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New York Jets Week 15 Report Card: Grades for Every Starter

Chris Dela RosaContributor IDecember 19, 2011

New York Jets Week 15 Report Card: Grades for Every Starter

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    For any New York Jets fan watching Sunday afternoon's game, it was tough to see.

    Rex Ryan's team was destroyed by Andy Reid's by a score of 45-19 as the entire team looked like it was failing to produce.

    Interceptions, fumbles, blown coverages and missed tackles all helped culminate into what turned out to be an enormous beatdown.

    But just how bad did the Jets' starters play?

    Let's take a look as I grade the starters based on their performance from Sunday's game.

    As always, feedback is welcome.  Enjoy! 

Quarterback

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    Mark Sanchez started off the game playing average.  He was not getting much help from his offensive line who kept allowing pressure nor from his receiver Santonio Holmes who fumbled on his first reception of the day.

    Things went from bad to worse for Sanchez as he fumbled and was later billed for an interception on a pass that went right through Holmes' hands.

    If it seemed things could not get any worse, Sanchez fumbled on a play where he should have just gone down rather than trying to put his arm out and get the ball back to the line of scrimmage on third down.

    Although he threw two touchdown passes, they cannot make up for all of the mistakes Mark Sanchez had.

    Grade: D+

Running Backs

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    It was a decent day for the Jets running backs.  "Mr. December" Shonn Greene had an off day, only rushing for 73 yards on 18 carries and not scoring a touchdown.

    Meanwhile, LaDainian Tomlinson only ran for nine yards on three carries.

    It was hard for the Jets to get much going on the ground after the first quarter, which is when Shonn Greene seemed very effective.  He had several momentum building runs, but all momentum was lost when Santonio Holmes fumbled, and Mark Sanchez threw interceptions.

    There was one issue that could kill the Jets in close games down the line, which is dropping open passes.  There were several passes that Shonn Greene dropped when a defender was no less than five yards away from him, it's those kinds of passes that could be the difference between 4th-and-3 and 1st-and-10.

    Grade: C

Fullback

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    There's not much else to say about John Conner except that he was one of the few players that got the job done today.

    He blocked the right players, and when he was called upon to run it up the middle, he had a nice gain that prevented a 3rd-and-long that would have crippled yet another drive.

    Unfortunately for Conner, his teammates did not do their jobs.

    Grade: B

Tight End

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    Dustin Keller had an average day against the Eagles.  He made a great diving catch in the second quarter to get the Jets into Philadelphia territory.

    Other than his pair of catches in the second quarter, Keller was relatively quiet, thus justifying this average grade.

    Grade: C+

Wide Receivers

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    It was a horrible day to be a New York Jets wide receiver especially Santonio Holmes.

    It started on the Jets first drive after Shonn Greene continued to move the chain.  Holmes got a good pass from Mark Sanchez but could not go to the ground while keeping control of the ball after getting hit hard.

    He later dropped a Sanchez pass that landed in the hands of Asante Samuel and began a nice long drive that the Eagles offense put together to help build their initial 21-0 lead.

    Meanwhile, Plaxico Burress had a nice catch in the fourth quarter, which was his first catch of the day.  Obviously, that catch was too little too late as the Jets were already down 45-19 with the catch.

    Jeremy Kerley had an average day, picking up a nice first down in the third quarter, but like Burress' catch, his contribution was not enough to help the Jets come from behind as they were trying to do all game.

    Grade: D

Offensive Line

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    The image for this slide is the result of inadequate protection for Mark Sanchez for most of the game.

    This week, the Jets offensive line allowed four sacks and plenty of hits of Sanchez.  The main people causing all of this trouble for Sanchez were Jason Babin and Wayne Hunter.  Hunter, right tackle for the Jets, had the pleasure of blocking against one of the league's better pass-rushers and obviously had trouble as Babin finished the day with three sacks, putting him in the lead for most sacks this season with 18.

    For most of the season, it has been that the play of the Jets offense has been dictated by how well the offensive line performs, and today seems no different.  The offensive line played horribly, and as a result, the rest of the offense did as well, and with no help from the defense, the Jets could not stay in the game.

    Grade: F

Defensive Line

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    For the first time this season, the defensive line was very inconsistent. 

    At times, they would be stopping LeSean McCoy whenever he tried to run or were able to contain Michael Vick, preventing big gains. But then there were other times when they seemed absolutely atrocious as they let McCoy change directions and burst through for big gains or let Vick take off for a first down and more.

    Sadly, their performance for most of the game was on the poor side as the Eagles were able to do practically whatever they wanted to in the trenches.

    Unnecessary penalties like roughing the passer and neutral zone infraction do not help, and for all of this put together, it's needless to say that the defensive line deserves a bad grade following this loss.

    Grade: D

Linebackers

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    It seemed like today was going to be a good day for the New York Jets linebackers.  Inside linebackers David Harris and Bart Scott teamed up to force a fumble against LeSean McCoy (which was later fumbled), and Calvin Pace was doing a solid job of setting the edge on the many stretch plays the Eagles attempted.

    Although they started off well, the Jets linebackers had plenty of problems down the stretch.  For most of the second quarter and second half, the Jets linebackers would keep LeSean McCoy or even Michael Vick pinned behind the line of scrimmage, but because of the quickness of those players, they continued to miss tackle after tackle.

    Tackling was a major flaw earlier this season, and it seems that the inability to tackle has returned.  Although they had trouble wrapping up, the Jets linebackers were not as atrocious as the starters for other positions.

    Grade: C-

Cornerbacks

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    Similarly, Dustin Keller and John Conner, cornerbacks Kyle Wilson, Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis were just average.  

    It's rare to see this cornerback core be flat more than once or twice a season, but Sunday's game against the Eagles was another one of those times. 

    They allowed some chunks to be gained by DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, but those passes were not daggers like the safeties let go.

    Grade: C

Safeties

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    Only one word can describe how the Jets' safeties performed in their first game since losing Jim Leonhard—disgusting.

    A problem the Jets have had for the last few years is keeping tight ends from having big days against them.  It was no different against Brent Celek and the Eagles. 

    Brodney Pool and Eric Smith had the responsibility of trying to contain Brent Celek in Sunday's game and obviously failed.  Celek caught five passes for 156 yard with one touchdown—his longest reception going for 73 yards.

    Without Jim Leonhard, it's very hard to see the Jets' safeties being successful for the rest of the season.  

    Their grade for being embarrassed on Sunday should come as no surprise

    Grade: F

Special Teams

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    It seems as if special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff may have been the only Jets' coach with a successful unit on Sunday afternoon.

    When the offense failed to produce touchdowns, kicker Nick Folk went onto the field and was able to nail two field goals.

    His punt team was able to capitalize on a Philadelphia error as they recovered a muffed punt return by a Philadelphia blocker after the offense failed to get out of their own territory. 

    Although Joe McKnight did not get many kick returns, Antonio Cromartie picked up the slack.  He returned five kicks for 146 yards—his longest going for 42 yards.  

    Had this been a game just based on special teams' performance, the Jets definitely would have won.

    Grade: B+


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