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NFL New York Jets

5 Areas New York Jets Must Improve During Remainder of Preseason

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Areas New York Jets Must Improve During Remainder of Preseason

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Preseason does not matter. At least that is what popular opinion says. Traditionally, this first exhibition game only sees starters play for very limited amount of times. Two contests later usually provides what basically amounts to a simulation of Week 1 of regular season action. Teams appeared to approach this differently this year as many stayed in much later. A single franchise in particulate left their main players out there for an extended period of time.

Strategy dictated that the New York Jets left most starters in through the third quarter. Issues need to be solved like New York’s much publicized quarterback battle. Of course, a certain five-year veteran looks to overcome recent struggles this season. New general manager John Idzik presumably helped chose another long-term solution. Offensive weapons continue to also be an issue with lack of consistent threats at wide receiver. Perhaps these next few games will see starters see more action once again in order to help address issues. Given head coach Rex Ryan’s tenuous job status, there is some added intrigue in these contests.

One intangible aspect of football proved to hurt the Jets in their first contest. While it really is early there remains enough time for correction. Although there has been several additions to the offensive line, this unit made some mistakes as well as struggling with timing. Establishing a solid rushing attack also looked difficult in New York’s preseason debut against the Detroit Lions. Struggles in this area were expected due to injury, but results must change quickly. Here is a deeper look into five aspects that New York must improve prior to when regular season action begins.

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Too Many Penalties

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Having cohesion is something this team must build. I believe adding left guard Willie Colon was solid a solid move, but he needs time to settle. One holding call and another infraction for a false start showed lack of discipline. New right guard Stephen Peterman got called for holding as well. Fellow free agent addition defensive end Antwan Barnes added two penalties himself. These players may have to see more time in these exhibitions.

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Receiver Consistency

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Name recognition did not appear during the loss against Detroit. Santonio Holmes of course remains unavailable, therefore this only pertains to those in action. Zach Rodgers scored a touchdown and looked good. This production came against backups however, so he must prove to be constantly reliable. Stephen Hill once again proved mostly ineffective. Jeremy Kerley is exciting but simply needs more time to see what he truly brings. Clyde Gates made some nice plays, but I don't know if the Jets can count on him long-term.

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The Run Game

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I know Bilal Powell has shouldered a lot of the burden recently. Chris Ivory and others are desperately needed to provide help. It is more likely that Ivory gets there first, maybe against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He shows speed and power. These skills would greatly help offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg prevent predictability with play calling.

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Offensive Line Protection

O Line
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As mentioned above New York brought in new talent to bolster their offensive line. Left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold anchor New York. They were also the only solid blockers last season. Benching Vladimir Ducasse helps make the guard spot better. Although this group has good upside there must be an improvement from 19 pressures allowed against Detroit. Peterman also represents a critical part of protecting their signal caller.

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Quarterback Play

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It probably comes as no surprise, but stable performances must come from New York’s signal caller. Mark Sanchez rebounded nicely in the first preseason game. His scoring drive showed actual pocket presence along with some crisp looking throws. Sanchez completed 10 of 13 passes for 125 yards. This is all great, but that screen pass turned pick six was horrible. Competition for his starting job also has some issues though.

In his debut, rookie Geno Smith showed off the big arm that NFL scouts loved. He also demonstrated accuracy while completing six of seven throws. There is some uncertainty while Smith continues to heal from a sprained ankle suffered in this game. A “brutal” practice as described by Ryan may have placed an obstacle in the quest to unseat Sanchez. I don’t believe too much concern is necessary; he just needs more time to learn and deal with an injured ankle.