The defense gets defensive- Early on, the Jets defense and special teams looked solid. Special teams netted two turnovers while the Jets' first team defense really nullified the passing attack allowing just 35 yards on 3-7 passing by Matt Moore. In the game, the special teams' turnovers led to all nine points and the eventual 9-3 victory. We all know that the offense will have its ups and downs this year, especially with a second year quarterback under center. Have to like how the league's top-rated defense last year seems to be picking up where it left off. Last week's second half meltdown, where the second team conceded three touchdowns, is perhaps a thing of the past.
Leonhard's Leap - Jim Leonhard played the best of any of the Jets' starters on Saturday. He had an interception on a Matt Moore deep pass that saw him read the call well and make an athletic grab. Then on the next defensive series, he sacked Matt Moore for a nine yard loss which led to the Panthers going three and out. He even had a solid kick return. Leonhard was often overlooked last year as a key contributor to the secondary, but games like Saturday night underscore his value – in a quarter of play he had an interception and a sack. So that means over the course of a game, you take those stats and multiply them by four…
The Other Back From USC Makes a Point - Chauncey Washington made a case, and perhaps a paycheck, for himself on Saturday night. When the offense seemed to have hit a major wall in the second half – perhaps it was the same wall it hit in the first half - Washington came in and on three consecutive plays ran for solid yardage, all done after he forced a fumble on a special teams play. Washington could be battling his former USC teammate Joe McKnight for the spot behind LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene. While Washington is not the home run threat McKnight is, he is more versatile and more of an every down back. McKnight, however, did come in and have the play of the night for the Jets with a 67 yard kick return, clearly overshadowing his paltry rushing numbers (just 28 yards on 11 carries) and his third quarter fumble. A seventh round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Washington sat behind Reggie Bush and LenDale White during his time at USC. Perhaps with a little playing time, he can blossom.
Remember Kenwin Cummings - Kenwin Cummings looks like a Rex Ryan type player. He absolutely laid out Tyrell Sutton to start the second half, the sort of hit that makes you sit back in the recliner and squeeze the armrest of your chair and make a noise. He also was right up in the quarterback's grill several other times in the half, perhaps the most consistent defensive player in the game who didn't have "Leonhard" on the back of his jersey. Cummings is an undrafted free agent out of Wingate and has a definite shot to make the team and maybe see some playing time down the road. With the way the Jets use their linebackers, it'd be no surprise to see him in the two-deep.
Matt Whitfield covers the Jets for GreenAndWhiteReport.com