The league's defending champions when it comes to defensive side of the ball didn't make their way onto the field last night in the final exhibition matchup. But a group of backups that have struggled in previous preseason matchups finally showed the world that they are ready to step up in the face of any injuries to first-stringers during the season. They wanted everyone to know that they aren't a liability - as all championship teams need depth.
Matt Kroul going in for a hit on the quarterback.
The defense held the Eagles to 184 yards total, 112 of those coming through the air and just 72 on the ground. Philly had 13 shots at converting on third-down attempts, yet they only found success twice. Gang Green ended their drives early twice with one interception and one fumble recovery.
A secondary that was bullied, picked on, and exposed earlier in this preseason took care of business in a game that would probably the only chance for many of the players to start. An interception by safety Emanuel Cook was the unit's highlight for the night. Athletic safety James Ihedigbo racked up for tackles, one for a loss and cornerback Brian Jackson had three passes defensed. Eagles' quarterbacks completed a mere 33% of their pass attempts on the night. ZERO passing touchdowns.
72 yards. 20 carries. 3.6 yards per carry. Nobody ran the ball for more than 7 yards on one play. No running back had more than 23 yards. The unit did not cross the goal line once in the game. Complete and total domination. And that was without Kris Jenkins. Without David Harris. And Bart Scott. And Mike DeVito, Calvin Pace, Sione Pouha, and Shaun Ellis. I'm not too worried about subs.
Vernon Gholston, ladies and gentelman. This kid is finally starting to look like he can hit a quarterback this season! He managed a late game sack in the clutch that helped close out the victory. That's right. I said a sack. Combine that with a pretty impressive training camp, and you'd almost believe moving him to defensive end is going to work.
I'll give you a few seconds to figure out if you even know who Matt Kroul is. No...? I didn't expect you to. But he led the team in tackles with six. And he managed two sacks in the game as well. Remember that name. I wouldn't be surprised if you see him again with Calvin Pace out for a few games with an injury.
One of the team's two turnovers on the day game when Emaunuel Cook picked off Mike Kafka. The blitz came and the pressure lead to an ill-advised pass that the safety was able to grab. Unfortunately, it has been confirmed today that Cook was released as the team made multiple roster cuts.
I had to put a picture of him reppin' my Mets. But his defense gave up a grand total of 3 points in the game, the other 14 coming off of the offense's mistakes. I know it was only second-strings for both teams, but the fact that our backups are holding teams to three points only leads me to believe that out league best defense can do even better.
Darrelle Revis has gone into hiding and did not make an appearance at the last preseason game. He has lost over half a million dollars in penalties for his holdout already. The centerpiece of the Jets' defense is MIA through today, and the start of the season is looming. If you've been denying that Revis will miss playing time this season, you need to recognize that it is slowly becoming a reality.