Jets drop preseason opener to the Lions

The Jets made their preseason debut Thursday night at Ford Field losing to the Detroit Lions 23-3.

“It looked like our first preseason game,” head coach Todd Bowles said after the loss. “I thought our tackling was extremely sloppy. The offensive line did some good things. Defensively you miss two tackles [and] give up two big plays, you can’t win the ball game.”

After news came out that starting quarterback Geno Smith would miss significant time with a broken jaw, the question coming into the Jets’ first preseason game was: How would Ryan Fitzpatrick look with the starting unit?

Fitzpatrick, reunited with former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, looked solid during his one series on the field. He completed his first two passes; the first to newly acquired Brandon Marshall for a 12-yard gain and the second to Eric Decker.

On his third attempt, Fitzpatrick, facing a rusher coming from his blind side, showed great poise, his quick release and solid ball placement in getting the ball to tight end Jeff Cumberland who was unable to corral the pass, which forced the Jets to settle for a field goal.

After the game, Bowles said while Fitzpatrick didn’t do anything extraordinary, he did his job and that was fine by him.

“I thought he did well. I thought he commanded the offense he was cool calm and collected nothing big to brag about but he did his job,” Bowles said.

While Fitzpatrick and the Jets first-team offense looked strong during their one series on the field, the same could not be said for the Jets starting defense.

On the second play of the game, Antonio Cromartie missed a tackle on a pass from Matt Stafford to Golden Tate, which led to a 22-yard catch-and-run for the Lions.

Then a miscommunication in coverage combined with another missed tackle by Cromartie led to a 35-yard touchdown from Stafford to Tate, capping a five-play 71-yard drive.

On the first play of their second series, the Jets gave up a 45-yard run to rookie running back Ameer Abdullah. Linebacker DeMario Davis looked like he had Abdullah wrapped up early but Abdullah made Davis miss with a great juke, which lead to the big gain.

Bowles was not happy about the amount of missed tackles but made the point of saying the Jets were going to devote extra time to it in practice and improve before their next preseason game.

“We practiced it [tackling]. We’re going to practice it a lot more,” said Bowles. “Two big plays can’t happen. [And] in the second half I saw people ducking their heads and I saw some people not wrapping up but we’ll take care of that this week and be better at it next week.”

On a positive note, the Jets red zone defense, which was atrocious at times last season, was able to hold the Lions offense to only a field goal. And in the second quarter, with the Lions facing a third-and-10 from the Jets’ 10-yard line, Marcus Williams intercepted a Kellen Moore pass intended for former Jet Greg Salas in the end zone to close out the first half.

Another question facing the Jets after the injury to Smith is whether or not they need to add a veteran backup quarterback.

With only one established signal caller on the roster, head coach Todd Bowles said he would need to see rookie Bryce Petty in a game setting before he was able to determine whether or not the Jets would need to add another quarterback. If Thursday’s game was any indication, the Jets might want to kick the tires on a veteran QB.

Petty, coming from a spread offense system at Baylor had his struggles in his first NFL action. Petty relieved Fitzpatrick after his one series on the field and finished the game with 10-18 for 50 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions.

The low point of Petty’s game came on the second play of the second half. Petty lined up in the shotgun, botched a handoff to running back Daryl Richardson resulting in a fumble from Richardson, which the Lions recovered on the Jets’ 20 yard line.

Petty also struggled with his mechanics, footwork and at times his accuracy during the game. Bowles also mentioned that Petty had trouble identifying the Mike linebacker.

Petty’s struggles were expected. He is an extremely raw prospect who needs time to develop, which is what training camp and preseason games are for.

Although the Jets struggled in their first game action of 2015, Bowles said he is not concerned and the Jets have a lot of time to get better.

“I’m not concerned; It’s the first preseason game, said Bowles. “If the first group had played all game on both sides of the ball and we got killed like that, I would be a little more concerned. If this was the third preseason game, you would be a little bit concerned. But we got a lot of work to do.”

News and Notes:

Bowles did not have an updated timetable on when Smith would return. It was announced earlier today that Smith underwent surgery and had plates and screws inserted into his jaw.

Bowles also did not have an update on the severity of the injuries to tight end Jace Amaro and linebacker Erin Henderson. Amaro left the game due to an injured shoulder and Henderson left because of a knee injury.

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