August 10, 2012
Bring on the Bengals
This day could not arrive soon enough.
After 10 days of drilling and eight days of hitting each other, the New York Jets begin pre-season action at 7:30 p.m. today as Gang Green meets the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
“It’s time, especially when you see these heated arguments start to escalate,” fourth-year quarterback Mark Sanchez said earlier this week. “It’s more than time. As soon as that first scrimmage is over, we’re ready to roll and we’re ready to start playing another team so it’ll be great for us.”
Fellow quarterback Tim Tebow agreed.
“It will be really nice. It will be a lot of fun. I think we’re ready for it,” he said. “We’re really excited to play someone different and see some different schemes. I think our team will be pretty excited and hyped to go out there and play another team.”
Ironically, Cincinnati was the first NFL pre-season game for Tebow with the Broncos in 2010.
“Yeah, I remember ... just because I’m super competitive,” Tebow recalled, thinking back to the last play of that game. “There were maybe four seconds left, three seconds left on the clock, and we’re at maybe the 8-yard line going in and I drop back and I don’t have anyone. So I’m scrambling around and I run and I dive in the end zone and have a big collision.
“I think one of the safeties got a concussion on that play, I tore an oblique and (there was) another linebacker. All three of us hit, and a linebacker went down too. I forget what happened to him, but I was just thinking, ‘I got to be the first one to get up.’” he recalled with a chuckle. “So that was my first game in the NFL, my first preseason game in the NFL. But it was fun.”
Head coach Rex Ryan has already said wide receiver Santonio Holmes (ribs) and defensive nose tackle Sione Pouha (forehead stitches) are out for tonight, along with wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (hamstring). Offensive right tackle Wayne Hunter may not play as well.
Kendrick Ellis will step in and be the likely starter at nose tackle for Pouha.
“Austin Howard’s been doing a nice job for us,” said Coach Ryan. “We’ll see how he steps in if Wayne (Hunter) can’t go. He’s got to fill in at right tackle and also play left tackle so he’s going to be playing a lot.”
Matt Slauson has gotten the starting nod at left guard with Vlad Ducasse the number two.
“Competition is great,” Ryan said of the battle for the left guard starting spot. “Vlad will play a lot but right now I will definitely give the edge to Matt. Matt can also be our backup center. We are working (Caleb) Schlauderaff in there as well. That is kind of where we are looking right now.”
The opener will give Ryan a chance to look at a lot of players.
Ryan is not sure how many snaps Tebow, listed as the second-team quarterback, will get for new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.
“I think we’ll see how Tony uses him. Generally, the second-team gets extended and sometimes they play half, or two quarters, so we’ll see if that’s in Tony’s plan or not,” said Ryan. “The Wildcat is something that Cincinnati needs to prepare for right now.”
“Well, obviously my plan is Rex’s plan,” Sparano said. “We’ve discussed it a little bit and we’re actually there right now kind of hacking some of that around between injuries and some guys that way. I would say that they would probably play a quarter, maybe somewhere in that range, or a play-count. If we felt like we did some good things here and we got 12 to 15 plays in, then (we will) probably see where we are at that point.
“Yeah, we’ll see,” he said of the Wildcat being used. “There’s always a chance.”
Will Tebow will take less reps than a typical backup quarterback?
“No, I don’t think so,” Ryan replied. “I think with us, it’s a new offense and I think everybody needs reps. Will we extend the first offense more than a quarter? We’ll see. I think Tim and everybody else needs the opportunity to go against live competition. I think that’s where he excels.”
“I don’t know,” was Sparano’s response to Tebow’s work load. “I learned a long time ago that these preseason games don’t go according to script all of the time ...
“I would say the improvements that he made since the start of this, you are not going to see them necessarily but I see them quite a bit in that his identification of fronts, his identification of coverages, going through progressions, he did that today (Wednesday) out there, went through progressions and made a couple of good throws out there,” Sparano added. “I think the ball every day is coming off of his hands a lot better. He is getting some of the quick game stuff out faster, which is something they had not done a whole lot with him in the past. I see improvements from the guy every day.”
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe