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'O' Is for Offense...and for Optimistic

Posted Aug 23, 2014

Jets Players Feel the Vibe After First Unit's First-Half Showing, 405 Total Yards vs. Giants

The Jets may have left MetLife Stadium on Friday night without the Snoopy trophy, since they lost to the Giants, 35-24, but what they gained in this contest may end up being more beneficial in the long run: 405 yards of offense.

Sure, it was a preseason game and the yards and scores may not go in the record books, but this was a step in the right direction in what was likely the last time most starters would see the field before Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders.

In the regular-season dress rehearsal, Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson accounted for 150 yards, or 37 percent of the Green & White’s total offense. They were able to provide a one-two punch out of the backfield with Johnson using his speed to elude defenders and Ivory looking to make one cut and run over the nearest defender.

“I felt like we did good, man,” Ivory said. “I felt like once we got in a rhythm, things were rolling and once you get explosive plays, it builds momentum on your side.”

Johnson agreed, but added that the Jets cannot rest on their laurels as the regular season is set to begin.

“I feel like we’re taking steps,” Johnson said. “I wouldn’t sit here and say we’re where we need to be, but we’re working, getting better and better every game.”

Second-year QB Geno Smith, benefitting from great production from his backfield, looked sharp in the pocket and did not turn the ball over. He finished 9-for-14 for 137 yards and one touchdown and also had three rushes for 17 yards.

"I think it helps our offense with balance," Smith, who learned from Rex Ryan that he would start on opening day, said of the ground game. "We've been pretty balanced throughout preseason. As long as we continue to keep that balance and not become one-dimensional and not put ourselves in third-and-longs and tough situations, I think we can have a really good offense."

TE Jace Amaro, who was on the receiving end of Geno’s touchdown — the rookie’s first as a pro — showed flashes of what he can bring to the offense, catching all four balls thrown in his direction for 37 yards. He said after the game that his increased playing time has helped him to get better acquainted with the offense.

“The first couple of weeks I had those struggles in training camp but I really felt comfortable today. With Jeff [Cumberland] being out these last two weeks, it really has helped me, playing 50-plus snaps in these games,” he said. “It's just really helped me out a lot to really feel the offense and just get real comfortable. Today I felt a lot better than I did last week and a step ahead from the first preseason game.”

WR Eric Decker, who caught three passes for 34 yards, said the Jets’ offensive performance could be seen as a building block for the regular season.

“We ran the ball well, we spread the ball around in the passing game, and the defense played a great first half,” said Decker, who caught his first touchdown as a Jet. “Now it’s just finishing those games. Overall, I think we can get better, but it was definitely a mark in the right direction.”

The versatility the Jets possess through the air and on the ground have Decker excited about the potential the Jets have on offense, but he said the “O” will be carried by a unit that often doesn’t receive much praise.

“You have to be versatile, be able to spread the field vertically with receivers and do it horizontally with running backs and hit the lanes,” he said. “We have a great offensive line and they’re going to determine how far we go as an offense this year and I’m excited to see us grow together.”

The Jets’ offense seems to be soaring with confidence, but QB Michael Vick said the focus of the team needs to be on carrying forward the momentum built against the Giants.

“It was an opportunity to go out there and show how good we can be. Obviously, consistency is what’s most important,” said Vick, who was 4-for-5 for 35 yards and one touchdown. “We’ve got to continue to keep harping on that. We have to continue to put ourselves in position to score and that comes in all three phases of the game."




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WATCH: Rex Ryan: Geno 'Will Be Our Starter'
WATCH: Vick: 'It's Great for Geno'

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