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Who's Up, Who's Down After Jets' 37-7 Loss

Posted Aug 28, 2014

Some Backups Stand Out, Others Struggle after Michael Vick Start as Eagles Pull Away

Updated, 11:30 p.m. ET

Tonight's Jets preseason finale at Philadelphia, won by the Eagles, 37-7, began with a little wave of Rex Ryan-orchestrated nostalgia.

Michael Vick, returning to the city where he played the previous five years, was the only gameday captain to come out for the opening coin toss for the Green & White. Then Vick got the "start" at QB, taking the first snap and handing off to Daryl Richardson.

Then the Jets head coach called time out, took out Vick and inserted Matt Simms at QB.

"Very classy," Vick said of Ryan's gestures and the Lincoln Financial Field fans' cheers. "You never know what to expect when you’re the opposition. It was very warm. I appreciate it. It’s a bittersweet feeling being back, but hey, it is what it is."

And then this game became what it would be — your usual fourth preseason game, filled with some unexciting football, especially for the visitors, between second- and third-stringers but punctuated with some exceptional plays by the young men trying to improve their spots on the depth chart or merely to hold onto pro roster spots.

The Jets' loss evened their preseason mark at 2-2, and the score and especially the 568 yards allowed — the most by a preseason opponent since 1970 — weren't pretty.

"I mean, it was a very poor performance by us without question. For the guys that work so hard, I hate for us to end it like we did," said Ryan, adding, "I don't know what the stats were but I don't think I've given up that many yards in my life."

But the numbers weren't as important as which bubble players rose and which fell with final cuts up next. The first cuts could be announced Friday and the last of the 22 players have to be moved to complete the 53-player roster by Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

Who Helped Themselves

RB Daryl Richardson started to pick up speed in the second quarter with a 21-yard reception and had a team-leading 52 yards from scrimmage at the half and 61 yards for the game.

S Rontez Miles, trying to hold onto a roster spot in the deep middle and on special teams, acquitted himself well. He was in on the tackle on the game's first three plays, had six tackles and a pass defense in the first half, and finished with nine tackles, tied for the game high with teammate Jaiquawn Jarrett.

Then fifth-round rookie LB Jeremiah George threw his body around to good effect, especially in the third quarter, and finished with seven solo tackles, two for loss.

TE Chris Pantale, trying to carve out a roster spot as fourth TE and special teamer, helped himself by grabbing a Matt Simms throw in stride over the middle and turning it into a 50-yard North Jersey Special (Pantale went to Wayne Valley, Simms to Don Bosco Prep). Pantale added a 20-yarder early in the third quarter from rookie Tajh Boyd and finished with three catches for 74 yards.

CB LeQuan Lewis did some nice things. He started with his end zone interception of Matt Barkley, ending a first-quarter Eagles drive. And he added a special teams tackle and a timely elbow to down a Ryan Quigley punt at the Birds' 7. But then ...

Who Didn't Help Themselves

Lewis gave up the opening touchdown on a 43-yard TD from Barkley to Arrelious Benn and later a 32-yarder to Jeff Maehl. "He was up and down," Ryan said. "But I like the way the young man competes."

Ellis Lankster, getting the start at CB, was hit with a pair of second-quarter holds after Oday Aboushi, starting at RT, had a pair of first-quarter 10-yard penalties.

The beleaguered Jets secondary was under the gun by more than just Barkley (22-for-34 for 253 yards). The injury bug continued to bite. Josh Bush (leg) and CB Johnny Patrick (head) left the game, not to return, and Lewis was shaken up in the fourth quarter, although he jogged off.

Alex Green was running hard but his last run of the first half, his longest of 12 yards, ended with a lost fumble. The turnover was especially tough because instead of the Jets executing an 83-yard two-minute TD drill, the Eagles then ran a 50-yard one-minute drill to Cody Parkey's 25-yard field goal and a 13-0 lead to end the first half.

Simms didn't fare as well as he did last year, when he went all the way and completed 33 of 44. This time he was 7-for-17 for 121 yards and no scoring drives. "I thought we did OK, but we could've played better," Simms said. "We just didn't connect the dots."

It could be argued that Boyd (7-for-12, 92 yards, deflected 42-yard TD pass to Clyde Gates) was more productive in the second half. But while Simms didn't help himself, he probably didn't hurt himself, either, and the QB depth chart is not likely to change.

 


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