Now that everyone has had a chance to get their breath (and probably voice) back from the Jets exciting comeback win over the Cowboys it is time to look at some of the areas where Gang Green needs to improve.
1) Offensive line play- The Jets offensive line , which is considered to be one of the strengths of the team, struggled to consistently win the the battles in the trenches Sunday night. The line yielded 4 sacks and failed to open up enough holes to get the running game established (45 yards rushing on the night). Some of the line’ s issues can be attributed to the lockout, the lack of practice time, and the accelerated preseason. Going forward the Jets offensive line must clean up their mistakes, especially incorrect line calls, in order to get back to their dominating ways.
2) Sanchez starting slow- Once again New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense got off to a slow start on a Sunday night. The passing game was out of sync and the running game stagnant. This trend cannot continue as teams like the Ravens and Patriots will take advantage of the situation and blow the Jets out of the building. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer must find ways to get Sanchez going early on, whether that means with click slants or a dose of Dustin Keller early and often. Sanchez must also identify plays that he feels most comfortable with in order to help his receivers get into the flow of the game as well.
3) Get Greene going- Running back Shonn Greene struggled to get going Sunday night in both the passing and ground game. Greene (10 carries,26 yards) almost seems to be falling into that slow starter category that has been applied to Mark Sanchez. If that is the case the Jets must figure out ways to get Greene going early on or start LaDainian Tomlinson for the next several weeks. LT was very effective in blitz pickups and in the passing game (6 grabs/73 yards), two areas where Greene struggled.
4) Pass defense- The New York Jets defense was lit up for 342 passing yards on Sunday and there were culprits all over the field. Defensive back Antonio Cromartie yielded several big plays while the rest of the defense could not find a way to cover tight end Jason Witten (6 catches/110 yards). Some of these mistakes can be attributed to the lack of practice, first game etc, while others are a matter of improving communication and performance.
Additional Team Notes
Cromartie the returner? The New York Jets have decided to make starting cornerback Antonio Cromartie one of their primary kickoff returners. Cromartie is clearly one of the most explosive players in the NFL and is a threat to score whenever the ball is in his hands. The only concern with this move is that AC is one of the Jets best cover corners and if he were to get hurt the Jets defense would be put in a tough spot. I would prefer to see Cromartie used sparingly on returns with the Jets using guys like Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley instead. In addition Gang Green can check the waiver wires for returners instead of adding and dropping safeties and linebackers every day.
Banta-Cain brought in- According to the NY Daily News the Jets brought in former Patriot Tully Banta-Cain for a visit on Monday. The outside linebacker is recovered from an abdominal injury and could help Gang Green in the pass rushing department. This could also light a fire under Jamaal Westerman who did not have any tackles on Sunday night.