Four Downs: The Eagles Game

The final preseason game is come and gone. A look at the Jets now that the dust has settled.

Well, preseason is over and now the Jets are officially getting ready for their week one opponent. Four thoughts and impressions on Thursday night's win over Philadelphia with an eye towards the season opener against Baltimore.

Four downs from the Eagles win:

All the wrong things - One of the truisms in any sport is that players want to earn their coaches attention. Joe McKnight has the attention of the Jets' coaching staff for all the wrong reasons. He showed up out of shape to OTAs, and then had HBO cameras and microphones show a national audience his uncertainty and overly cautious running style in training camp. Against the Eagles last night, McKnight ended what had been the best Jets drive of the pre-season with a fumble that Philadelphia rookie safety Kurt Coleman returned 64 yards for a touchdown. McKnight is struggling to make a positive impression right now, and the argument could be made that Danny Woodhead is ahead of him on the roster depth chart in the battle for the third running back.

The Terminator - Fullback John Conner has the coaching staff's attention for the right things, namely his wrecking ball blocks throughout training camp and pre-season. Already the rookie is a favorite of Rex Ryan and drew constant cheers from the crowd during training camp with his cracks to the sternum of would-be tacklers. However, like McKnight, Conner had a fumble returned for a touchdown by Coleman. Conner had tripped over an offensive lineman's leg and fell down. The ball came free as he hit the ground and Coleman had as easy a touchdown as you'll ever see. It was the first major gaffe of either camp or preseason games for the rookie fullback and the Jets are willing to excuse it – after all they didn't trade Leon Washington and burn a fourth round pick on the fullback…like they did with McKnight…

The Waiting Game - Santonio Holmes displayed the big-play explosion that the Jets wide-receiving corps has lacked since the mid-1980s heyday of Al Toon and Wesley Walker, catching a 51-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that put the Jets ahead, 21-17. Holmes' speed on the outside is a tantalizing addendum to Brian Schottenheimer's power offense. Now the Jets offense must wait till week five to unleash Holmes on the league, but his return could and should coincide with a much more explosive offense.

So That's The Reason Why - The organization brought in Mark Brunell to mentor Mark Sanchez and to be a veteran backup quarterback. Brunell struggled in the first three pre-season games but was very good in the finale, completing 11-of-17 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Third-string QB Kellen Clemens kept the offense moving when he was in, completing seven passes for 70 yards and rushing twice for 18 yards. If Sanchez falters at any point in the season, Brunell (and Clemens) both showed some sparks tonight that give hope for a good regular season performance.

You can follow Dennis on Twitter @DenisGorman


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