After a shaky first half, rookie quarterback Geno Smith settled down and was terrific when it counted. The defensive line, touted as one of the NFL's best this offseason, owned the trenches up front. And the kicking duo of Nick Folk and Robert Malone made a huge impact on special teams.
However, there were several players who underperformed throughout the contest and are in serious danger of losing their starting jobs with another weak performance.
Ellis was supposed to form a stout, young defensive front with Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson. Unfortunately for the third-year pro, another youngster seems to be outplaying him at every turn.
Nose tackle Damon "Snacks" Harrison had a terrific training camp, and he carried over his solid offseason to Week 1. Harrison made several big plays on the day and was a key reason why Buccaneers Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin failed to find any space.
Harrison ended the day with an impressive six tackles and a tackle for loss.
Ellis was dealing with a back issue heading into the game, but he was active. Ellis finished the game with just 12 snaps, while Harrison played 30.
If Ellis continues to deal with nagging injuries and Harrison continues to make plays up front, it could only be a matter of time before "Snacks" is Gang Green's starting nose tackles.
Chris Ivory was the Jets' projected starter after being traded from New Orleans this offseason. However, it was Powell, not Ivory, who started Week 1.
Powell was impressive during the preseason, but he failed to make much of a positive impact against the Buccaneers on Sunday.
Powell rushed for just 29 yards on 12 carries. Granted, New York's offensive line didn't create much running room.
However, Powell also fumbled and missed a key block on Mason Foster that led to a sack.
Unless the Louisville product can avoid making boneheaded mistakes, Chris Ivory should receive the bulk of the carries soon.
Rookie third-round pick Brian Winters might be starting sooner than we expected.
Vladimir Ducasse was never going to be an All-Pro at left guard, but his performance in Week 1 was just downright horrific.
Ducasse was continually pushed back from the line of scrimmage by the Buccaneers' interior pass rush. The second-round pick was beat by Mason Foster in seven-man protection in the second quarter. His folly led to a Geno Smith fumble and an eventual Tampa Bay touchdown.
Ducasse also allowed a hit on Smith that led to a near-pick by Darrelle Revis.
He couldn't have been worse on Sunday. Winters may be a rookie, but he gives the Jets a better chance to win in both the run game and pass protection.
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