Browsing Posts tagged Stephen Hill

It’s been a tumultous season for Rex Ryan’s Jets. After flirting with Peyton Manning, the Jets signed Mark Sanchez to a three-year, $40.5 million contract extension. Sanchez had two years remaining of his rookie contract, so the move was surprising. However, the Jets made the most puzzling move in franchise history a few months later. The Jets sent a fourth round pick to Denver for Tim Tebow. The looming presence of Tebowmania was evident as Sanchez’s clearly looked uncomfortable in the pocket. The offense’s production went from ‘bad’ to ‘worse’ as Wildcat guru, Tony Sparano was signed as offensive coordinator. Ryan was hellbent on getting back to a ‘Ground & Pound’ offense that he overlooked the offense’s biggest problem–Sanchez’s inconsistencies as a passer. Sparano’s offense is predicated by a hard-nosed ground game and accurate throws down field–two facets the Jets simply don’t have. Sanchez was booed to the bench and Tim Tebow Greg McElroy took over. McElroy isn’t the long-term answer, but the thought of McElroy starting seems like blasphemy.

While the offense’s on-field play was a downright disgrace, injuries clearly affected production. Santonio Holmes suffered a season ending foot injury and Stephen Hill and Dustin Keller couldn’t seem to stay healthy. Practice squad fodder (e.g. Chaz Schillens, Mardy Gilyard) became Sanchez’s go-to receivers. One could argue that Sanchez played so poorly that it didn’t matter who was on the field. Still, every team must overcome injuries and the Jets didn’t do it.

The defense has always been the Jets’ strength, so this year’s statistics were downright pitiful. The Jets have the NFL’s sixth worst run defense, yielding 135.3 yards per game. Of note, the 49ers gashed the Jets for over 250 yards, which Ryan coined as his worst performance ever. Bart Scott looked old and simply couldn’t defend tight ends. The Jets lost Darrelle Revis early in the season, but the pass defense did not miss a beat. Newcomers, Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry secured the safety positions and Antonio Cromartie played at a Pro Bowl level. The Jets were the NFL’s second best pass defense, yielding just 187 yards per game. Kyle Wilson started in place of Revis and was always picked on by opposing quarterbacks.

Special team’s coordinator, Mike Westhoff, will retire at season’s end. Known as the ‘Creator of Special Teams’, Westhoff experienced many highs (and lows). The Jets scored (and gave up) two special teams touchdowns, but suffered numerous gaffes. Tebow was placed on the punt team and made his share of mistakes.

Overall, it was a terrible season for the Jets. Ryan’s pre-season assertions about his team’s talent level were downright comical. Still, Cromartie made the Pro Bowl and Muhammad Wilkerson is beginning to play like an All-Pro. If Revis fully recovers from his ACL injury and Bell and Landry re-sign, the Jets will have the league’s best secondary. The Jets are encouraged by the play of Wilkerson and Quinton Coples, so the defense can return to its dominant ways if adds a few pieces.

On offense, the Jets need a new offensive coordinator. The Jets are stuck with Mark Sanchez, so they need a coordinator that can help develop him as a passer. Norv Turner and Charlie Weis have track records of fixing quarterbacks, so they may be options. Ryan does not know anything about offense, so he needs a strong coordinator that can fully take over. Dustin Keller will be a free agent, so the Jets need to make a decision. Still, the Jets will hope the injury gods shine more favorably upon them next season.

The Jets should give Rex Ryan one more season. The Jets will likely have a Top 12 draft pick and the return of some key pieces will help. In addition, the Jets will play a 3rd-or-4th place schedule next season, which should pad their win total. Ryan’s defense can regain its dominance, but the offense desperately needs a strong coordinator. Tebow, Sparano, and Mike Tannenbaum should not be brought back, but Ryan should be given one more chance.

QB: Eli Manning Passing: 7-14-62-0 TD / 1 INT-  Sans Hakeem Nicks, the Giants came out with their first team offense and participated in three drives. During his first drive, Manning orchestrated a 12-play drive, which included a critical special teams penalty on Joe McKnight that kept the drive alive. Following three straight completions to Victor Cruz, which were mitigated by penalties, and one short dump off to Martellus Bennett, Lawrence Tynes booted a 35-yard field goal to give the Giants a 3-0 lead. In his second drive, Manning barely missed on a touchdown strike to Victor Cruz on a third-and-one from the 16 yard line. Some will argue that corner back Kyle Wilson held Cruz, but the referee did not throw the flag. The Giants converted the fourth-and-one as Manning found Domenik Hixon, who was closely covered by Darrelle Revis, for a short four-yard strike to pick up the first down. Once again, the Giants failed to score a red zone touchdown and settled for a 30-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal to gain a 6-0 advantage. On his final drive, Manning threw an errant pass that was intercepted by safety, LaRon Landry. Despite orchestrating two lengthy drives, the interception capped a frustrating night for Manning.

RB: Ahmad Bradshaw Rushing: 3-2-0 After taking his third carry, Bradshaw left the game and went to the locker room with an apparent hand injury. X-Rays came back negative, however a cyst on his hand was broken open. Bradshaw is not expected to miss any time, but Giant fans are beginning to wonder if Bradshaw is made of glass. Bradshaw has played through chronic foot issues before, but can he effectively carry the football and take hits with a hand injury? We will see.

RB: Danny Ware Rushing: 11-15-0; Receiving 0-0 (1 Target) Ware came in for the injured Bradshaw, but didn’t find much running room. Ware broke off one nice run of seven yards, but was quickly corralled by the Jet defense. With Wilson still learning the Giant offense and Bradshaw removing himself from the game, Ware simply served a stop-gap option.

RB: David Wilson Rushing: 8-26-0 Alike Ware, Wilson did not find much running room against the stout Jet defense. Wilson was able to slash his way for two first downs, but he looked timid at times as he broke the line of scrimmage. In addition, Wilson looked a bit dumbfounded in pass blocking situations. If Wilson wants to become a substantial part of the Giant offense, he must improve his pass blocking. Wilson was utilized as the team’s kick-off return man, however, he did not have an opportunity to return a kick.

WR: Victor Cruz Receiving: 5-51-0 (8 targets) With Nicks sidelined, Cruz was the team’s top passing option, garnering eight of fourteen possible targets from Manning.  The Jet secondary took turns covering the Paterson, NJ product, and Cruz made the most of his non-Revis match-ups. As noted above, Cruz hauled in three straight passes from Manning and had a touchdown catch unjustly ripped away by Wilson. It was an impressive performance by Cruz and Nicks’ imminent return will only enhance the Giants’ passing attack.

WR: Rueben Randle Receiving: 1-49 (2 targets) Even though Randle took the field with David Carr and the second team offense, he made his presence felt. Carr and Randle hooked up for a 49-yard strike down the left sideline. Randle chose to wear #82 and his big play reminded many of another #82 (Mario Manningham) who stepped up for the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.

TE: Martellus Bennett Receiving: 1-7 (1 target) Manning found Bennett for seven yards on a third-and-ten from the Jet 24 yard-line, setting up Tynes’ first field goal of the evening.

Others: In the fourth quarter, running back, Joe Martinek hauled in a swing pass from third-string quarterback, Ryan Perrilloux and scampered 14 yards for a touchdown. Martinek’s score was the only offensive touchdown of the game. 

Kicker Lawrence Tynes successfully booted four field goal attempts.

QB: Mark Sanchez Passing: 9-11-59 0 TD / 1 INT- Despite completing nine of his eleven passes, Sanchez was sacked three times, failed to convert any of his six third down opportunities, and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Sanchez did not have Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, or Chaz Schillens, but frankly, it didn’t really matter. The play by the Jet offensive line, namely Wayne Hunter, was down right embarrassing. Hunter gave way to two ugly sacks and had a third waved off due to a defensive penalty. Sanchez was constantly under duress and the sloppy offensive line play is to blame. Through two pre-season games, Sanchez’s offense has yet to register a touchdown.

QB: Tim Tebow- Passing: 5-14-69 0 TD /0 INT; Rushing: 2-5-0 Alike Sanchez, Tebow was constantly under duress. Tebow’s most memorable play happened in the fourth quarter when Giants’ safety, Will Hill rushed in unblocked and sacked him. Somehow, Tebow was able to get up, but this hit was a microcosm of how poor the Jets’ blocking adjustments were. In addition, Tebow under threw a wide-open Stephen Hill in the end zone on a second-and-ten from the Giants 25-yard-line. That drive resulted in a Josh Brown field goal, the Jets’ only points of the game. While Tebow’s 5-for-14 effort appears terrible, five of his nine incompletions were drops by receivers. In addition, Tebow threw two balls out of bounds rather than forcing the ball into tight coverage.

Overall, it was a very poor showing from the Jet quarterbacks. Despite some poor decisions, the quarterback duo absorbed seven sacks. If the Jets don’t solve their offensive line woes, it won’t matter which quarterback is under center.

RB: Shonn Greene- Rushing: 11-36-0; Receiving: 2-9-0 (2 targets) When the offense isn’t scoring, it’s difficult to find bright spots. However, Greene ran with some authority, registering five plays of five yards or more. While these plays alone aren’t going to win games, Greene’s tenacity cannot be overlooked. As pure runner, Greene is not dynamic, but given the Jets desire to run a ‘vanilla offense’, Greene can gain three-to-four yards per carry.

WR: Jordan White- Receiving: 3-28-0 (4 targets) White started in place of the injured Santonio Holmes and instantly became Sanchez’s favorite target. White hauled in three of his four targets, which included an impressive catch over safety, Antrell Rolle. Prior to the game, White was dealing with some swelling in his knee, so his condition is worth monitoring. Should Holmes not be ready for Week 1, White will start in his place.

WR: Stephen Hill- Receiving: 2-21-0 (3 targets) Hill started the game with Tebow and the Jets’ second team offense. On the first passing play, Tebow threw a pinpoint pass to Hill along the right sideline. A few plays later, Hill was wide open in the end zone, but Tebow underthrew him.

Last season with the Broncos, Tebow had a propensity for locking onto his larger receivers. Hill resembles Tebow’s favorite Denver target, Demaryius Thomas, and the two could form a nice repertoire.

TE: Dustin Keller- Receiving: 2-9-0 (2 targets) Keller was able to make two nice grabs over the middle of the field, but was not heavily featured. With Holmes out with an injury, many assumed Keller would be featured. Look for him to be more involved this week against the Carolina Panthers.

Others: Running back, Bilal Powell played with the second team offense. Powell demonstrated patience and explosion behind a leaky Jet offensive line. Powell ran six times for 21 yards. Powell’s running back counterpart, Joe McKnight, only mustered three yards on three carries.

Through two preseason games, the New York Jets have failed to score an offensive touchdown. While most will argue that the preseason is meaningless, the Jets’ futile offensive showing is troublesome. During last night’s 26-3 loss to the Giants, the Jets gave up seven total sacks and looked like the league’s worst offense. The Jets’ first team offense went 0-for-6 on third downs, allowed three sacks, and were stymied twice on third-and-one and fourth-and-one. While Mark Sanchez completed 9-of-11 pass attempts, one of his errant passes was intercepted by Giants’ rookie, Jayron Hosley and returned for a touchdown.

After Sanchez’s lackluster performance, some Jet fans began to clamor for Tim Tebow. However, Tebow wasn’t much better, completing just 5-of-14 pass attempts and short hopping a wide open Stephen Hill in the end zone. 

After the first team offense was taken out, Shonn Greene was visually upset on the sidelines. Greene stated that he was ‘very concerned’ that the offense hasn’t scored yet. While Rex and Sanchez claim they ‘aren’t too worried yet’, the Carolina Panthers are coming to town next weekend. The third pre-season game is the ‘dress rehearsal’ game where the starters see extended action. While the Panthers present some challenges on both sides of the ball, New York’s Week 1 match-up against the Bills is only three weeks away. The Jets better find their way into the end zone or it’ll be an extremely long, frustrating season. 

So far, we’ve looked at the Giants team dynamic. Today, we’ll shift our focus to little brother and their dynamic on offense. Without further delay, here is your 2012 New York Jets team report for offense.

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I noted that the Jets needed to nail their first three selections and on the surface, they just didn’t do it. While they did address their three biggest needs, the players they selected make you scratch your head. Take first round pick, Quinton Coples. The Jets had their pick between Coples, Melvin Ingram, and Chandler Jones. Ingram and Jones were used to playing in 3-4 schemes while Copes comes from a 4-3 front at UNC. That didn’t slow the Jets down from selecting the much maligned Vernon Gholston 2.0. Outside of Coples, the Jets added 2 WRs, OLB, DB, RB, G, and S. I’ll go into more detail, but this Jet draft class isn’t anything special.

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