New York Jets Preseason: 3 Winners and Losers from Week 1 against the Texans
With the first week of preseason in the books, football is really back!
As far as the starters go, they were pretty even as both offenses produced a field goal, while the defenses impressed. Coming into this game, some of the topics regarding the Jets and their new and improved roster was their rejuvenated defensive line and how they would look, whether or not Mark Sanchez has improved and whether or not the Jets' offseason acquisitions were worth the money.
Some of the question marks related to these topics were answered, and others were left unanswered for the coming weeks as the Jets fell to the Texans 20-16 at Reliant Stadium on Monday night.
Take a look at some of the winners and losers from Monday's loss and how they fared during the game.
As always, feedback is welcome. Enjoy!
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Loser: Robert Turner
Robert Turner, who has been the offensive line’s sixth man for years, suffered a critical injury to his lower leg which knocked him out of the game in the first quarter, bringing in third string center Robby Felix.
While Turner is a second-string player, he could make the starting roster. He has the skill set to play anywhere on the offensive line whether it is at center, guard, tackle or even as a blocking tight end.
This year was Turner’s year to step up and compete with Wayne Hunter for the starting right tackle job, but it seems the job is Hunter’s to lose.
Winner: Derrick Mason
He did not play much, but Derrick Mason definitely showed those who were watching Monday night’s game that he can still play even at 38 years old.
The Jets signed the veteran after he was released from the Baltimore Ravens, and Jericho Cotchery’s injury did not seem to get better.
Mason caught three passes for 21 yards, one of which being an explosive screen that gained six yards.
During the first quarter, Mason showed everything the Jets expected out of the veteran—quickness, toughness and the ability to catch (something young receiver Michael Campbell does not have on account he dropped a perfect game-winning pass from Greg McElroy).
As long as Mason stays healthy, he will prove to be a great acquisition by the Jets this offseason.
Loser: Offensive Line
Possibly one of the sloppiest games by an otherwise stellar offensive line was displayed during the Jets matchup against the Texans.
Prior to the start of the game, the Jets already suffered losses to their offensive line because of injuries, forcing center Nick Mangold and right guard Brandon Moore to watch the game from home, but that does not excuse what happened on the field.
On almost every passing play, the quarterback had some defender in his face, which did not allow plays to develop, especially in the second half with Greg McElroy leading the offense. Over the course of the game, the Texans had seven sacks and 16 hits on a Jets quarterback.
Needless to say, Bill Callahan needs to work on the offensive line and how well they can protect their quarterbacks or else the Jets will be a one-dimensional offense with just running the ball and all of the money they spent on Santonio Holmes will be worthless if their quarterback cannot get him the ball.
Winner: Josh Mauga
Contrary to what most people thought, the young linebacker that stood out during Monday’s Jets game was Josh Mauga and not Nick Bellore. Leading up to Monday’s game, Rex Ryan and the rest of the coaching staff were praising Bellore; he was average on Monday night, but Josh Mauga outshined him.
Mauga, the third-year veteran started off by getting a sack on Matt Schaub when Bart Scott suffered what seemed to be a cramp in his leg from the first play. His explosiveness in the first quarter was just the beginning; Mauga returned to the field in the second quarter along with the second-string defense and got back to work by stopping running back Chris Ogbonnaya in the backfield.
In the third quarter, Mauga found himself picking off Matt Leinart whose pass was tipped by another standout player from Monday’s game, Kenrick Ellis. By the end of the game, Mauga had three tackles (two tackles for a loss), two quarterback hits and an interception.
Loser: Offense (Starter and Subs)
While it is only the preseason, the Jets issues in the red zone continued, as they were not able to produce a touchdown out of their first two trips.
The Texans halted the Jets the first time with Mark Sanchez leading the Jets’ starting offense in the first quarter. It happened a second time in the third quarter; this time, with rookie quarterback Greg McElroy leading the second-string offense down the field.
Besides the fact that they could not get the ball into the end zone, one common problem between these two red-zone trips was that the Jets could not carry the momentum. Each time they made it to the red zone, it came from a methodical drive down the field that could not be interrupted, but once the Jets crossed the invisible red line, it seemed as if they just stopped trying to produce.
It was not until their third trip to the red zone when the Jets were able to score their first touchdown on a pass to Patrick Turner from Greg McElroy.
The Jets acquired Plaxico Burress to fix this problem as he is 6'5" and will be a nice big target for Mark Sanchez.
If Burress can get healthy and produce the way the Jets hope he can, it should boost the Jets up the rankings from No. 30 for red-zone offense.
Winner: Jets Defensive Starters
After the Jets lost the sweepstakes for Nnamdi Asomugha, many people thought the Jets hopes of being able to load the box and rely on their secondary was over, on Monday, they proved all of the non-believers wrong.
To start off the game, the Texans ran out of a formation that used a lot of tight ends; even though they had a tight end heavy offense on the field did not mean they were just going to run the ball.
To combat this scheme, Rex Ryan had all of his linebackers and defensive lineman crowd the box and line of scrimmage, leaving Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to cover the receivers (keep in mind that Andre Johnson did not play).
Rex Ryan’s scheme did not disappoint as the Jets defense was able to hold the Texans to 29 yards of offense, only giving up a long 49-yard field goal in the second quarter. So far, the Jets defense looks like it is ready for 2011; there are still some final adjustments to be made on the defensive line, but as a unit, they are looking pretty good.
Watch on Sunday night as the Jets return to New York to take on the Bengals at home.