By Jay Kirell
Friday night was the night Jets fans got to see in action the quarterback duel that they’ve only read about in the papers and blogs. With the Jets first preseason game in Detroit, Mark Sanchez started the game for the Jets,
This is a series-by-series breakdown of the Jets quarterback battle:
The Jets first drive…
1. First play: Mark Sanchez rolls out and was almost intercepted on his first toss to Bilal Powell. SMH.
2. Second play: Powell runs the ball and gets stuffed for no yards. Really?
3. Third play: Sanchez pass to rookie WR Brian Spidola for a first down. Hey!
4. Fourth play: Sanchez screen pass resulting in an interception by Ziggy Ansah and returned for a touchdown. OMG.
Seriously? He narrowly misses and interception his first toss, then his third toss actually look’s Ziggy Anash, a rookie, right in the face and tosses it practically straight to him. Any wonder they drafted a quarterback in the second round?
First Drive Grade: F
The Jets second drive…
1. First play: Sanchez 9 yard pass to Stephen Hill. Not bad.
2. Second play: Powell run for 1st down. That’s what he’s there for.
3. Third play: Powell stuffed for loss of two. That’s what he’s known for.
4. Fourth play: Sanchez 2 yard pass to rookie Tommy Bohanan. Yup, that’s Sanchez.
5. Fifth play: Sanchez 18 yard pass to Clyde Gates. Interesting.
6. Next play: 10-yard penalty on OL.
6. Sixth play: Powell direct snap, 1-yard run. Yup.
7. Seventh play: Sanchez pass for Winslow almost intercepted by Grover Quinn. Jets call TO. Yeah, that’s Sanchez.
8. Eighth play: Sanchez pass to Jeremy Kerley almost behind his head, runs to short of first down. Jets punt. Sigh.
Ugh. Sanchez looked timid and his passes were nowhere near where they needed to be for the receiver to catch and run. He’s horrible. They better put in Geno Smith next drive.
Second Drive Grade: D
During the Lions offensive series they went for the bomb in the end zone and Dee Miliner made a nice play breaking up a sure touchdown. He’s not going to be Revis, but he definitely looks like he belongs.
And with a field goal by the Lions to go up 10-0, will we see Geno or Sanchez?
And it’s Sanchez coming in for round three. Reeeally?
The Jets third drive:
1. First play: Sanchez pass to Winslow along the sidelines, runs it up for 24 yards. Winslow looked good. Sanchez didn’t look horrible.
2. Second play: Sanchez pass to Gates for 6-yard gain.
3. Third play: Powell up the middle for 11 yards. Makes some shifty moves, but if he had speed he would have broken it.
4. Fourth play: Powell off-guard for two yards.
5. Fifth play: Sanchez pass to Powell. Lions blitzed. No gain.
6. Sixth play: Sanchez wide open in flat to Kerley, makes a little shift and picks up 15 extra yards for a gain of 25.
7. Next play: 10-yard penalty for holding.
7. Seventh play: Sanchez floater over the middle to Cumberland for a touchdown. He was wide open, but still a nice pass.
Er? What? Where the hell was that Mark Sanchez the last two years? He looked like a completely different quarterback. Now my excitement level for Smith is starting to wane a little. If he’s going to beat out Sanchez now, he’s going to have to come out of the gate looking like a phenom.
Third drive grade: A
And here comes Geno Smith for his first NFL series.
The Jets Fourth drive:
1. First play: Smith to Clyde Gates for 15 yards. Ball looks like it has zip on it.
2. Second play: Powell stuffed at line of scrimmage. Ugh. Just pass it.
3. Next play: False start.
3. Third play: Smith sideline out to Powell for 4 yards. Good job dumping it off since there was nothing downfield.
4. Fourth play: Smith pass knocked down at line of scrimmage. Sanchez must be a great tutor.
Smith had that first pass that looked like a legit NFL quarterback pass. He also made a smart play for a rookie in just dumping off towards the sidelines instead of trying to force it. So he’s already ahead of Sanchez in that regard. He throws a pretty ball.
Fourth drive grade: C
After what’s quickly becoming another dominant series by the Jets defense, Smith takes over again for his second series as a pro.
The Jets fifth drive:
1. First play: Smith pass to Stephen Hill for 7 yards.
2. Second play: Powell run for 1-yard.
3. Third play: Powell run stopped behind the line of scrimmage for 4-yard loss. Awful play. Fooled nobody. Jets punt.
Not much to say. Quick and painless and unimpressive.
Fifth drive grade: D+
Darren Walls gets abused by the Lions quarterback and Detroit gets a touchdown to go up 17-0.
And in what will probably be Geno Smith’s last series of the game, he comes in with 2:09 left in the first half….
The Jets sixth drive:
1. First play:Offense has false start. Oday Aboushi.
1. First play: Handoff to Cad Span. Who? We must be closing in on garbage time.
2. Second play: Smith 7-yard pass over middle.
3. Third play: Smith pass to Kellen Winslow. Punt. Oh well.
And thus ends the quarterback battle for the New York Jets the first week of the NFL preseason.
If anything, this game showed Sanchez may not be a great NFL starter, but he’s experienced, can show flashes of competence – if not brilliance – and will probably be the week-one starter for the green and white.
Smith didn’t look lost, which was big. He looked like he’s on a reasonable timetable of being ready sometime by the end of the season. It would be very good news if Smith stays on the bench as long as possible, for it would mean Sanchez is actually playing well.
Which he didn’t exactly do tonight, with a horrible interception, but also a nice-looking touchdown. And he didn’t fumble off anyone’s butt tonight.
For him, that’s progress.
UPDATE: For some stupid reason the Jets left Smith in the game in the second half and now he just limped off the field with an ankle injury. Great job, idiots.