What to make of the Gi­ants, Jets af­ter in­ter­est­ing pre­sea­son clash

So, were the de­fenses good or of­fenses bad?

Metro USA (New York) - - Sports - TONY WIL­LIAMS @TBone8 sports@metro.us

The Snoopy Bowl was a dog of a game, for the most part, as both the Jets and Gi­ants tried their best to fight through the malaise.

The fi­nal score, a 2120 come­back win by the Gi­ants, re­ally wasn’t the main point, but rather that both teams ex­ited the con­test rel­a­tively un­scathed.

The starters for both out­fits es­sen­tially played to a draw, as nei­ther squad’s prime play­ers had much suc­cess against each other. The only score by ei­ther of the team’s starters came on a 22-yard strike from Jets quar­ter­back Ryan Fitz­patrick to wide­out Eric Decker with five min­utes re­main­ing in the first half.

But that was about all the suc­cess Fitz­patrick has seen dur­ing his 56play sum­mer. The veteran jour­ney­man, turned ir­re­place­able starter for Gang Green, has looked rusty dur­ing his brief ap­pear­ances. Surely, his late-sum­mer sign­ing just min­utes be­fore the team’s first meet­ing of train­ing camp hasn’t helped his cause, as Fitz­patrick’s “Fitz­magic” has shown Jets’ fans the cru­elest of dis­ap­pear­ance acts.

And with the start­ing of­fense likely to get a night off in next week­end’s pre­sea­son fi­nale in Philadel­phia, Fitz­patrick and co. will need to man­u­fac­ture some co­he­sion dur­ing prac­tices and hope it trans­lates on the field against the Cincin­nati Ben­gals by the Sept. 11 open­ing day.

Head coach Todd Bowles had hoped to have seen his start­ing of­fense shake the dol­drums, but all he got in­stead was more unan­swered ques­tions.

“We can get bet­ter. We missed some plays. But the big­gest thing we don’t need to have is the turnovers,” Bowles said. “We’re not close. We still have a lot to do be­fore open­ing day.”

Of course it didn’t help that wide­out Bran­don Mar­shall was a last­minute scratch, as Bowles wanted the star re­ceiver to nurse his banged-up hip. But Fitz­patrick and the of­fense’s slug­gish­ness goes be­yond that.

So far this sum­mer, the Fitz­patrick-led of­fense has gen­er­ated a mere 14 points dur­ing 10 pos­ses­sions in three games. Even with his fi­nal throw of the night — and prob­a­bly sum­mer — the 22yard strike to Decker, it’s been a cruel, cruel sum­mer for the bearded one. Fitz­patrick looked jumpy and out of synch. Per­haps a lot of that had to do with a re­vamped and pricey Gi­ants de­fense. But nev­er­the­less, this is not the look of the same Fitz­patrick who had a ca­reer year, last sea­son, and was the guy Jets fans were clam­or­ing for dur­ing his time away from the team. In­stead, by over­throw­ing wide-open re­ceivers and fum­bling in the red

zone, he’s look­ing more like the guy who was a jour­ney­man un­til the Jets hap­pened into his life.

The play of Fitz­patrick wasn’t the only downer, though, be­cause over­all, Jets quar­ter­backs com­mit­ted three turnovers. Geno Smith en­tered the game to im­me­di­ate boos, and jus­ti­fied the cas­cade with unin­spir­ing play in go­ing 3-of-4 for 14 yards in just two se­ries of play. Bryce Petty (5-of-10 for 52 yards) got a nice long look, but his night was marred by a 73-yard pick-six by de­fen­sive line­man Kerry Wynn. Many thought Satur­day night was the night Petty could fi­nally over­throw Smith as the No. 2 quar­ter­back. It was a failed mis­sion. Even Chris­tian Hack­en­berg got into the game for the first time in his ca­reer. And he played as un­even as his pre­de­ces­sors. The rookie went 6-of-16 for a game-high 105 yards and a pris­tine touch­down throw, but that, too, was marred by an ill-ad­vised in­ter­cep­tion deep in Jets’ ter­ri­tory that set up the Gi­ants’ win­ning touch­down. The former Penn State star’s night started off hot, con­nect­ing on his first four pro­fes­sional throws, but ended with a thud. So, es­sen­tially, noth­ing was gained by any of the four sig­nal callers.

Bowles could only of­fer tepid re­sponses when asked about the quar­ter­back play, not­ing they “can’t have the turnovers” that three of the four com­mit­ted.

If not for that amaz­ing de­fense, the Jets’ of­fen­sive in­abil­i­ties would be the lead­ing sto­ry­line. So, un­til the of­fense rights it­self, the fran­chise must hang its hat on field po­si­tion and a stout de­fense — and hope its strug­gling quar­ter­back finds that old magic.


Will the Jets de­fense be as good as ad­ver­tised once the reg­u­lar sea­son starts?

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