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Jets-Giants recap: Pass protection issues linger for Sparano's struggling offense

Jason Pierre-Paul sacks Mark Sanchez. (August 18, 2012)

Jason Pierre-Paul sacks Mark Sanchez. (August 18, 2012) Credit: AP

I watched the replay of Saturday’s night game over and over again, simply because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Despite the lopsided score, there were a few bright spots for the Jets in their 26-3 loss to the Giants in the MetLife Bowl: namely, Bart Scott, Mike Devito and LaRon Landry.

Scott, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Saturday, had several big hits. After leveling running back Ahmad Bradshaw for no gain on the Giants’ first play of the game, the Jets linebacker delivered a big hit on D.J. Ware (with the help of cornerback Kyle Wilson) and, on the same drive, flattened quarterback Eli Manning on his errant throw to Victor Cruz.

After fellow linebacker Bryan Thomas pushed back Ware for a three-yard loss in the second quarter, Scott blew by tight end Martellus Bennett on the next play and went untouched for a tackle on Ware for no gain.

Landry apparently knows one speed – 100 mph. The safety laid out Cruz with a helmet-to-helmet hit in the first quarter. Luckily for the Jets, there wasn’t a flag on the play – a 21-yard reception. With the help of some second-quarter pressure from DeVito, Landry later picked off a Manning pass intended for Rueben Randle and returned it 21 yards.

DeVito also got the better of Ware in the second quarter when he broke free of David Diehl and clogged the middle so the running back had nowhere to go. The result: a loss of 1 yard and a second-and-11 situation for the Giants.

Rookie DE Quinton Coples started the game in a four- man front, but didn’t do much damage until the second half. He sacked backup quarterback David Carr for a three-yard loss in the fourth, and also finished the game with two tackles (one for a loss) and two QB hits.

Though he averaged 3.3 yards a carry, RB Shonn Greene actually collected five or more yards on 11 of his rushing attempts. He finished with 36 yards and caught two passes for nine yards. ....Rookie WR Jordan White had a team-high three receptions for 28 yards, including a 17-yard catch that set up the Jets' first and only score: a 30-yard FG by Josh Brown.

Now that that’s out of the way … let’s get to the most troubling part of the film: Wayne Hunter.

The Jets right tackle got tossed around like a rag doll – not just once. And not by just one the Giants’ All Pro defensive ends. Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora each took turns victimizing the 31-year old Hunter, en route to three sacks of Mark Sanchez.

The Jets right tackle – who is due a guaranteed $2.45 million this season – missed several training camp practices, and last week’s preseason loss to Cincinnati, with a stiff back.

Hunter said he’s still experiencing back tightness, but refused to use it as an excuse for his poor play. The Jets coaching staff left him on an island against one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL – and with every passing sack, Hunter remained liability.

There were no adjustments by the Jets coaching staff – no tight end or back help. Why? That’s a good question. (Rest assured, Rex will be asked that same question tomorrow.)

1Q – Third-and-3, Jets’ 14: Hunter is 1-on-1 with JPP. JPP pushes Hunter back, then spins the Jets right tackle around. At the same time, Umenyiora beats Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, forcing Sanchez to step forward – right into JPP’s sacking lane [Loss of six yards].

2Q – Second-and-14, Jets’ 28: Umenyiora breaks free of Ferguson again, while Tuck blows by Hunter. The two defensive ends converge for a shared sack.

2Q – First-and-10, Jets’ 46: Hunter just doesn’t even try. The Jets right tackle doesn’t even move his feet or put his hands on Tuck, who easily gets by him and brings Sanchez to the ground. (NOTE: Umenyiora was erroneously flagged for being offsides, thus negating the Tuck said. …but if you look at the replay, it’s clear Tuck is the one offsides. Not sure what the replacement refs were looking at.)

2Q – Second-and-3, Giants’ 37: Jets have GREAT field position after Joe McKnight’s 46-yard kickoff return and a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Isaiah Stanback. But Hunter single-handedly kills the momentum. JPP bull-rushes Hunter, pushing the right tackle far enough back so he can get one arm on Sanchez for the sacks.

The Jets’ offensive line gave up seven sacks in all to the Giants – bringing their two-game preseason sack total to 12. Backup QB Tim Tebow was sacked four times in the second half … and he was NOT happy about it.  

The Jets offense also has failed to score a touchdown in 108 preseason plays. Even without a game plan, a vanilla offense should be able to get into the end zone. 

As for Sanchez's interception, which was returned 77 yards by Giants' third-round pick CB Jayron Hosley ... The Jets quarterback admitted the throw was a tad behind WR Patrick Turner. But keep in mind, it was a crossing route and TE Dustin Keller should have (discreetly, accidentally, whatever word you want to use) bumped into Hosley. A subtle block by Keller would have allowed enough time for Turner to come up with the pass. 

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