Might as well start with some brief thoughts on the Texans: first-round pick JJ Watt looks like a monster, the run defense in the first quarter wasn’t all that impressive, 2nd round pick Brooks Reed from Arizona looks like a keeper, and Wade Phillips is going to have that defense blitzing. A lot. They sacked Mark Sanchez twice, and then overpowered the pathetic Jets’ reserves for five more sacks. Lastly, I was impressed by free agent pickup Chris Ogbonnaya. He was very good with the Longhorns, and looked like he could be the 3rd string running back with the Texans.
Now, onto the Jets, who I obviously will be much more critical of. My jaundiced eye could barely find any positives last night, and I walked away thinking 9-7. Yuck.*
1) Offensive line depth might be the biggest concern. The injury to versatile Rob Turner is damaging, because he was essentially the “6th man” who could fill in for anyone. Vlad Ducasse, a 2nd round pick last year who the team has tried at tackle and guard, smells like a bust. He nearly got Greg McElroy killed twice. If Mark Sanchez is on the field, Ducasse should not be.
2) There probably will be battle for the No. 3 running back after Greene and Tomlinson. Joe McKnight, last year’s 4th round pick, was supposed to be the guy, but as usual, he looked soft and indecisive against the Texans, and struggled to pick up/stop the blitz. Rookie Bilal Powell, who is very similar in size and build to McKnight, had an impressive showing against Houston’s benchwarmers, and I’m curious to see what he can do against 2nd stringers. McKnight may never be able to win over Jets fans. We’ll always remember him as the guy who was kept … when Danny Woodhead was cut.
3) Jeff Cumberland looked so good at tight end, I wonder if the Jets will run plenty of two tight end sets (with Dustin Keller on the other side). Is that something Tom Moore liked to do in Indianapolis? Because if so, the Jets will have two tight end options for Sanchez. I’d say Cumberland was the most impressive offensive player (Derrick Mason looked sharp, too).
4) The defensive line, one of the biggest concerns coming into the season, got two impressive performances – rookie Kenrick Ellis made a couple nice plays at nose tackle (a run stop near the goal line and batting down a pass that was intercepted), and Ropati Pitoitua a 6-foot-8 monster from Washington State who you may remember from Hard Knocks last year (he was injured and lost for the season), showed some promise on the interior. I’d like to see both of these guys against Cincinnati’s starters Sunday. The other defender who had a solid game was linebacker Josh Mauga, a 2nd year player from Nevada. He seemed to be around the ball all night.
5) The safeties really struggled defending anyone (tight ends, running backs). This was a problem last year, too. It’s a good thing Schaub and Leinart had no touch on deep passes, because the Jets’ safties were toasted a few times.
* I was trying to be humorous. It wasn’t nearly that bad.