By Peter Schwartz
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The final score was irrelevant. It means nothing.
Here’s the most important thing to come out of the Jets’ 27-7 win over the Bengals on Sunday night at a rainy New Meadowlands Stadium.
3 catches. 66 yards. And a 26-yard touchdown catch.
That was the night for Plaxico Burress in his Jets preseason debut — and his first NFL action since playing for the Giants in November of 2008. After shooting himself in the leg at a New York City nightclub and spending 20 months in jail, Burress pledged to be the same player he was before that night that changed his life.
The Jets’ first offensive play was a pass from Mark Sanchez to Burress for 20 yards. Sanchez and Burress hooked up on another 20-yard play in the 2nd quarter.
Then, just before halftime, on a third and ten from the Bengal 26-yard line, Sanchez threw a fade into the left corner of the end zone that Burress caught while falling to the ground.
“I felt like I was moving in slow motion a bit,” said Burress. “I was looking up and at the end of the play, I was right there where I was supposed to be.”
Just like old times with the Giants across the parking lot where Giants Stadium used to stand.
It was a good first step for Burress after suffering a sprained left ankle early in camp, but it’s clear that the chemistry is building with Sanchez.
“It is a work in progress,” said Burress. “We missed on a couple. It is going to come. This is what the preseason is for. I can see us really elevating our play.”
The weather certainly kept a lot of fans away, but the Gang Green faithful that braved the rain certainly went home happy.
Also happy was head coach Rex Ryan, who really pushed hard to get Burress signed.
“He played great,” said Ryan. “Like I said, if we get the coverage a certain way, good luck to you. He is a big target and when he is covered, he is open.”
Time will tell if the Jets made the right call in giving Burress a guaranteed $3,017,000, one-year deal. But, for the moment, Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum have to feel pretty good about the move.
I’d also say that Mark Sanchez and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer are pretty excited too after the Jets’ red zone woes a year ago. I know it’s just the preseason, but that play is exactly why the Jets signed Burress.
He catches the ball when it’s thrown to him. Especially when he’s in the end zone.
*TE Dustin Keller had 4 catches for 73 yards.
*RB LaDainian Tomlinson had a rough night with 9 carries for 16 yards.
*After signing with the Jets earlier in the week, linebacker Aaron Maybin saw some action and notched a sack and a forced fumble in the fourth quarter.
*RB Chris Jennings broke off a 69-yard run in the fourth quarter.
WILL DUCASSE EVER DO IT?
2010 2nd round pick Vladimir Ducasse didn’t do himself any favors by committing a false start penalty in the first quarter. Ducasse started in place of Brandon Moore at right guard but needs to pick things up if he has any chance of being the Jets’ “swing” offensive lineman while Robert Turner is out.
WHICH NICK WILL KICK?
Who will be the Jets place-kicker in 2011? Incumbent Nick Folk or Nick Novak?
Folk missed a 43-yard field goal wide right in the first quarter but made amends by hitting a 50-yarder in the 3rd quarter.
Novak converted from 30 yards away in the first quarter.
A BIG MC-ATTACK!
7th round pick Greg McElroy continues to show why he has a legitimate NFL future and just might very well take over the reigns from Mark Brunell next year as the Jets backup quarterback. He fired his second touchdown pass of the preseason, a three-yard toss to Joe McKnight in the fourth quarter.
I LOVE A RAINY NIGHT
What is it about evening home games for the Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium?
It poured for last year’s regular season home opener against the Ravens on a Monday night and then heavy rain delayed the start of the Monday night game against the Vikings.
About an hour before kickoff on Sunday night, as correctly predicted by meteorologists, it started pouring.
I understand that this is the northeast and conditions like that are part of football, but maybe they should have put a retractable roof on the new place.
JUST FOR STARTERS
The Jets had ten players unavailable for the game including Mark Brunell, Shonn Greene, Bart Scott, Brandon Moore, Derrick Mason, Sione Pouha and Calvin Pace.
These were the changes for the starting lineup:
Vladimir Ducasse started at RG in place of Brandon Moore
Josh Mauga started at LB in place of Bart Scott
Martin Tevaseu started at NT in place of Sione Pouha
LaDainian Tomlinson started at RB in place of Shonn Greene
Jamaal Westerman started at LB in place of Calvin Pace
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Jets will be off on Monday before resuming training camp on Florham Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Thursday night, the Jets will return to their former longtime training camp home when they hold their annual “Family Night” practice at Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University on Long Island. The practice will start at 6 p.m. with Jets Fest getting underway at 4 p.m.
After a day off on Friday, the Jets will “travel” to meet the Giants on Saturday night at New Meadowlands Stadium.
That’s all for now, check back later in the week for more!
What did you think of Plax’s night? Let Schwartz know in the comments below…