Another New York Jets postgame presser by Head Coach Rex Ryan and “starting” QB Geno Smith gives us another round of “we can’t turn the ball over” and “the penalties need to stop” and… who’s line is it anyway? For the second game in a row, despite pushups all week, penalties were a problem for the boys in Green & White, tallying 10 on Sunday after 20 against the Buffalo Bills the week before. Turnovers from the QB position have continued to plague the offense, as Geno Smith threw two INTs and fumbled the ball away twice, during a 38-13 pasting at the hands of the Tennessee Titans (3-1).
It started early, Geno’s first pass (intended for Stephen Hill) was picked off by CB Alterraun Verner and returned 34 yards. Verner ended up catching two Geno Smith passes on Sunday (that’s one more than Santonio Holmes caught from Geno on Sunday)! Jake Locker flipped a one-yard pass to Delanie Walker to put his team up 7-0, and the Titans never looked back. We later found out that Hill suffered a concussion on the play, and was unable to return. As of now, Hill starting against the Falcons is in doubt. Geno finished the game 23 of 34 for 289 yards, and a 34-yard TD pass to Jeff Cumberland. Detractors will point to his two INTs and two fumbles lost, as they should, but Geno throwing that TD after all he went through in that game is a positive sign. I like that he can shake off a few bad throws and continue to let it rip downfield. He’ll improve… he’ll get better. It looks like Mark Sanchez will have surgery on his shoulder, which will end his 2013 season and possibly his Jets career.
Jake Locker went 18 of 24 for 149 yards and 3TDs, before leaving the game in the third quarter after a hit by Mo Wilkerson left the QB motionless and clutching his hip. Locker will be sidelined for anywhere from four to eight weeks with a right hip injury, which is still being evaluated by the team’s medical staff. The team has announced that they don’t believe the injury is season-ending. Ryan Fitzpatrick filled in well for Locker, going 3 of 8 for 108 yards and 1TD. No one player stood out against the Jets, but a truly team performance did Gang Green in. Chris Johnson went 15 rushes for 21 yards and Jackie Battle had 11 rushes for 42 yards. Those are very modest numbers for a team that has a potent ground game.
Bilal Powell had 14 of the team’s 23 carries, managing only 66 yards after a career-high 149 yards in his last outing. With a 4.7 yards/carry average, I want to see Powell running the ball more. I know with Marty Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator, it’ll be more passes than throws, but if the Jets are gashing the opponent on the ground, why not keep pounding that rock? The Jets passing-game spread the ball around nicely (9 players caught passes against the Titans), but it was more out of necessity with Hill going out early and Santonio Holmes leaving midway into the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Holmes only caught one pass for 25 yards.
We understand that Geno’s a rookie, and that he’s going through the growing pains of learning and adjusting to the NFL game, but even Rex agrees “we better learn in a hurry.” After the game, reports have Geno telling each player at their locker that “it” (the turnovers) won’t happen again. TE Kellen Winslow Jr. thinks “It’s good that (Geno’s) accountable, but it’s all about execution,” and added, “we believe in the guy!” Our next opportunity to see Geno keep his word will be on Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons (1-3). The Falcons have lost back-to-back games against the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots, so you know they’ll be ready to finally take down an AFC East opponent.
-Joseph Haas Editor, HCoftheNYJ.com
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