"Let's go take this thing. Let's try to get a home game. Let's play this game in front of our fans and our stadium, the New Jets Stadium. That is going to be the name of it when we play in it. I can't wait. We get our stadium and we are not the visitors in our stadium. This is our stadium. We are the biggest show in town and that's what it's going to be."
Umm, not quite...
The Jets opened their preseason and New Meadowlands Stadium on Monday night with Super Bowl aspirations and Broadway dreams, only to see their mighty star fall back to earth against the rival New York Giants by a score of 31-16.
The Jets were the home team but the Giants showed just how much work their co-tenant still needs to do in order to take New York and the rest of the NFL by storm.
On his first throw of the preseason, quarterback Mark Sanchez tried to force a pass into a double-covered LaDainian Tomlinson, only to see it deflect into the hands of the newest Giants safety Antrel Rolle, who returned the interception to the Jets’ one-yard line, setting up the first of many Giants touchdowns.
In what was perhaps a sign of maturity, Sanchez bounced back on the very next possession, leading the Jets on a clock-eating, 14-play, 8:30 drive that resulted in a 4-yard touchdown pass to WR Brad Smith, who was left standing wide open in the end zone thanks to a blown Giants defensive coverage.
Sanchez finished the evening completing 13 of 17 passes for 119 yards, hitting seven different receivers. All in all, Jets fans need to be pleased with that type of performance.
Penalties hurt the Jets all night long. Without injured C Nick Mangold holding down the fort, the offensive line seemed out of sorts. Guards Damien Woody and Matt Slauson were called for false starts. And of course, no Jets game would be complete without a bone-headed penalty called against tight end Ben Hartsock, who was flagged for a false start.
With respect to special teams, Mike Westhoff’s crew appeared to be in mid-season form. Erik Smith blocked a punt, kick returner Larry Taylor (a CFL reclamation project) looked pretty good, and Nick Folk connected on 3 of 4 field goal attempts. However, Folk did miss on his longest attempt (46 yards) which will certainly have some Jets faithful lamenting the loss of Jay Feely.
Most importantly, the Jets looked solid on defense with the glaring exception of the secondary. The absence of All-Pro cornerback was never more evident than last night, when Peyton Manning’s former backup Jim Sorgi and a free-agent rookie wide receiver by the name of Victor Cruz torched the likes of Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman to the tune of 6 receptions, 145 yards, and 3 TDs.
Jim Sorgi to Victor Cruz? Not exactly Montana to Rice.
If team owner Woody Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum needed any further proof as to how important Darrelle Revis is to the New York Jets Super Bowl hopes, notice has indeed been served.
Get a deal done guys, get it done.