New York Jets Week One Review: Defense and Special Teams
New York Jets' head coach Rex Ryan certainly did a lot of talking going into the 2010 season and week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens. And while the final result, a 10-9 loss to the Ravens, was very disappointing, the defense did show that it has the capability of being an elite unit.
Let's look at the specifics...
Who Played Well? Defensive Lineman Mike Devito
This guy had a monster game. Largely replacing Kris Jenkins, who for the second straight year has suffered a season ending injury, Devito looked awesome along the line for the Jets.
He racked up an impressive seven tackles including four solo tackles on Monday Night. With Jenkins out, Devito once again will have to play a lot more than expected. Hopefully for the Jets he can maintain this level of play.
Who Played Well? DE/LB Bryan Thomas
The man once considered an epic bust along the lines of Vernon Gholston showed why he has the potential to be considered among the best defensive players in the league.
Thomas racked up seven tackles including a sack of Joe Flacco. He also defended a pass on Monday night. He was all over the field.
Who Played Well? Safety Jim Leonhard.
He was all over the field. Six tackles and routinely matched up man to man with Todd Heap. Though he was burned on a big play deep middle, Leonhard again showed the grit and toughness for which he was signed. He also filled in fielding punts which we will look at later in special teams.
Who Played Well? Shaun Ellis, DE
Once again the veteran delivered a game effort and a big play. Teamed up with Bryan Thomas on a sack that jarred the ball loose from Flacco that turned into an early turnover for the Jets.
Who Played Well? LB, Bart Scott
Played his usual top-flight game. Six tackles and a forced fumble. Very nice job by the Jet linebacker against his old team.
Question Marks: Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson
The two corners that were brought in to add depth to the position were exposed when left in single coverage.
Ryan's intense blitzing packages forces corners to man up and these two were not up to the challenge. Each committed key pass-interference and holding penalties that set up the Raven' game-changing touchdown. Although the penalty called on Wilson was questionable, he was put in a bad position and beaten on the play by a step.
Who Needs To Step Up?
Obviously, Cromartie and Wilson need to have better games next week and throughout the season. With Jenkins on the shelf for 2010, Devito will be asked to fill in along the line. Besides Devito, Pouha will be once again thrust into the starting lineup. He will need to bring his A -game again.
Also along the line, Jason Taylor needs to step up his game. He played a decent game Monday night, but the Jets will need more than decent until Pace returns.
Special Teams: A Mixed Bag
Nick Folk was awesome. 3-3 on field goals, although one was barely good. He routinely kicked the ball deep on kickoffs, something the Jets have lacked since John Hall left the Jets.
Steve Weatherford probably played his best game as a Jets. He helped the Jets to dominate the battle of field position which set the offense up on multiple occasions with a short field. Unfortunately, the offense could not manifest field position into points.
Kick coverage and punt coverage was fantastic as James Ihedibo was all over the field. He made a fantastic play along the goal line that almost ended up as a safety on Zbikowski.
A key penalty on Braylon Edward on an attempt to block a field goal kept the Ravens touchdown drive alive; it was the only black mark on a great night of special teams. The call was questionable at best as Billy Cundiff seemed to trip over Edwards who had sprawled out on a dive.
The defense will have its hand full with Tom Brady, and the Pats.
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