New York Jets @ Baltimore Ravens
Sanchez: 11/35, 0 TD, 1 INT, 4 fumbles (3 lost)
It’s not in my power to imagine what Mark Sanchez would have/could have/should have done with an even mediocre effort on the offensive line. All I have to go on are the results on the field. When your offense scores more points for the opposing team than it does for your own, you have failed.
Running Backs: F
It pains me to admit that Shonn Greene might not be the answer. Sure, he needs better blocking upfront. But even the slowest backs can still break one from time to time. Greene’s breakout runs hardly ever extend past the first down marker. Maybe it’s time to move to Joe McKnight and/or Bilal Powell here. At the very least, it would keep me from having to remember how to spell “Shonn” every week for the report card.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: D
Tight End Dustin Keller needs to get back into the gameplan on a consistent basis. He’s too much of a weapon to be ignored. Neither Holmes nor Burress could break free from tight man coverage, since the Ravens were reaching the quarterback too quickly.
There was one particularly bizarre moment in this game that might have reminded you of the Jets playoff run last year: Derrick Mason and Plaxico Burress ran essentially the same route on the same side of the field. On a pass that might have otherwise been caught by Burress, Mason broke it up. What in the world is going on with the playcalling and route running here?
Offensive Line: F
Can we go lower than an F? This was as putrid as it can be. Even the Steelers have a more intact line at this point. Give credit to undrafted free agent center Colin Baxter, who wasn’t even with the team during camp: he’s done as much as could possibly be expected to do. Unfortunately, it takes more than hard work to succeed at the NFL level, you also need talent and experience. Those are two areas in which Baxter is (apparently) lacking.
Compounding problems for the line was the surprisingly poor play of LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson. There we have little to worry about: Ferguson is one of the best left tackles in the game, and he will bounce back.
The same cannot be said of RT Wayne Hunter, who continues to struggle after having taken over for retired tackle Damien Woody.
With the run game locked down, one has to wonder about the status of RG Brandon Moore as well. One of the better run blockers in the game today, Moore has yet to make his presence felt on the field this year, leading to concerns that he is being nagged by previous injuries.
Jets fans are left only to hope that Nick Mangold, the best center in the NFL, can return to the field in week 5 and restore the offensive line.
Defensive Line: B-
All things considered, the defensive line did a pretty good job against RB Ray Rice, one of the best in the business. They held him to under 3 yards per carry. They have to do a much better job as getting to the quarterback, however, as QB Joe Flacco had all the time in the world, even when plays broke down.
As with the defensive line, the linebackers have to do a better job of getting to the quarterback. The Jets brought back former Buffalo Bills bust OLB Aaron Maybin, who got involved in the action in his game: causing a Flacco fumble. MLB David Harris returned an interception for a touchdown. Thankfully, Crumpler wasn’t on the field to run him down as he did in the Jets playoff victory over the Patriots last year. Harris is great, but damn… he is slow! OLB Calvin Pace also forced a fumble.
There were a few mishaps here and there, as the Ravens converted 3rd and longs. But the secondary held QB Joe Flacco to a completion percentage in the 30%’s, and that’s excellent.
Special Teams: A-
Joe McKnight returned a kickoff for a touchdown from well within the Jets endzone. (Of note: he also played a down on defense and caused some severe disruption, but that’s not special teams, of course.) Special teams coach
Mike Westhoff was, is and always will be a genius.
Nick Folk remains perfect on field goals. Thrilling development, all things considered.
T.J. Conley nearly had two punts blocked, and struggled more than usual.
What was offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s plan for this game? Why did he put so much trust in this offensive line going into Baltimore? Why didn’t he plan to run more screens and reverses? Why not move Sanchez around and have him roll out against such an aggressive defense with a debiliated line? And what of the mishap between Mason and Burress, as previously stated? Where was the creativity? Why isn’t Dustin Keller more involved in this offense?
Or how about line coach Bill Callahan? What’s up with the decision to sit Baxter temporarily, move Slauson to center and Ducasse to guard… then abandon said plan and return to form?
The defense played well, all things considered… and the special teams did, too. Those are the only two factors that rescue the staff from a failing grade here.
Headed to New England next week, it may be time to send up an S.O.S.