“It’s only a preseason game; it’s only a preseason game; it’s only a preseason game.” Imagine coach Rex Ryan saying that as he clicks his heels together three times, hoping the good green witch will grant his wish and send him to the Land of Oz – the Super Bowl. He better hope for that kind of magic, because right now his offense looks like it is in serious need of a wizard to grant it some heart, some brains, and lots of courage.
In last night’s game against the Washington Redskins at the New Meadowlands Stadium, the first-team offense didn’t look any better than it did in last week’s game against the Carolina Panthers. It has scored only two touchdowns thus far in the preseason, and last night QB Mark Sanchez was 13-for-29 with an interception. He redeemed himself late in the game with an early fourth quarter ten-yard touchdown pass to Dustin Keller.
What is more alarming are the turnovers – two in the first half – and Ryan readily admitted that this was troublesome. “When you turn the ball over like that, it kills you.” There was a total of four turnovers last night, and Ryan rightly called that just plain “ugly.”
About the interception he threw, Sanchez said, “It was just a poor throw.” Uh, yeah, Mark, how about a really bad one. The Jets’ Vernon Gholston had recovered a fumbled punt, and Sanchez literally threw that opportunity away on the Redskins’ 34. It was a big mistake on a night of many of them for the Jets.
Sanchez was sacked twice because offensive linemen D’Brickshaw Ferguson and Damien Woody couldn’t protect him, but both LaDainian Tomlinson and Shone Greene shined in the running game, collectively gaining 142 yards on 23 carries. Still, Ryan has to be worried by what he sees at this point in the preseason with one game left on Thursday against the Eagles.
Another bright spot was the defense last night, holding the Redskins to three field goals over three quarters. But cornerback Antonio Cromartie got a holding call and was also penalized for pass interference, making everyone think just a little bit more about holdout Darrelle Revis. If his return is not imminent – and it appears more unlikely each day – Ryan will have more to worry about than his second-year quarterback and a very shaky offense.
Overall, what stands out in last night’s game is that the offense is faltering. You can blame linemen, running backs, and wide receivers all you want, but the true center of this storm is QB Mark Sanchez. While I remain a believer in him as a talented, smart and dedicated guy, it appears clear that he has to take a step back to take some steps forward. As Sanchez goes, this offense will go, and right now there is reason to be concerned.