The one big item that stuck out like a sore thumb in the Jets first preseason game against the Bengals was the fact that the O-line wasn’t able to stop anything or anybody. Mark Sanchez, not that fleet–a-foot had one good scramble but he never had time to throw. He didn’t complain about it but you could see it was hard for him to get comfortable out there. Enter Tim Tebow.
If the line is crumbling, like it was, Tebow was there to make a few good runs and throw some good passes, and some bad, but the fact was he was able to operate better in a bad system than Sanchez. He was facing Cincinnati’s second and third unit players, and that’s important to note as well.
Sanchez has grown a bit as a quarterback but his flaws really show up when he doesn’t have time to throw, just like Ken O’Brien did back in the day. O’Brien is a way better passer than Sanchez could ever be but Sanchez has a leadership quality that wasn’t quite there in O’Brien. The best QB’s in the league, like Tom Brady, have trouble when their reaction time is limited.
Tony Sparano has a big job ahead of him. Maybe too big. The Jets running game is average at best and now if their line is once again below average it won’t matter how good the defense is because the offense won’t be able to sustain a lot of meaningful drives. To “Ground and Pound” you have to have big holes and the Jets aren’t creating many of them so far.
I still have the sense that Sanchez is being set up to fail this season. I don’t feel like the receiving core is up to snuff and the line certainly isn’t and he’ll be judged harshly if the results aren’t there. After watching a sampling of preseason games you can see the well coached teams and the ones that weren’t. The Jets were in the latter group.
There is a fine line in the NFL between teams with seven wins and nine wins. I thought the Jets had a chance to be a nine win team but unless they start to gel in the next few weeks they are looking more like a seven-win team.
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