Jets have been struggling to create pressure and Coples is a big part of that.
Sione Pouha: C
Maybe looking back at the game film, it will show that Pouha made a bigger impact than it seemed. However, he didn't appear to be involved in many impact plays on the day. He had three solo tackles and has looked slow when pursuing plays from behind.
Kenrick Ellis: B-
Ellis was credited with a forced fumble on Daniel Thomas in the third quarter. It was his only tackle on the game. It's been tough for Ellis to get consistent repetitions with the line intact and healthy, but he will keep improving.
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David Harris: B
Harris tied with Muhammad Wilkerson to lead the Jets with nine tackles as he continues to play his consistent brand of football. It seems every week you can pencil Harris in for a high number of tackles and some struggles in the passing game. This week was no different.
Calvin Pace: C+
Pace had a similar game to Harris, but with five total tackles instead of nine. Nothing spectacular today from Pace.
Bart Scott: B
Scott had a pretty good game after causing another firestorm in the media this week with his eruption at a reporter. He had six tackles and at least three of them were either at or behind the line of scrimmage.
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Darrelle Revis: A+
Before his injury, Revis was as active in the run game as he has been during his Jets' career. In limited time, he registered six tackles, many of which came on Dolphins runs. He did miss one tackle on Reggie Bush, but that was more of a credit to Bush's elusiveness.
Revis didn't have any balls thrown his way and the Jets defense is completely different with him on the field. He also recovered a fumble in a play that could have been one of the game's turning points if the offense cashed it in.
Jets fans have to hope his non-contact injury is not a tear, but it didn't look good.
LaRon Landry: A
Landry gave the Jets their first big play when he returned an interception for a touchdown for the first time in his career on the second play of the third quarter. Landry baited the rookie Ryan Tannehill into making the throw nicely before stepping in front for the pick six.
Landry was quiet in the secondary, registering just two tackles, but one of them knocked Reggie Bush out of the game.
Antonio Cromartie: C-
Cromartie has to be the leader of the Dan Carpenter Fan Club today because if Carpenter hit his field goal in overtime, Cromartie would be the top goat of this game. Cromartie bit badly on a Brian Hartline double move to give up a huge gainer in overtime. He's going to have to play more consistent if Revis is going to be out a while.
Kyle Wilson: C-
Like Crromartie, Wilson's name was attached to more negative plays than positive ones. Wilson committed a killer penalty in the Dolphins' game-tying drive at the end of regulation. Davone Bess ran right past him on a 3rd-and-10 and Wilson ended up interfering with Bess to give Miami the ball on the Jets' 23-yard line.
Eric Smith: C-
Smith's main contribution was a 15-yard penalty for lowering his shoulder into Reggie Bush's head. Give Mike Tannenbaum credit for making moves in the offseason that largely keep Smith off the field.
Yeremiah Bell: B+
In his return to Miami, Bell had another solid game. He had five solo tackles and assisted on two others
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Nick Folk: A
Folk continued to be perfect on the season, nailing three field goals, including the game-winner in overtime. The only complaint is that his kickoffs, which had been great in the first two games, seemed to have lost some distance today.
Robert Malone: A
Malone continues to be a godsend for the Jets. He has boomed punts when he needed to and pinned opponents deep when asked to do that as well.
His punt in overtime will be one of the overlooked plays of the game. After the Jets offense fizzled, Malone pinned the Dolphins at their 10-yard line. Those extra 10 yards he saved by not kicking it into the end zone were crucial.
He finished with six punts for a 47.5 average. Four of his six punts landed inside the 20 and he had a long of 61 yards. A terrific job punting by one of the Jets' unsung heroes so far this year.
Tim Tebow: A+
One of the early key plays in the game was Tebow's conversion of a fake punt. It wasn't an easy conversion where everyone was fooled, Tebow simply grabbed the snap and took off for the hole. The play provided a spark to the offense and led to the Jets' first score of the game. In a game where every point counted significantly, this was a huge play by Tebow.
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On the plus side, there really should be no complaints about the play-calling.
Tony Sparano took a number of shots down the field and many times Sanchez missed receivers who were wide open. The open receivers indicated well-designed plays used at the right time. It's up to the players to execute.
The play-calling in particular on the Jets' final three drives was an excellent mix.
One critical move that the coaches deserve a ton of credit for was making the switch mid-game to give Bilal Powell the main bulk at running back. They recognized the need for their running back to make something happen in the running game and it worked.
The two main gripes with the coaching staff center around Tebow. First, what the heck was Tebow doing out on 11 pass plays?
With Tebow out in pass patterns, it essentially means the Jets are playing with 10 offensive players. Unless some of those plays were designed to go to Tebow and Sanchez opted otherwise, it was useless to have Tebow out on so many patterns.
Second, Tebow and the Wildcat isn't working one bit and it's on the coaches to figure out why. Tebow is a talented runner, but he has failed in every attempt but one to have any kind of impact in the offense. Also, when he hands the ball off, it's not fooling anyone.
The Jets ran a triple-option play with Tebow this week for the first time and every Dolphins player looked like they knew it was coming.
The coaches need to figure out a more effective way to use Tebow as an offense weapon because today it hampered the team more than it helped them.