Jets vs. Panthers: What we learned
The Jets dropped to 0-3 in the preseason with a 17-12 loss to Carolina in what was a dull, uninspiring game — even by preseason standards. We take a look at three things we learned from the third preseason game:
1. Shades of last year’s ‘D’
Much like last year, the Jets’ defense looked superb for long stretches, but had major lapses in concentration at other moments. At some points the defense really struggled with Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, who rarely looking flustered in the pocket despite some heavy pressure from the defensive line. On the Panthers’ first and last series of the first half they moved the ball easily. The visitors had a 65-yard drive to start the game for a 3-0 lead and then went 31 yards on five plays to head into the locker room up 10-9 at halftime. Newton finished 6-for-15 for just 60 yards and a touchdown but the Jets defense gave up several big plays in failing to properly corral Newton. Even backup Derek Anderson looked good for Carolina, going 6-for-7 for 64 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
2. Jets’ first-team offense
There were no touchdowns again for the offense, who looked fluid until they hit the red zone. The opening drive of the game sprinkled in both runs and passes as the offense covered 46 yards on six plays, but only resulted in a Nick Folk 46-yard field goal. It was the first time all preseason that quarterback Mark Sanchez led his unit to points and the integration of Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley, both of whom were injured for the first two preseason games, helped the offense look better. It still wasn’t perfect, with Sanchez and Tim Tebow each throwing an interception. The failure to get six points is puzzling.
3. Injuries everywhere
The Jets emerged winless from the first two preseason games, but at least they were relatively unscathed. In the first half alone against Carolina, the Jets lost tight ends Dustin Keller and Josh Baker along with middle linebacker David Harris. Then wide receiver Stephen Hill went off with a hand injury in the third quarter. Going to 0-3 isn’t as worrisome as some of these injuries, which affect both sides of the ball and the team’s overall depth. Keller watched the rest of the game from the sidelines after his trip to the locker room with a hamstring injury and Hill returned to the game. But the news on Baker doesn’t look good after he took a nasty shot to his knee.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.