It’s always good to come away from a game, any game, with a victory. I’m pretty sure a player or two spoke those very words into a waiting microphone or portable recording device Thursday Night, as the New York Jets opened their 2014 preseason campaign with a 13-10 victory over Andrew Luck and the visiting Indianapolis Colts.
Neither QB threw for a score, but “backup” Mike Vick led the Jets on their only touchdown drive of the evening. A 1-yd TD by his camp roommate Chris Johnson capped off a fourteen play, 80-yard drive to tie it up 10-10. Both teams were held scoreless in the second half until Andrew Furney came off the bench and kicked the Jets to victory with a 51-yard strike through the uprights (and sparing us all preseason overtime).
Geno Smith started the game and played well enough. He seemed more poised, more confident in what each play he was running was intended to accomplish (I know each play is intended to score a TD… you know what I mean!). He only went 4 of 6 for 33 yards, but no sacks and no turnovers was the biggest plus in his limited action (and fans will take improvement where we can get it).
Chris Ivory carried the ball seven times for 17 yards. All will agree, the most impressive runs came from the two QBs. Geno moved with intent, picked up good yardage and got out of bounds! Vick outside the pocket still has me biting my fingernails like a character from Looney Tunes, but he came away from his three carries and 19 yards no worse for wear.
The Jets had 13 different players catch at least one pass on Thursday night. I know it’s the preseason, but that’s a good number for “positions of need” just a season ago. Highly-touted new comers like free-agent Eric Decker (2 for 12 yards) and rookie Jace Amaro (2 for 18 yards) got their feet wet, while rookie Jalen Saunders made his debut returning punts.
All teams have questions, and the Jets are no different. One of the questions looming large over the team entering 2014 would be the play of their secondary. A group which includes a highly scrutinized Dee Milliner and free agent acquisition Dimitri Patterson, was expected to feature rookies Calvin Pryor and Dexter McDougle among mainstays like Dawan Landry, Kyle Wilson, Ellis Lankster, Antonio Allen, Darrin Walls and Josh Bush. Milliner played exceptional ball on Thursday while Patterson left a lot to be desired, allowing short completions for first downs and getting burned badly deep as well.
Leaders like LB Demario Davis have an understanding of just how vital towards the success of the team it is for Milliner to play well all year. “I’ve been calling him Franchise,” said Davis. “He’s a key part of our defense. The better he plays, the better our defense will be.” Milliner had a shot at an interception on a badly underthrown ball. “I should’ve come down with it,” said the second-year man out of Alabama, but he was unable to haul it in.
Dimitri Patterson had a game he’d like to forget. He’s been dealing with lingering ankle and calf issues, but he’s not using it as an excuse for his lackluster play. “This is camp: Everybody’s probably dealing with something. I’m dealing with what I’m dealing with. It’s no excuse.” He’ll need to pick up his play considerably after the developments at practice this past Sunday. Dee Milliner ends up in a boot with a high-ankle sprain and Dexter McDougle tears his ACL, ending his season before it truly got started. McDougle missed most of his final season at Maryland recovering from a shoulder injury.
With the injury bug biting the Jets on Sunday, critics look toward the front office for answers. Rex says the defense is “no one trick pony” as Antonio Allen played corner to rave reviews, instead of his usual safety position during Monday’s practice. GM John Idzik hasn’t panicked yet, but an obvious weakness on this team just got weaker. While the team waits for Milliner to recover from his high-ankle sprain (prognosis is “several weeks”), fans remember the days of Revis and Cromartie… and wonder where the good ‘ol days at corner have gone.
-Joseph Haas Editor, HCoftheNYJ.com
WEEK 1: vs Indianapolis Colts (Jets win 13-10 at MetLife Stadium)
WEEK 2: at Cincinnati Bengals, SATURDAY August 16, 2014 at Paul Brown Stadium
WEEK 3: vs New York Giants, FRIDAY August 22, 2014 at MetLife Stadium
WEEK 4: at Philadelphia Eagles, THURSDAY August 28, 2014 at Lincoln Financial Field a.k.a The Linc
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