FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets were not really in the mood to celebrate their season-opening win over the Oakland Raiders.
Sure, Rex Ryan was happy to be 1-0 and saw some positives. He also knows the Jets should’ve cruised instead of holding on for a 19-14 victory Sunday.
”There are a lot of things that we need to get better at,” Ryan said Monday. ”You’re in a great spot, especially when you’re coming off a victory that if we get these things cleared up, how much better it could’ve been and not leaving ourselves vulnerable like that.”
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The Jets were called for 11 penalties, quarterback Geno Smith had two turnovers and there were handful of missed opportunities.
Those mistakes stuck out in what should have been an easy win, particularly when the Jets outgained the Raiders 402-158, including outrushing them 212-25. New York also held the ball for nearly 10 minutes more than Oakland.
”Quite honestly, you watch the tape, we dominated the game,” Ryan said. ”I mean, it’s almost 3-to-1 in yardage, dominated up front and I think that’s where it started. The quarterback, there are so many positive things when I look at Geno.”
That’s why it was a bit frustrating to the Jets that they allowed the Raiders to stick around. If not for Greg Salas recovering an onside kick with 1:21 left, Oakland would have had a chance for a last-minute winning score.
That would have brought about lots of doomsday remarks, especially with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers up next and coming off a loss to Seattle.
Next Sunday’s road game kicks off a particularly rough stretch in which the Jets take on some high-powered offenses, including Chicago, Detroit, San Diego, Denver and New England.
”I think we also have lots of room for improvement,” Smith said, ”as we all can see.”
Getting just one TD in four trips to the red zone was at the top of the list for Smith.
”That’s not up to our standards,” he said. ”We want to do a lot better there. So just picking up everything, concentrating a little extra harder to clean up those penalties. Then, ball security is always the main focus.”
Smith had a mostly good game, finishing 23 of 28 for 221 yards with a touchdown and an interception – which came on a terrific diving play by Charles Woodson that helped set up the Raiders’ first touchdown. His 82.1 completion rate was third-best in team history.
”The thing about Geno is he’s poised,” Ryan said. ”He’s like, `All right, let’s go.’ It doesn’t affect him the next play. He’ll try to learn from it. He’ll try to protect it. I see the arrow going up on him.
”I’m so encouraged by him.”
The second-year quarterback lost a fumble on a play near the goal line in the second quarter. He also took an ill-advised sack that lost the Jets 19 yards early in the fourth quarter and knocked them out of field-goal range.
”All of those things were detrimental to our offense and were a direct result of us only scoring 19 points,” Smith said.
The 11 penalties were a bit alarming, especially with seven coming in the first two quarters. Guard Willie Colon was called for three: a hold in the first quarter, a false start in the second and a facemask in the third.
”I was upset, I was embarrassed by it,” Colon said. ”But I’ve got to clean it up.”
On the bright side, the Jets’ makeshift secondary was an overwhelming positive. They started a career backup in Darrin Walls and safety Antonio Allen at cornerback against the Raiders. For Allen, it was his first career start at the position, but both held their own and made some impressive open-field tackles.
”Shoot, I know we’ve got major issues there,” Ryan said sarcastically. ”We’ve been talking about it forever, but you never heard me talk about it. For me, the game went how we thought it would (with the cornerbacks) and how we wanted it to.”
NOTES: Ryan ”absolutely” hopes CB Dee Milliner, recovering from a high ankle sprain suffered Aug. 10, can play Sunday at Green Bay. … The Jets had just one injury of note: backup LB A.J. Edds hurt a hamstring. … Ryan on lining OLB/DE Quinton Coples out wide to chip a receiver seven or eight times: ”There are more ways to skin a cat,” a smiling Ryan said. ”I’ve been trying to tell you guys for a while. It’s not the first time I have ever done that.” The Jets also used WR Saalim Hakim on defense, once as a blitzer and another time dropping him into coverage.
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