New York Jets Postgame Notes: Preseason Week 1 vs. Houston Texans

Connor KieselContributor IAugust 16, 2011

HOUSTON - AUGUST 15:  Quarterback Greg McElroy #14 of the New York Jets grabs his head after wide receiver Michael Campbell #84 dropped a wide open pass in the endzone in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on August 15, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Shonn Greene looked solid in the limited snaps we saw from him. Five carries, 32 yards. Impressive blocking on the right side of the line by RT Wayne Hunter on the run that sprang Greene 19 yards.

—Bad night for the offensive line overall though. Vlad Ducasse got blown up at both the guard and tackle spots. Greg McElroy faced what seemed like an almost constant onslaught of pressure. The ankle injury to Robert Turner certainly does not help the depth there either, so the Jets will need to hope he’s okay (MRI coming). Mangold and Moore were out, but from the play tonight, it’s going to be a problematic situation if a starter on the line goes down.

—Not much to say about Mark Sanchez. Six-of-seven, 43 yards, accurate on what were mostly quick read passes, didn’t make any bad decisions. The first-team offense failed to score in the red zone and that’s another area that needs to improve, as much as fantasy owners with Nick Folk would beg to differ.

Rex Ryan’s headset-throwing meltdown in the second quarter of preseason game one was…awesome.

—The defensive line was strong and looks like it will be deep. Marcus Dixon, Ropati Pitoitua and Kenrick Ellis all picked up where the first team left off, getting penetration and holding strong on short yardage situations.

—Ellis tipped the Matt Leinart pass that Josh Mauga intercepted. Good night for him with a sack added on to the pick.

—Owen Daniels slipped free and was open past safety Eric Smith in the first quarter. He dropped Matt Schaub’s pass, but the Jets need to improve defending TEs. It was a big weakness last season.

—Playaction bootlegs fooled the Jets twice, once for a big play to the far sideline and again for a touchdown. The Texans ran a lot of screens as well to take advantage of blitzes.

—Rookie Jeremy Kerley looked like he could be an effective option as a kick/punt returner from the limited sample. Interesting to see the always-innovative Mike Westhoff’s new kickoff strategy, returner lining up eight or so yards deep in the end zone and running forward to field it.

—Greg McElroy got three quarters of action, good experience for a rookie quarterback. He looked flustered at first, unable to handle the Texans’ pressure. However, he definitely settled down in the third quarter, making some nice throws.

He threw a perfectly placed ball to Michael Campbell, who ran an excellent route but dropped what would have been the game-winning TD. McElroy’s decision to throw the ball 10 yards past the line on the last play of the game was definitely a rookie mistake (an almost laughable desperation move) but one I don’t think he’ll ever make again. He finished 23-of-39 with 208 yards and a TD and showed improvement as he played more, so that’s a plus.

—Player of the night goes to TE Jeff Cumberland. Very impressive pass-catching, six receptions, 77 yards. If only he were a better blocker, he could displace Matthew Mulligan, who dropped an easy pass and could prove to be as useless in the passing game as Ben Hartsock (who I only remember for holding penalties) was.