CINCINNATI - Forget the final score. In the NFL preseason, you always forget the final score, because it means nothing. Zero.
Come to think of it, do you remember any team's record from last year's preseason without the assistance of Google? Didn't think so.
No, what you look for in these preseason games is how individual players and units do, and how it translates into what happens heading into the season. Here's what we saw from Jets-Bengals:
- Hurry back, Dee Milliner. The Jets need you in a big way. With Milliner nursing a badly sprained ankle, the Jets' secondary struggled against Bengals starter Andy Dalton, who threw a perfect game (8-for-8, 144 yards, one TD) in a little more than a quarter. Nickel corner Kyle Wilson got smoked on Mohamed Sanu's 43-yard touchdown pass over the middle.
The Jets didn't move Wilson to the outside with the injuries to Milliner and Dmitri Patterson, going instead with converted safety Antonio Allen and Ellis Lankster on the outside. Wilson still leaves plenty to be desired in defending the slot; he hasn't played like a first-rounder at this level and probably never will.
Allen got toasted by A.J. Green on a 35-yard pass down the right side. If the Jets have to use him as a starter to begin the season, it won't be pretty.
As for Patterson, no word on when he'll return to practice because of ankle, calf and quadriceps issues. Nothing new for the 10th-year cornerback, who has played a total of 15 games the last three seasons.
Does general manager John Idzik swing a trade for a cornerback or sign a veteran free agent? He prefers to go with his younger players, but with another cornerback, Ras-I Dowling, going out with a groin injury against the Bengals, Idzik might need to make a move.
- Are the Jets running out of patience with another former first-round pick, Quinton Coples? Recently signed defensive end Jason Babin got plenty of work in the first half with the starters, and he produced a consistent push on his pass rush. Babin is not as big as Coples, but he uses his leverage much better and has some nasty to his play.
It wouldn't be surprising to see him more; he's simply better than Coples, who talks a better game than he plays.
- Solid night for Geno Smith, who is the starter, period. The second-year quarterback was 10-for-13 for 98 yards with an interception. Hard to tell whether it was Geno's fault or if wide receiver David Nelson cut off his route and left Smith hanging. Despite the pick, Smith looked very comfortable running the offense and ran well when he had to in some key spots.
- First-round safety Calvin Pryor looked good in his first preseason action since returning from a concussion. I like the way he can rush the passer when called on to blitz. He does not look overmatched. He'll make his share of mistakes, but he can be an impact player.
- Wideout Stephen Hill had a drop on a crossing route in the first half but made a clutch 17-yard catch on third-and-16 in the second quarter. He might not be a lock to make the roster, but it looked as though the Jets were trying to get a definitive answer from him by playing him much of the way against Cincy.
- What the heck is with all these penalties? The Jets had eight of them in the first half alone. So much for Rex Ryan making everyone in the organization do 10 push-ups when there's a penalty in practice. The coach's message isn't getting through. Penalties are always a reflection of a coach's discipline, and right now, Rex needs to show more of it.
- Chris Johnson ran well in the first half, with 63 yards on 10 carries, and Bilal Powell flashed some of the slippery moves he showed early last season. Powell fell mostly out of the rotation last year but looks ready to contribute again, especially with Chris Ivory nicked up with a rib cartilage injury.
- Looks as though linebacker Demario Davis' work with former NFL linebacker Stephen Boyd, now the Chaminade coach, is paying off. Davis looked terrific, as he has from the start of training camp. All over the field. His sack-forced fumble of Bengals backup Matt Scott led to a Jets touchdown in the second quarter.