By Peter Schwartz
The Jets closed out their preseason with a 21-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Down 17-7 after two quarters, the Jets outscored the Eagles 14-0 in the second half.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer turned the play-calling duties over to quarterback Mark Sanchez for a few series. In the second quarter, Sanchez dialed up a two-yard touchdown pass from Mark Brunell to Jeff Cumberland.
Sanchez put the headset back on in the 4th quarter and called the plays on a Jets’ scoring drive that culminated with Brunell’s game-winning 51-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes.
“It was good,” Sanchez said about calling plays. “It’s more difficult than you think. You feel bad for Schotty now because he has so much pressure to get certain guys the ball.”
For Sanchez, the experience of calling plays was extremely valuable in his maturation as a quarterback.
“It helps you see the big picture with all the plays,” said Sanchez. “It’s easy to just hear the call and run plays, but when you’re really thinking about down, distance, and the situation, it makes it more difficult.”
Brunell was 11-17 for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
However, the Jets’ preseason turnover woes continue.
On a 1st quarter drive that started at their own 2, the Jets moved the ball into Eagles’ territory. The drive continued thanks to big chain-moving third down receptions by Larry Taylor and David Clowney.
But in the final seconds of the quarter, Eagles safety Kurt Coleman returned Joe McKnight’s fumble 64 yards for a touchdown. The fourth round pick lost a fumble in each of the final three pre-season games and could be in danger of getting cut.
Coleman was Johnny-on-the-Spot in the final seconds of the first half. The Jets started a drive from their own 1-yard line with 48 seconds left in the 2nd quarter. John Conner fumbled and Coleman returned it 8 yards for his 2nd touchdown of the game.
“It’s the same story for all (of) preseason,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “Penalties in the red zone and turnovers. We weren’t touched by anybody on a couple of those fumbles. That’s ridiculous. You’ve got to hold onto the ball. You better hold onto the ball if you want to make our football team.”
One might think that McKnight may have cost himself a roster spot, but it appears that will not be the case.
“He’s going to make the team,” said Ryan. “We’re not going to play him until we have more confidence in him and until he shows in practice that he gets the message.”
Matt Slauson started at left guard and appears to have won the battle with 2nd round pick Vladimir Ducasse for the starting job. Ducasse was called for a holding penalty in the 2nd quarter.
Tackle Wayne Hunter was flagged for holding late in the 2nd quarter, nullifying a Brunell completion to Matthew Mulligan that would have been a first down.
Kellen Clemens started the 2nd half. He hooked up with Holmes on a 24-yard reception. Holmes fumbled for a second straight game, but Chauncey Washington pounced on the ball. Washington had 12 carries for 56 yards. Ryan said that Washington helped his chances of making the team.
Ryan also said that Danny Woodhead made the team with a 12 carry 45-yard performance.
I caught up with Woodhead after the game. Listen to the interview…
Woodhead also had a 14-yard touchdown run.
Other notes from the game…
Clemens was 7-13 for 70 yards. He turned the ball over in the third quarter, fumbling after being sacked by Pannel Egboh.
Safety Emanuel Cook had an interception.
Cornerback Brian Jackson and a forced fumble and recovery.
Most of the Jets’ regulars had the night off, but they were all in uniform without pads.
Michael Vick was the Eagles’ starting quarterback. He completed 3 of 5 passes for 56 yards and rushed twice for 11 yards.
The Eagles’ opening video montage featured music and scenes from the movie Rocky. In Philadelphia? What a shock!
Donovan McNabb enjoyed a productive career with the Eagles before being traded to the Redskins this past off-season. It’s possible that someday, McNabb will have a day at Lincoln Financial Field and the fans will cheer.
But for now, he’s yesterday’s news.
How tough are the fans in Philadelphia?
From the press box, I saw an Eagles fan wearing a jersey that had “McNabb 5” crossed out with a magic marker.
THE SPECTRUM STILL STANDS
If you thought the old Yankee Stadium was up for a long time before being demolished, an iconic Philadelphia sports venue is still standing long after hosting its final event.
The famous Spectrum opened in 1967 and closed its doors with a Pearl Jam concert on October 31st, 2009 but has yet to be torn down. The former home of the Flyers and 76ers will eventually be demolished. The city apparently wants a hotel built on the site, but a Philadelphia sports reporter told me that they cannot find anybody to build it.
It’s expected that demolition will begin on January 4th.
OH THOSE PHILLY FANS!
Just prior to arriving in Philadelphia, a made a brief stop in South Jersey for a rest and decided to have a little fun. I knew exactly where I was and how to get to Lincoln Financial Field but I asked a convenience store worker how to get to the sports complex from where I was.
After she gave me the directions, she asked me if the Phillies were playing. I said I was going to the football game.
“Oh the Eagles are home,” said the employee.
I then responded, “Yeah I’m going to the Jets game.”
“We’re going to kick your a$#%!!!!!!!!” she said.
After reminding her that it was just a preseason game, I got a similar response.
“It doesn’t matter. We’re going to kick your a$#%!!!!!!!!”
You stay classy Philadelphia!
AVOIDING PARKING WARS
Anyone who thinks that it’s tough to park in New York City should take a ride to Philadelphia.
I’ve been to the city of brotherly love many times, but trying to find a parking spot in a timely fashion continues to be a struggle. And don’t even think about parking illegally for even a few minutes because the city’s parking piranhas will put the boot on your car.
Anyone who has seen the TV show “Parking Wars” knows what I’m talking about! During some downtime Thursday, I decided to venture towards downtown for a little stroll and actually found a spot after a 30-minute drive.
After I purchased a parking ticket from the machine and placed it in my window, a very nice (yes that’s what I said) resident of Philadelphia saw my New York license plates and said, “Make sure you are back in time because they will get you!”
I was back with plenty of time to spare. I’m not contributing anything to Philly’s economy.
I’ve donated enough to the red light ticket fund in Nassau County!
Now that pre-season is over, let the real games begin! The Jets must reduce their roster to 53 by Saturday at 6pm.
The Jets will have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off before returning to practice on Monday.