Monday, August 29, 2016

Third preseason game review

A couple of years ago,  at the end of the season, John Mara famously complained to Gilbride Sr and Coach Coughlin "the offense is broken, fix it". He was rightly worried about all the INTs, lack of creativity and the great complexity and indecision in the routes that the WR were running and the many midroute adjustments they had to make. This meant that the QB and WR were often not on the same page. So, we fired Gilbride, hired McAdoo as new OC and the offense greatly improved in the succeeding two years. We have a Super Bowl caliber QB, lots of talent at the skill positions, but now, however, we seem to have another problem and that is that the OL and the TEs can't block anyone. Every play was completely exploded by the Jets DL; every running play the RB was clobbered as soon as he took the handoff from Eli; and there was never a clean comfortable pocket for Eli on passing plays.

Everyone in football talks about how important the work in the trenches is and it's true. But comparatively, the OL is even more important than the DL ---- here's why: if you have a weak DL, you can still field a somewhat representative defense and cover up weakness in the DL. You would need great LBs and/or a strong secondary and some creative coaching, but you can somehow compensate for it. The defense may not be great without a good DL, but you can field a defense that is somewhat functional. But on offense, there is just no getting around a terrible OL. No matter how good your QB or other skill position players are, they can't compensate for a terrible OL. A bad OL just ruins the offense.

It's only preseason and the Jets do have a very formidable DL, Buffalo plays multiple looks and blitzes up front a lot, so perhaps we shouldn't overreact. On the other hand---- if the OL had played poorly but at least showed something, we could grasp at some straws of optimism or at least hope. But this week, the OL was just completely dominated on every play and there is definitely cause for concern, if not total panic.

On the other side of the ball, however, I think the defense has a chance to be very good. The DL has strength and depth. The starters look great - two excellent DTs in Harrison and Hankins; two excellent DEs in Vernon and JPP. Some depth off the bench in Bromley and Odigizuwa, and even a young "comer" in Okwara who looks great. Towards the end of the game Okwara was abusing the Jets OL, looking like LT in his prime. Granted he was going against 2nd and 3rd string players --- but he just looks like a player. The LBs all of a sudden look like a formidable group with Casillas really standing out (hope the rib injury sin't too bad) and competnet depth behind all the LBs. I am really enthused about ELi Apple, he looks great. Right now, I think he s a better CB than expensive FA Janoris Jenkins. Collins looks better than last year, actually making some plays in the passing game.

The defense has a chance to be really good, but no team can be a playoff team or a serious contender without good OL play and right now, we're not showing it.

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