Lions 23, Jets 3: Quick hits and Tidbits

Emptying the notebook following the Jets 23-3 loss at the hands of the Detroit Lions.

The New York Jets dropped their preseason opener, 23-3, at the hands of the Detroit Lions Thursday night. It wasn’t always pretty, in fact, at times it was downright ugly. But finally, after six long months, football returned.

Below you will find a few quick hits and tidbits from the Jets opener. Have a question? Shoot us a Tweet.

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Emptying the notebook…

- After a summer spent playing two-hand touch, it’s understandable to have a few missed tackles in the preseason opener. After all, for many, this is the first actual football contact experienced since Week 17. Still, the Jets effort was pretty embarrassing as every other play someone was whiffing. Detroit’s top four running backs finished with 9.6, 4.2, 4.4 and 5.2 yards-per-carry averages. That’s not good. Expect the team to work through some tackling drills in practice this week.

- With Chris Owusu sidelined, it was Quincy Enunwa, not Jeremy Kerley, working with the Jets starters in three-wide sets. Willie Colon got the nod at right guard, and Jeff Cumberland at tight end.

- Linebacker Erin Henderson (knee) and tight end Jace Amaro (shoulder) left the game in the second half and didn’t return with injuries. The Jets announced after the game that there were no updates on either yet.

- A familiar face earned would-be ‘Player of the Game’ honors. Greg Salas, who spent the last two years with the Jets, caught five passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

From the starters…

- While the unit was on the field for just a series, the Jets offensive line was impressive on a 10-play, 41-yard drive that led to New York’s only points. Featuring a heavy dose of Chris Ivory, the Jets marched down the field and looked headed for a touchdown if it hadn’t been for a Jeff Cumberland drop. On each run play, the line got push. Not bad for a unit that fell under some intense criticism a season ago.

- Taking over at quarterback for Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick displayed exactly what he has throughout his 11-year NFL career: He’s a competent, solid, game manager. Fitzpatrick finished threw for 16 yards on 2-of-3 passing and could have had a bit more had a third-down pass to Cumberland not been dropped near the goal line. As long as Fitzpatrick doesn’t try to be New York’s Superman, he shouldn’t have a problem as the Jets QB 1.

- Brandon Marshall is going to be a fun player to watch this coming season and it’s evident the big playmaker brings another dimension to New York’s offense. In his first game wearing a Jets uniform, Marshall flashed with a 12-yard gain on a quick slant in the first quarter.

- Calvin Pryor took a real poor angle on a long run by Lions rookie Ameer Abdullah—That kid looks like a player, by the way. Instead of pursuing up the field, he came down hard. When Abdullah broke up the field, he ran right past the area Pryor was supposed to be covering. Had Pryor moved more up the field, instead of down, the play would have gone for just eight or nine yards. Instead, Abdullah broke it for 45.

- With T.J. Graham sidelined with a hamstring injury, Walter Powell got the initial looks at kick returner and didn’t disappoint. On his first return of the night, Powell found a seam and burst up the field for a 47-yard gain. In order to be a successful kick returner in the NFL, you need to run north and south, not east and west. The returner needs to find the lane, then burst through it. Powell did just that.

From the reserves

- Bryce Petty isn’t ready. Period. The quarterback is a developmental project and he displayed such Thursday night. While Petty has all the talents to eventually compete for a starting spot, he’s far too raw now to even be thought of as New York’s No. 2. Playing every series for the Jets but the first, Petty finished 10-of-18 and threw for 50 yards. His average yards per attempt? A measly 2.8. His footwork and decision making were questionable, he looked a bit flustered in the pocket and not quite comfortable under enter. And none of that is bad for a rookie. All it shows is what was already known: While Petty has potential, he’s just not ready yet.

- Dexter McDougle seemed to get a bit more comfortable as the game went on. While he gave up a touchdown early to former Jet Greg Salas, he came back with two beautiful pass deflections. He’s an aggressive player, and Thursday night was his first game action in quite some time. The more game reps McDougle gets, the better off he’ll be. He just needs some time to get himself used to playing football again.

- Bilal Powell has had a tremendous training camp and he transitioned that into a nice night against Detroit. The back finished with 35 yards on eight carries, including an impressive 19-yard scamper. With Stevan Ridley sidelined, the Jets are looking for a back to spell Ivory. If Powell continues to impress, he could become that player, even when Ridley returns.

- The never-ending motor that Jets coach Todd Bowles likes to reference when talking about Lorenzo Mauldin was on full display against the Lions. Mauldin was flying around the ball and put a few impressive pressure on Detroit quarterbacks. He got flagged once for unnecessary roughness on a questionable call, but that didn’t erase the nice bull-rush he used to reach the quarterback in the first place. The one thing to note on Mauldin --along with Trevor Reilly, who also had a nice night-- is that the success he saw came against Detroit’s second-string line. It was promising to see, but beating up on a backup offensive tackle is far different than the team’s No. 1. If Mauldin continues to perform as he did Thursday, he deserves some first-team looks, but he’s not ready to send Calvin Pace to the bench just yet.

- Jace Amaro continues to be a work in progress at tight end as he struggled quite a bit blocking. The former second-round pick just gets out-muscled by defensive ends and is a liability on run plays when on the field.

- It was obvious safety Rontez Miles was fired up on the field, but he let his emotions get the best of him. He was looking to lay the boom on just about every play and as a result whiffed on a few. He needs to wrap up better, same goes for Marcus Williams.

- Two young guys had really solid outings in the second half of the game: Undrafted linebacker Deion Barnes, and seventh-round pick Deon Simon. Barnes finished with a few quarterback pressures and played well against the run, while Simon had a sack.

Around the AFC East…

- Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill finished 6-of-7 for 56 yards and a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. Running back Lamar Miller rushed three times for 32 yards.

- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finished 1-of-4 for 10 yards against the Green Bay Packers. Jimmy Garoppolo finished 20-of-30 for 159 yards and an interception. Running back Jonas Gray broke free on a 55-yard touchdown.

Connor Hughes is the New York Jets beat writer for The Journal Inquirer and Scout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Connor_J_Hughes), or via email ( connor_j_hughes@yahoo.com).


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