by Brian Clark
Quarterback – A+
Brett Favre – 24/34, 289 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT
So I think that this might be Brett Favre’s welcoming party to Giants Stadium. He threw some great deep balls in the game, hitting the receivers in stride. On the 1st TD pass to Coles he fired it in between the coverage square between the numbers. Great example of a throw that only Brett Favre and a few other quarterbacks in the league can make. He read the play well, and had one of the best games of any quarterback in NFL history.
Running Backs – C
Thomas Jones – 18 carries, 46 yards, 2.6 yards per carry
Leon Washington – 7 carries, 26 yards, 3.7 yards per carry
Another relatively weak performance by this group. One reason for the relatively low run average was the Cardinals stacking the box late in the game to try to force 4th down. Either way the longest run by Jones was just 9 yards as he fails to show any explosiveness. Even Leon failed to do much, since besides his one 13 yard run, he only averaged 2 yards per carry as well. He got involved slightly in the receiving game, but I still think he should be seeing more touches either in screens or split out wide.
Wide Receivers – A+
Laverneus Coles –8 receptions, 105 yards, 3 TD
Jerricho Cotchery – 4 receptions,67 yards, 2TD
It is great to see that Coles and Favre are starting to click, and today’s 3 TD’s for Coles was truly evidence of a budding relationship. For the first time it actually looked like Favre was trying to get it to LC, instead of treating LC as a generic route runner. He exploited the defense on the deep ball and made a few tough catches in traffic. Cotchery had a quiet game to start the day, but picked it up, running a great double move for his touchdown reception on 4th and 1. Both of these guys show what a tandem they could be.
Tight Ends – B
Dustin Keller –1 reception, 24 yards, TD
Bubba Franks – 2 receptions,32 yards
Dustin Keller got his 2nd TD in two games, on a nice slant and go route late in the game to seal the victory. He was quiet up to that point, which was surprising considering the passing assault Favre was putting on the Cardinals defense. Franks did a great job down the field averaging 16 yards for his two catches.
Offensive Line – B
This units strength over the first 4 games is pass protection as they seem to give Favre enough time to scan through his receivers. Today Favre had enough time to reach the receivers down the field for the big play. The only problem I see is the inability to establish a solid run game and win the battle in the trenches to make big holes for our runners. On the two 4th down attempts, they did well, allowing Jones to get the 1 yard he needed, and then to give Favre the chance to hit Cotchery on the play action fake
Defensive Line – A
This group did an amazing job getting pressure on Warner, and then stripping Warner as they came around the edge. Pace, Thomas, and Ellis each had a sack with David Bowens having two. Also the interception by Eric Smith was solely due to Kris Jenkins getting direct pressure in the face of Warner. This group got after the quarterback early and often and produced big plays and turnovers. They had a little bit of trouble stopping the run close to the goal line, but such a special effort is deserving of a high grade.
Linebackers – C+
A majority of the Cardinals catches were plays where the receiver ran free through the middle of the field 8-10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Since the Jets were in a prevent style zone, the Linebackers need to step up and tackle and limit success between the numbers. On many plays, the linebackers didn’t get deep enough into coverage, and the receiver was able to slide behind them, 15-20 yards down the field. Harris had 8 tackles, but Barton only picked up 3. Although Pace and Thomas are part of the linebacker corps, they were primarily rushing, the QB, and on the line.
Secondary – B-
When you look at numbers on the Jets side, it would be easy to assume that this group would get a higher score. 3 INT’s, fumble recovery, a pick six, Lowery with 9 solo tackles, Coleman with 8 tackles, Rhodes with 5, Revis with 4, it looks like a big day for this group. But when you allow 3 receivers to go over 100 yards receiving, the QB to throw for 472 yards, and be a big reason for 35 2nd half points, it knocks the grade down a little bit. The pick six by Revis is exactly the reason why we drafted him #14 years ago. He read the play well, cut in front of the receiver, and took it to the house. Eric Smith made a nice adjustment on his interception, reacting to a poorly thrown ball. They got the big plays, but also gave up the big plays. I just hope that other teams don’t go spread offense on us, because we looked extremely vulnerable from that set.
Special Teams – C
Jay Feely was 2/3, of which he needed a running into the kicker penalty to knock one of them through. Ben Graham had a strong day, averaging 48 yards on his two punts. Leon was non-existent in the return game mostly due to the Cardinals going for so many onside kicks. The Jets, one week from having a strong game on Special Teams, had a weaker game, especially on the onside kick recovery team. As the Cardinals picked up two of them, although one was called back on a penalty. They need to work on the hands team in practice and improve greatly in that area.
The play calling on the offensive side of the ball was great. I love Mangini’s foot on the pedal mentality to go for it twice, especially his gutsy play action call on 4th and 1, where most coaches would have just punted the ball away and try to pin the other team in deep. It was gutsy to go for it, and gutsier to pass it there, but both worked. Schott opened up the offense in the passing game which was a great sight to see, but needs to figure out how to get more explosive plays out of the running game. On defense they varied their blitzing a whole lot more than they had in previous games, as I saw more Kerry Rhodes blitzes today than I had in the previous 3 games. The Jets need to figure out when to get out of the prevent defense however, since both in this game, and the Dolphins game, it nearly cost them.
Studs Of The Game: Brett Favre, Laverneus Coles, Darrelle Revis, David Bowens (Wish I could add more D-liners)