Chargers vs. Jets: Final Report Card, Player Grades for New York Jets

Rocco ConstantinoContributor IDecember 23, 2012

Chargers vs. Jets: Final Report Card, Player Grades for New York Jets

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    When the 2013 schedule comes out and the NFL Draft is upon us, Jets fans can thank the team for this performance today.

    The Jets boosted their draft status and took one step closer to landing the Raiders and Titans on their schedule in place of the Chargers and Colts after their 27-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers.

    At 6-9, only five teams in the NFL are guaranteed to pick ahead of the Jets in the NFL draft, and there is a real possibility that they can land a top-10 pick.

    While it's tough to sit there and watch a game like this, that's at least some consolation.

    Instead of ripping the Jets any further or talking about the historic 11-sack performance of the Chargers, I'd rather take this space to wish a Merry Christmas to all of my readers.

    It's been a great experience to write this season, even though it's been one of the most frustrating seasons in recent memories.

    There have been heated arguments all season long and so much disappointment to deal with, but for at least this holiday season, we can all focus on what's really important in life.

    Best wishes to a happy and safe holiday season. If you are a Jets fan, you can certainly use the break.

Quarterbacks

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    Greg McElroy: D

    Greg McElroy has to get some benefit of the doubt as this was his first NFL start.  However, he didn't show anything that would convince anyone he could be a quarterback of the future just yet.

    McElroy was confused when his first option was covered and didn't progress naturally through his reads.  The game simply looked like it moved too fast for him.

    Not all of the 11 sacks against him were his fault, but a lot of them were.  He was also careless with the football on an interception and late fumble.  

    McElroy was 14-of-24 for 184 yards and no touchdowns.

    He'll get another shot next week to see if he can make some improvements.

Running Backs

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    Shonn Greene: C-

    Greene had two walk-in touchdowns from close distance in the first quarter, but he didn't do much from there.  He finished with 14 rushes for 38 yards and caught two passes for 42 yards, including a 30-yarder.

    Bilal Powell: D

    Powell was a forgotten man for some reason, carrying the ball just three times for minus-three yards.  He was a factor in the passing game though, catching four passes for 37 yards.

Wide Receivers

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    Clyde Gates: B+

    Gates had a nice game and showed the kind of potential that could keep him on the team as a fifth or sixthth receiver in 2013.  He caught a 42-yard pass from Jeremy Kerley in traffic and contributed two additional catches.  His 65 yards was the most of any Jets player today.

    Braylon Edwards: B

    Edawrds caught three passes for 36 yards and drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone on the Jets' second touchdown drive.  With a better quarterback situation, Edwards still looks like he could contribute.  Would love to see him back next year.

    Chaz Schilens: C+

    Schilens had two catches for 31 yards, including a 24-yarder.

Tight Ends

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    Hayden Smith: A+

    Hayden Smith was the only tight end to catch a pass this game, and it was the first catch of his NFL career.

    Although a one-catch, 16-yard performance doesn't necessarily spur an A+ grade, let's give Smith the grade for his whole journey.

    The former rugby star was a long shot to make the team out of training camp but landed on the practice squad.  He then worked his way into some spot duty in certain games throughout the season.

    Today we saw the first play that was specifically designed for him, and it converted a third down.  His smile after the play was one of the few highlights of the game.  

Offensive Line

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    Overall Grade: F

    For the second straight week, the offensive line flat out stunk, and that's being nice.

    Eleven sacks is basically unheard of.  It's the most the Jets have allowed in 25 years.

    They couldn't offer Greg McElroy much protection at all against a mediocre Chargers pass rush.  The pressure came from all over the line, so it's tough to single out one specific player who allowed the flood gates to open.

    Brandon Moore had a particularly tough game, as he was bull-rushed badly for one sack and failed to report as an eligible receiver, negating a successful Wildcat play with Jeremy Kerley.

    Disgusting.

Defensive Line

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    Quinton Coples: A

    Coples contributed 1.5 sacks and three total tackles.  He now leads the team in sacks and tackles for a loss, which is outstanding considering he plays about one-third of the total plays of everyone else.  

    Muhammad Wilkerson: A-

    Wilkerson had five total tackles and a sack and, like Coples, continued to produce greatly while all else is lost.  Although the Jets run defense wasn't strong today, it wasn't Wilkerson's fault.

    Sione Pouha: C+

    Pouha had three solo tackles, but was part of a soft Jets front that allowed Chargers backup running back Jackie Battle too much running room.

    Mike DeVito: D

    One week after playing perhaps his best game of the season, DeVito was a non-factor today.  He had just two assisted tackles.

Linebackers

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    David Harris: A-

    Harris led the Jets with 10 total tackles, many of which came early when this was still a game.  Although he didn't have many impact plays, Harris was solid cleaning up the tackles that the defensive line didn't make today.

    Bart Scott: B

    Scott had five tackles and a sack in a productive afternoon.  Like Harris, Scott's production took a step up as players like Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito and Kenrick Ellis didn't contribute much in stopping the run.

    Calvin Pace: C+

    Pace had two solo tackles and three assists in a typically quiet performance.

    Garrett McIntyre: B+

    CBS analyst Rich Gannon pointed out that every time he covers the Jets, it seems like McIntyre is out there making plays.  He had four tackles and chipped in to split a sack with Quinton Coples, although the sack was more on McIntyre.  He's playing his way into a role in the revamped linebacker unit next year.  

Secondary

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    Antonio Cromartie: C-

    It was a rare tough day for Antonio Cromartie.  He allowed a touchdown to Danario Alexander on a play where he got lost trying to find the ball and also lined up poorly on a 4th-and-2, allowing an easy conversion for the Chargers.

    Eric Smith: F

    In what is likely his last game at MetLife Stadium, Eric Smith gave Jets fans one final glimpse as to how awful he is in pass coverage.  His coverage on Antonio Gates' touchdown was as bad as you can ever see.  He didn't even contribute a single tackle today.  Please go away.

    Kyle Wilson: B

    For once, it was Cromartie who drew the ire of Jets fans instead of Wilson.  Wilson was one of the few members of the Jets secondary that wasn't victimized by Philip Rivers and actually had a solid game.

    Darrin Walls: F

    If Walls ends up on the street after next week's game, his performance today will have had a lot to do with that.  He dropped an easy interception in the first half and his bonehead holding penalty on a 3rd-and-17 allowed the Chargers to keep a touchdown drive alive.  He also committed a holding penalty that was wrongly attributed to Kyle Wilson.

    LaRon Landry: C

    Landry didn't have as big an impact on this game as he did some others.  He finished with just two solo tackles.

    Yeremiah Bell: C

    Bell had just one solo tackle and one assisted tackle.  Not his best performance.

Special Teams

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    Nick Folk: B+

    Folk hit his only field-goal attempt, a 40-yarder in the fourth quarter.

    Robert Malone: B+

    Due to the Jets' inept offense, Malone continued to see a lot of action in the punting game.  He responded well once again, booming 50-yarders when needed and putting the ball inside the 20 on a couple of pooch kicks.

    Joe McKnight: B+

    McKnight had a solid game returning kicks, finishing with an average of 30.5 on four returns.  His long of 46 yards gave the Jets a brief glimmer of life late in the game.

Coaching

10 of 10

    Rex Ryan: B-

    The only egregious mistake Ryan made was challenging an early run by Greg McElroy.  Even with the failed challenge, they still had 1st-and-goal inside the 1-yard line.  The risk wasn't worth the reward.

    The Jets had a rare penalty-filled game this year, so that lack of focus falls on Ryan.

    Tony Sparano: C-

    Sparano had a conservative game plan at the start, which was fine.  He also made the adjustment and let McElroy throw the ball when they needed to try a comeback.

    The biggest complaint was removing McElroy for Wildcat plays twice after nice completions.  Picking his spot to call for the Wildcat has been a huge problem all year for Sparano, and he still hasn't learned.