The New York Jets opened their 2012 preseason schedule at Paul Brown Stadium as they visited the Cincinnati Bengals, losing their first exhibition matchup 17-6. There were some definite bright spots, some areas in dire need of improvement, and overall it looked a lot like what you would expect the first preseason game to look like.
The Jets opened the game on offense, with their first unit(minus the injured Wayne Hunter) showing a lot of tight sets as they went three and out. Tony Sparano opened up with a bootleg pass to the right side, rolling Mark Sanchez out of the pocket. Mark Sanchez dumped the ball down to John Conner, who was tackled immediately for no gain. Shonn Greene pounded the ball up the middle for two yards, then Mark Sanchez was sacked on third down to set up a punt.
The first offense did move the ball better as the quarter wore on, but blitz pickup was a problem shared by the first, second and third units on offense. The Jets had a lot of trouble protecting their quarterbacks and it's something that will need to be fixed quickly. Still, there were some nice sights on offense. Joe McKnight looked very good, Stephen Hill was impressive for the most part and Tim Tebow showed that he can still make plays with his feet.
The defense was more impressive, as expected, especially along the defensive line. The player who probably stood out most was the Jets first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Quinton Coples. Quinton Coples piled up five tackles, two for loss, a sack, a pass defensed and a forced fumble. The Jets defensive line looked talented and deep, with Kenrick Ellis also making some noise.
The special teams units weren't pretty and will surely catch some heat from Mike Westhoff. The Jets had a punt blocked that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown and a few other minor miscues on special teams. Expect those to be cleaned up quickly.
In the end, the score isn't a big deal. The Jets were very plain on offense and defense, really hoping to learn more about individual players and get their players into a game atmosphere. The Jets were physical and some youngsters showed their potential, and it's a good thing to have some weaknesses exposed at this point. The Jets should have an idea of what needs to be emphasized this week in practice as they move on to preseason game number two.
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