Published: August 24th, 2009 | Tags: Albert Haynesworth, Baltimore Ravens, Cam Cameron, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, Jared Gaither, Kellen Clemens, Leon Washington, Mark Sanchez, New York Jets, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Rex Ryan
I continue to believe that Mark Sanchez will win the Jets’ starting QB job, by default if nothing else, and Kellen Clemens’ horror-pick at the end of the half made that point better than I ever could, but still this was ugly for the rookie. The Ravens weren’t getting too zany with the blitzes, but Sanchez was downright stumped.
He looked like a kid who made just 16 starts in college. Throwing the early interception seemed to rattle him, and it got worse from there. The Ravens can do that, even to a veteran passer, but this isn’t the kind of game you name a starting QB after. I had heard that if Sanchez managed to look the part and fare okay against Baltimore, then rookie coach Rex Ryan was considering giving him the nod right away. But after the unease and inaccuracy Sanchez showed, I’d imagine he will hold off on that until after the next game.
Sanchez did account well for himself on his final drive — although by then it was a makeshift linebacker group back there and Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were among those already done for the night — and threw a pretty TD strike to Leon Washington, but it wasn’t something to get carried away with. And, again, it’s not like Clemens looks primed to step up and really make this a competition (he might make some plays against the reserves, but he hasn’t shown much through the summer thus far).
A few other things stood out during the first half, when starters were in there:
Haloti Ngata, to me, is no worse than the third-best DT in the NFL, maybe the second best (I’ll give Albert Haynesworth the nod). Not too many guys his size can make the athletic tips, deflections and interceptions he produces. He’s as strong in the fourth quarter as he is in the first — not too many DTs can say that — and he is going to be getting some big-time money in a year or so (ditto for Jared Gaither).
Washington is going to be Sanchez’s best friend. The Jets need to get that man signed, quickly. He is a weapon in so many ways. He’s just a flat out difference-making football player. He was the only guy on that offense getting it done against Baltimore’s starters.
Ray Rice is going to be a big asset in Baltimore’s passing game. The check downs will be dangerous.
And I love what Cam Cameron is doing with Baltimore’s offense as the coordinator. He’s using this preseason to work on taking the passing game to new heights, taking deep shots, throwing on run downs, going downfield in third-and-short. And his flair for trickery — like on a Statue of Liberty-type delayed draw inside the 10 — is matched for a knack for knowing the perfect time to pull out those wrinkles.