Am I alone today?
When I left MetLife Stadium at about 1:30 this morning, I felt encouraged by what I had just seen of the Jets. But I get the sense lots of folks in Jets Nation don't feel the same way and I don't quite get it.
The Jets haven't found their way to the end zone in three preseason games, but they took steps forward against the Panthers. The first unit O-line was excellent in pass protection and Austin Howard, inserted into the lineup at RT, did more than just hold up well.
In our Game Review video that will air on the site today, I took an in-depth look at Mark Sanchez. He has been extremely accurate in the preseason, completing 69 percent of his passes. And if you take a few drops away, the Jets starter would be about an 80 percent passer right now. He appeared extremely comfortable in the pocket this weekend and the signal caller is throwing the ball with authority.
Both Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley returned to the lineup, so the Jets are getting healthy on the outside. They also made a concerted effort to get the ball down the field as Sanchez had chunk completions of 32 to Stephen Hill, 24 to Dustin Keller and 20 to Patrick Turner. He also attempted to go deep to Holmes and Hill drew a holding penalty on a long pass. I like the way Shonn Greene is trucking and Bilal Powell has showed some pop with his opportunities.
The Green & White didn't reveal their Tim Tebow wildcat packages in the preseason. While some will argue that they needed the reps in game action, I think you could make the case that No. 15 knows what he's doing with the rock and the offensive linemen won't have any problem blocking straight ahead.
The strength of this team will continue to be the defense and this unit has the look of something fierce. If everyone in Jets Nation hasn't embraced the assassin who goes by the name of LaRon Landry, what are you waiting for? The dude, who intercepted a pass for the second consecutive week, is a heat-seeking missile and call me a big fan of his game.
How 'bout Kenrick Ellis? Filling in for Sione Pouha for a third consecutive contest, he was a walking highlight film on the first drive alone. Antonio Cromartie has been noticeably more physical on the outside and we'll feature Cro in a piece this week. Bart Scott keeps on popping up on the screen and I love how the first unit is turning things back up inside for these guys to fill. Calvin Pace is just going to quietly do his job every week and few will notice how valuable he is to this rush defense.
Remember that was a first unit D minus some pretty good players with the aforementioned Pouha, Eric Smith and Yeremiah Bell all banged up.
Nick Folk got challenged from Josh Brown, and he stood up and delivered a strong answer. Joe McKnight, who led the NFL in kickoff return average last season, averaged 32.7 yards a return last night. Perhaps we see some more of McKnight split out too because the Bills linebackers aren't terribly fast?
Hopefully both TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) and MLB David Harris (ankle) will be ready to go for Week 1 action. The Jets are extremely thin at tight end at the moment and the "Hitman" is one of the most talented players in all of football.
We will run our next "EA Q&A" late on Tuesday, so please fill in the form on the side of the page with your questions.