Jets vs. Bengals: What we learned
Preseason started much like the regular season ended last year for the Jets — with a loss, this time dropping a 17-6 decision in Cincinnati. It wasn’t a good night for the Jets, in particular on offense, as the team clearly is adjusting to new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s offense.
1. The offensive line is still downright offensive
The much-maligned offensive line of last year looked no better this go around, with the Jets giving up five sacks for 40 yards.
There was confusion in all parts of the line, with D’Brickashaw Ferguson struggling and right tackle Wayne Hunter not looking much better than his overall poor showing last year. There is also serious need for a blocking tight end on this team, something the Jets don’t have on their roster.
“The offensive line takes all the blame, of course, when your quarterback gets hit. On some of those, the ball has to come out,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “Now there were also a couple where maybe it could have been guys getting beat physically.”
2. Coples looks like he was worth the pick
In his first taste of the NFL, the Jets’ top draft pick played all four quarters and showed flashes of why he was the No. 16 pick in the NFL Draft.
Quinton Coples, a rookie out of North Carolina, was disruptive off the edge and consistently applied pressure. Ryan called Coples “tremendous” with five tackles, including a sack and a tackle for a loss.
“I did very well. I don’t have a grade for it, but I was very productive. I also have a lot to improve upon as well,” Coples said. “I look forward to looking at this game on film and correcting my mistakes.”
3. Tim Tebow still exists, but he’s still the backup
Yes, the most hyped debut of a backup quarterback — or perhaps any quarterback — in franchise history was the second quarter insertion of Tim Tebow into the game.
True, Tebow made two special teams appearances before that, but when he entered the game under center, all eyes were on him.
The Jets didn’t use any trick plays or any of their Wildcat offense, but Tebow still made plays with his feet, leading the Jets in rushing with four carries for 34 yards. He was also 4-for-8 for 27 yards passing the ball, including an interception. He was perhaps better than expected.
4. Sanchez was off the Mark
That talk of a quarterback battle isn’t coming from the Jets, who have said that Mark Sanchez is their starter this year. But the national media is certainly playing up a battle and Sanchez didn’t do a whole lot to quiet that buzz against the Bengals.
Sanchez was a middling 4-for-6 for 21 yards and failed to lead the offense into the end zone. It is a new offense for Sanchez, but it is much simpler than the one he’s had the past three years under former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
“I thought my reads were pretty solid. I thought the accuracy was there. I didn’t have too many checks, but the couple I had were OK,” Sanchez said. “Other than that, keep progressing — keep moving forward and mastering this offense.”
5. Depth at running back
Shonn Greene may not necessarily be the answer as the team’s “bell cow” as the fourth-year running back has been most effective when splitting carries out of the backfield. Greene had just 11 yards on five carries Friday night, but Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell and rookie Terrance Ganaway all were solid.
In particular, McKnight looked the best of the bunch with seven carries for 32 yards. Through training camp and now the first preseason game of the year, McKnight has been the most consistent ball carrier for the Jets. He also sprinkled in three catches for 34 yards, a team-high in receiving yards.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.