Analyzing New York Jets' rookies in week one

9/9/13 in NFL   |   rich_jones95   |   3 respect

Whilst the offense showed plenty of promise, it was the Jets defense that ultimately won them the game, with their defensive line in particular enjoying an excellent day.

Sep 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (91) tackles Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. The Jets won 18-17. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY SportsThat phenomenal defensive line included first round draft pick Sheldon Richardson at defensive end as he enjoyed a debut to remember.

Picked due to his athleticism and physicality, Richardson demonstrated his high motor and incredible intensity to end the day with seven tackles and a sack as the three-man front line of Richardson, Mohammad Wilkerson and Damon Harrison gave the Buccaneers headaches all afternoon.

With the Missouri man instantly proving his NFL credentials, the Jets pressured Josh Freeman and helped sniff out the Tampa Bay run game in order to give Geno Smith and his offense a shot at victory which they ultimately took.

Perhaps the most underwhelming of the Jets rookies was number nine selection overall Dee Milliner, as the cornerback from Alabama struggled to provide consistent coverage on his first start.

After a pre-season interrupted by niggling injuries, Milliner suffered a rough start to his career as he gave up some big plays – particularly when put up against Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams in the early exchanges. Aug 17, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Dee Milliner (27) drops back into coverage against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

However, Milliner regrouped to show notable improvement as the game went on, and his performance is definitely no cause of concern.

He was not the only Jets cornerback to give up big plays, whilst he is most certainly not the first rookie CB to struggle on his debut.

Taking on some talented Tampa Bay receivers was sure to be a steep learning curve, yet he showed some neat footwork to stay tight to his receivers.

His awareness could be questioned at times as he occasionally failed to turn his head as passes came his way, but the key will be to see how he fares against New England next week after he has dissected his performance.

Overall it was an extremely encouraging day for the New York Jets from a rookie perspective. After some poor drafting in recent years it was vital for the new GM, John Idzik, to get this year right.

It may be early days but the first signs look extremely promising for the Jets as they began the rebuilding process with a confidence-boosting victory.
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