Sanchez plus Tebow equals no TDs so far for Jets
The New York Jets are still searching for the end zone.
Mark Sanchez can’t get them there, and neither can Tim
After three preseason games, the Jets’ offensive ineptitude has
become a punch line – especially since they’re the first team in 35
years to go this long without a touchdown. Sure, it’s still only
the preseason and Rex Ryan’s Jets insist they’re not worried, but
plenty more was expected by this point.
”Well, I’ve said it before,” Sanchez said after the Jets’
17-12 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday night. ”We’re saving
our good stuff for the regular season.”
Well, the Jets better hope so, considering it’s been mostly
New York has yet to unveil its wildcat package with Tebow in a
game, which might make a difference and surprise everyone – but
only if the conventional offense can finally get things going.
The Jets (0-3) insist things will be different on Sept. 9, when
they open the regular season against Buffalo, but how?
”Hopefully, some more touchdowns,” Sanchez said with a
Which means the game plan must be a lot different from what
everyone has seen so far, right Mark?
”We’ll see,” Sanchez said, still smiling. ”Two weeks of
For nervous Jets fans. For the doubting media. And, for the Jets
themselves, who must be wondering what’s going on here.
After all, they’ve stolen all the headlines this summer, and all
eyes have been on Tebow and Sanchez, the team’s two GQ
quarterbacks. They have a new offensive coordinator in Tony
Sparano, who was going to re-energize the Jets’ offense with a
run-first approach, with which they thrived under Brian
Schottenheimer a few years ago. They also brought in Tebow who is
supposed to be their do-it-all backup quarterback, making defenses
worry about how New York will use him from week to week.
So far, it’s been a lot of nothing. The Jets (No. 17 in the AP
Pro32) have gone 12 quarters, 35 drives and 174 plays this summer
without scoring a touchdown. The 1977 Atlanta Falcons were the last
NFL team to not reach the end zone in the first three preseason
games, and those guys finished 7-7.
”When Week 1 comes around, all bets are off,” wide receiver
Santonio Holmes said, ”and the guns are firing.”
Rarely do NFL teams empty their playbooks during the preseason,
opting to keep some things under wraps so that they don’t reveal
all of their secrets before the games count. That’s why the Jets
haven’t shown the wildcat so far, and keeping it a sneaky secret
But that was supposed to be just an added wrinkle to the
offense, not the catalyst to getting the Jets’ offense off the
”I think when the season gets here and we’re game-planning and
show more stuff,” Tebow said, ”I think it’ll be a pretty good
Sanchez was without two of his top receivers in the first two
preseason games as Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley were out with
injuries. They were back on Sunday night, but Sanchez got no help
from his receivers – even though the embattled offensive line, with
new starting right tackle Austin Howard, gave him lots of time to
The Jets got the ball at the Panthers 12 in the second quarter
after Quinton Coples forced a fumble on Cam Newton. An illegal
contact penalty on Captain Munnerlyn on first down put the ball on
the 7. The Jets just had to score now, right?
– First-and-goal from the 7: Shonn Greene loses 2 yards on a run
off left tackle.
– Second-and-goal from the 9: Stephen Hill can’t handle a throw
that was slightly high.
”I think I mistimed my jump,” Hill said.
”Tonight, we just have to hang onto the football,” Sanchez
– Third-and-goal from the 9: Sanchez scrambles for 5 yards.
– Fourth-and-goal from the 4: Rather than try to punch it in,
Ryan has Nick Folk kick a 22-yard field goal.
On New York’s next possession, Holmes couldn’t corral a pass
that he normally would’ve had. Then, Hill had a throw bounce off
his hands and right to Munnerlyn. Five plays later, Newton got the
Panthers into the end zone with a 3-yard touchdown toss that put
Carolina up 10-9.
”Well, we just feel like there’s good stuff right around the
corner,” Sanchez said. ”We’re steadily improving and now we’ll
need to make a big jump for this Buffalo game coming up, but we’ve
got some time.”
Tebow nearly got the Jets into the end zone on the last drive of
the game – something he was so used to pulling off in Denver. But
after moving New York from its own 15 to Carolina’s 27, Tebow threw
four straight incomplete passes, including a desperation toss in
the back of the end zone to former rugby player Hayden Smith.
”I felt like we had it the whole time,” Tebow said. ”I still
feel like we should have had it. I feel like we just came up one or
two plays short.”
Sanchez and Tebow won’t play in the preseason finale at
Philadelphia on Thursday night, meaning it’ll be up to
third-stringer Greg McElroy and fourth-stringer Matt Simms, the son
of former Giants star Phil Simms, to get New York into the end
zone. The next time Sanchez and Tebow will have a chance to get
that elusive touchdown will be when the games really count.
”By the time we get going, we will be a confident group,” Ryan
said. ”I don’t think there’s any doubt. Have we had our entire
offensive package out there in the preseason? No. Do we feel
comfortable with our offense? I would say yes. I know our defense
is looking forward to it as well because, quite honestly, it’s
tough to defend. We’ll see once we get it cranked up, but again,
there were some encouraging signs.”
Like the kicking game, led by Folk, who has four field goals so
far this preseason and Josh Brown, cut Monday, with three field
goals. At this rate, the kickers have been the busiest guys on the
”The field goal team looked pretty good out there, making their
field goals,” Holmes said – without smiling – and adding, ”I
honestly don’t think we have anything to be frustrated about.”
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and