Giants vs. Jets: Big Blue And Little Green

The back page of Sunday's Newsday says it best:

"Big Blue ... Little Green."

Let me set the record straight before I begin the diatribe: This was a preseason game. Preseason. Besides trying new things, scouting young players and fringe veterans to gauge if they have the merit to make the 53-man roster -- and above all staying healthy -- preseason games mean nothing. And before anyone can draw foregone conclusions on the 2012 New York Jets, the Wildcat offense needs to have hot chocolate and whipped cream drenched on Rex Ryan's vanilla ice cream with sprinkles.

Look no further than the 2008 Detroit Lions, who went 4-0 in the preseason before becoming the first 0-16 team in NFL history. The Jets, like everyone else, deserve a chance to perform at optimum efficiency before judgment day, but let's face it: The New York Giants have little problems, most of which can be cleaned up before September 5 against the Dallas Cowboys. The Jets have big problems.

Ice cream? Try I scream if you're a Jets fan.

Put it to you this way: A turnstile can block better than Wayne Hunter, the Jets' current right tackle, and many will endorse Giants third-string quarterback Ryan Perrilloux over Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow. Through two preseason games, the Jets have combined for nine points and no touchdowns. Big Blue waxed Gang Green, 26-3, to win the Snoopy trophy and plant serious seeds of doubt in to the mind of a Jets fan base tortured for 43 years and counting.

Sanchez (more on him later), was 9-of-11 for 59 yards, but none resembled anything close to a vertical attack and his biggest completion went 77 yards for a score -- courtesy of a pix six from Giants rookie Jayron Hosley. Sanchez was sacked three times -- Jason Pierre-Paul turning Hunter into the world's largest rag doll -- and Jets quarterbacks a total of seven. Even Tim Tebow (5-of-14, 69 yards) was a dud, throwing a pass about three yards shy of a wide open Stephen Hill in the end zone and showing absolutely nothing close to resembling an NFL quarterback.

"We have a lot more to fix than the Giants do, clearly," Ryan said. "We knew going into the game that this was one of the premiere defensive lines in all of football. If you don't stay ahead of the sticks, you're in trouble. I don't care who you are. That was the story of the day, seven sacks. They did a tremendous job. It's hard to find many positives."

Here's all you need to know about the differences between the Giants and Jets as currently constructed, besides one coming off their second Super Bowl win in four seasons and the other an 8-8 campaign, and the fact that Eli Manning wears blue and Sanchez/Tebow green. The Giants have five candidates for the No. 3 wide receiver job playing with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz: rookie Rueben Randle, Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan, Ramses Barden and David Douglas.

The Jets? Well ... they have Santonio Holmes, who quit on them in last season's final game, Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens and -- yes -- cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Ryan knows his crew has a lot of work to do. So does Tom Coughlin, for all the right reasons in addition to getting Ahmad Bradshaw (hand), Marvin Austin (back), Hosley (in a walking boot after the game) and others healed as quickly as possible. His Giants are young and deep, with their core players either peaking or in their prime.

"Some people had a chance to step up tonight and played very well, particularly on the defensive side of the ball with some individual plays that stood out offensively as well," Coughlin said. For the second preseason game I was glad to see the improvement, particularly we saw improvement on the defensive side of the ball, but we've got a lot of work to do."

The Jets' biggest problem, next to their on-field product, is their image, and they have nobody to blame but themselves. All you needed to know about the Tebow-Sanchez dynamic is that Tebow entered not only to cheers with 11:52 left in the third quarter, the public address voice announced his name with conviction. The Jets traded for Tebow to make money off merchandising and to keep the big, bad Giants off the back pages and not in the best interest of their starting quarterback.

To be fair, we'll see what kind of weapon Tebow can become once the Wildcat is fully unleashed, but it's painfully obvious that Sanchez -- the Jets drafted him fifth overall in 2009 after trading up, and gave him a three-year extension off his worst professional season -- is being set up to fail. Rather than use the majority of their draft picks on playmakers and protection for their quarterback -- instead of actually surrounding Sanchez with the tools to succeed and win -- the Jets decided to get stronger in their strongest place, on defense. And when the Jets could have used free agency to shore up the O-line and receiving, they traded for Tebow after extending Sanchez AND signing Drew Stanton as a backup.

What you have left is an unwatchable football team, and the odds of the Jets turning it around once the games are real are becoming longer. In their ongoing obsession to upstage the Giants on the New York tabloid back pages the Jets have been burned twice, first by Victor Cruz and then the night Tebowmania was crushed by Peripalooza. It's indeed Big Blue and Little Green, and the Jets' chemistry experiment to become the Jolly Green Giant is slowly building towards an explosion.

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC

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