The New York Jets held their annual Green and White scrimmage in a packed house at Cortland football stadium, holding over 6000 fans, on Saturday evening. The scrimmage was a great opportunity for fans to finally get some football action in, and, at the same time, see if the first team offense is functional and how the first team defense looks.
There are still some questions lingering after the scrimmage, for example: Who’s winning the quarterback competition? Who will the starting running back be? Will the Jets defense be as productive with seven new starters?
The quarterback competition
Geno Smith took the majority of the snaps with the first team offense, but was not impressive. The rookie quarterback got off to a fast start, marching the first team down the field, getting the team inside the five-yard line in just five plays.
Smith displayed his strong arm with his darts, and finished the scrimmage completing 9-of-16 passes for 77 yards, getting sacked once. He didn’t throw an interception, but he also couldn’t score a touchdown, leading the offense to only three points. Smith looked hesitant, and looked confused at the looks the defense gave him at some points.
Mark Sanchez looked mediocre for most of the scrimmage, but left the best for last, throwing a beautiful 57-yard touchdown pass, hitting wide receiver Stephen Hill in stride. It was a terrific throw, but before that, he reminded fans why they lost all hope with him. Sanchez finished the night completing 6-of-11 passes for one touchdown, and one interception and getting sacked twice.
From what was seen in the green and white scrimmage, there’s no clear-cut winner, as both quarterbacks were unimpressive tonight. This is still too close to call, so keep on battling.
Bilal Powell looks like a starting running back
With Chris Ivory, Mike Goodson and Joe McKnight out, running back Bilal Powell took advantage of his opportunities. The third-year back impressed Jets fans and coach Rex Ryan with the way he played today; he ran the ball hard, breaking tackles, rushing for 41 yards on six carries, including a 24-yard run.
With the running back’s abilities on display tonight, there is another competition to watch out for once Chris Ivory comes back.
A real offensive coordinator
The Jets’ offense was mediocre last season when Tony Sparano was calling the offensive plays. The offense was dull, predictable; just plain awful. But what a difference a new offensive coordinator makes—especially if it’s Marty Mornhinweg, who’s bringing in the West Coast offense.
It was a breath of fresh air watching the offense move the ball around. Marty mixed it up, using Wildcat plays near the goal line, running bootlegs off of play-action, calling deep plays, running screen passes. It was good.
What receiver problem?
Jets fans were skeptical with how the Jets’ offense would do without any offensive weapons. With the lack of moves the Jets made to improve their wide receiver corps, there was cause for concern. After how the receivers played in tonight’s scrimmage, there shouldn’t be any worries. Yes, it’s only a scrimmage, but the young receiving corps was impressive.
Clyde Gates continued to impress, hauling in three receptions, and could’ve had a fourth for a touchdown if Sanchez didn’t overthrow him. Stephen Hill, who’s have a terrific camp (save for the couple of drops throughout the week), had a strong performance tonight. The second-year receiver caught a couple of tough balls in traffic, and caught a 57-yard pass from Sanchez in stride. Undrafted free agent Ryan Spadola also turned some heads with some circus catches, including one where he outjumped Eric Crocker in the end zone for a 48-yard score. Spadola, who’s having an impressive training camp, is making a strong case for himself. The Jets may want to keep the receiver around.
Man of the hour
Forgotten man Greg McElroy will not go down quietly. It’s been all about Mark and Geno, but McElroy outperformed both of them in tonight’s scrimmage. McElroy was in command of the huddle, and looked sharp hitting all five of his passes. The quarterback threw for 129 yards and two touchdowns; one was a 48-yard pass to Spadola in the end zone, and the second was a 70-yard touchdown pass to Vidal Hazelton.