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Good, Bad and Ugly: Jets Lose Preseason Opener

Offensive line woes help sink Jets against Texans.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    A clean start to 2011 for the Sanchize.

    Someone forgot to tell Rex Ryan that the first preseason game of the year isn't about winning and losing.

    It's about seeing your first stringers execute the basic scheme well enough to produce positive results and seeing which backups flash enough ability to deserve increased looks in the weeks to come. It's about developing chemistry across your units, identifying spots of weakness and, above all else, keeping everybody healthy.

    The Jets get a mixed report card for their work on that front in the opening game against the Texans, although Ryan chose to dwell on the 20-16 defeat when all was said and done.

    "I hate losing, our team hates losing," he said. "I don't care if it's preseason."

    When you spend half your time guaranteeing championships, you can't very well play down the ultimate results and get away with it. The rest of us can choose to focus on the good, bad and ugly parts of the game, however.

    GOOD: Mark Sanchez looked sharp during his two series of work in the first quarter. The Jets didn't throw the ball deep, but Sanchez completed 6-of-7 quick passes (his lone incompletion was an incomprehensible drop by tight end Matthew Mulligan) and moved the team fairly well on both possessions.

    BAD: The first drive stalled in the red zone, leading to a field goal. Plaxico Burress is here to help the team in that part of the field and his absence was glaring as the Jets tried and failed to get six on their first possession.

    UGLY: There was a sack on each of those first two drives as the patchwork starting offensive line struggled to keep pressure off Sanchez on anything but the quickest of passes. Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore can't come back soon enough.

    GOOD: Shonn Greene's first game as the "bell cow" of the backfield went pretty well. He had 32 yards on six carries and showed that he might be a factor in the passing game as well this season.

    BAD: Vladimir Ducasse didn't look any better than he did in his raw rookie season. He started and struggled at right guard before moving to right tackle and giving up a strip sack that led to the first Texans touchdown.

    UGLY: One of Ducasse's whiffs led to a leg injury for utility backup lineman Rob Turner. Ducasse's man, J.J. Watt, nearly sacked Sanchez and then fell on Turner to send him out of the game and the Jets depth will be almost nil if he's out for a significant amount of time.

    GOOD: Jeremy Kerley handled kickoffs well, Kenrick Ellis knocked down a pass and Bilal Powell looked just as good as Joe McKnight during their time in the reserve offense. That last one is a backhanded compliment, but the rookies comported themselves well.

    BAD: Sorry to keep harping on the offensive line depth, but there wasn't one non-starter that distinguished himself positively on Monday night. Rookie quarterback Greg McElroy moved the team fairly well, impressive given the fact that he was getting hit on every single snap. 

    UGLY: Rex tore his shirt open while throwing his headset down in disgust during the first half of the game. He was wearing an undershirt, but it got scary there for a hot second.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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