The New York Jets traveled to Detroit this week to play their second preseason game of the year, the result-much like the city-wasn’t pretty. Here’s a knee jerk reaction to Hackenberg, Petty, and everything in between.
Underwhelming 1st Start: Quarterback Christian Hackenberg was surprisingly given the start, in place of Josh McCown. In his first action against 1st teamers he didn’t live up to expectations (or did he?). Finishing 2/6 for 17 yards as well as a 42.4 quarterback rating. No scoring drives and only two first downs accompanied this bland preformance. However it was not all his fault, the offensive line couldn’t block anything, the play calls were limiting, and his starting receivers have little to no experience. It was a rough day for Hackenberg, who got rocked on his first passing attempt, but as Todd Bowles said, “We’re not giving him a chance. We have to block for him.” It was a limited sample size, hurt by the incompetence/inexperience of his teammates. Although it might discourage any positivity he garnered last week, it is important for fans to stay patient and see how he responds next week vs the Giants.
Dark Horse: Forgotten quarterback Bryce Petty got the entire second half to himself, and he looked, dare I say…solid? He at least looked more comfortable than Hackenberg did. However, his offensive line preformed much better, he was getting way more opportunites to throw the ball, and he was going up against backups, but this was a pretty good preformance from Petty. He finished 15/24 for 160 yards with an interception (a last ditch throw with seconds left), he also got the Jets’ only two scoring drives of the night. A step in the right direction for the forgotten third year man, if he plays like this over the next two weeks he might not only earn more first team reps, but a starting gig.
Offensive Line Woes: This Jets starting offensive line has to get it together if any of the Jets quarterbacks want to make it out of this season alive. They allowed constant pressure on Hackenberg and didn’t preform much better for the running backs. If the Jets want to have anything resembling a successful season (definition of “successful” up to you), this relies heavily on the offensive line. A young quarterback will need as much time in the pocket as he can get to go through his reads and make decisions. It is also beneficial for a young QB to have a strong running game to lean on (i.e. 2009 Jets). If the Jets O-line plays like they did tonight, it will be a long season folks.
Studs In The Making: On a much more positive note, Jets OLB’s Josh Martin and Corey Lemonier continue to impress. At a position that has plagued the Jets for years, it’s nice to see some young talent flourishing. Both these linebackers forced turnovers and got after the quarterback, two other areas the Jets have struggled in. Accompanied with the fact that second year linebacker Jordan Jenkins has solidified himself as an up and coming player in this league; the Jets might have very cheaply filled the need at OLB they have had since the Night King, Calvin Pace, retired.
Secondary: Another position group of paramount importance, the secondary, struggled to contain medium passes of the middle. However, it was also a night of great individual success of the young guys. Juston Burris, Marcus Maye, and Dexter McDougle all played very well. McDougle is an interesting guy to watch, one of the remaining players of the Idzik 12 could force his way into the starting lineup as a slot corner. This would also relieve the Jets of Buster Skrine, as they could cut him and save some a good amount of money. In addition, other players such as Shamarko Thomas, Ronald Martin, and Darryl Roberts all flashed. If this group can play as a whole and cut down on the mental errors, they can be surprisingly good in 2017.
Helped Their Cause:
-Marcus Maye: Displayed great tackling ability.
-Bryce Petty: Made a case for him to be thrown into the QB competition with a good night.
-Marcus Murphy: Had a nice return and averaged the most yards per carry (5.0) out of any RB. Pushing Romar Morris for the 4th RB role, a position the Jets will likely carry due to Forte/Powell’s injury history.
-Josh Martin: Forced a fumble and a few pressures. I expect him to start opposite Jordan Jenkins week 1.
-Corey Lemonier: One sack and an interception, should be a great rotational pass rusher for the Jets this season.
-Ross Martin: Although he missed from 57, he connected on two shorter field goals. Ahead of Catanzaro in the kicking competition at this moment.
-Josh McCown: The preformance tonight by Hackenberg all but sealed the fact that McCown will start week 1 (UGH).
Hurt Their Cause:
-Christian Hackenberg: Although it wasn’t all his fault, he does not look ready to be the starting QB week one. Will be very telling how he responds to adversity next week.
-Brandon Shell: Pro Football Focus’s favorite player allowed his first pressure since high school, and it was a big one. A crushing hit to Christian Hackenberg on his first attempt. If he wants to win the right-tackle job, he can’t do that.
-Romar Morris: Fighting for his spot on the roster, Marcus Murphy edged him out tonight. Both would be a returner/4th RB, if Morris doesn’t flash the ability he’s shown in practice, he could be a goner.
Odds and Ends:
- Jamal Adams was often the first guy to the ball-a good sign-however, he missed 2 or 3 shoestring tackles. Better tackling technique will come with experience, but some room to grow.
- The Jets special teams still needs some work (surprise!). The kicking and punt coverage teams had a few times where they struggled to contain the returner and allowed a sizeable gain. And when it was the Jets’ turn to return, they fumbled twice (one didn’t count). The lone bright spot was RB Marcus Murphy’s explosive 35 yard return, however that was called back for holding.
- 5th round pick Jordan Legget made a nice catch and run on the final drive. He’ll be the Jets starting tight end for the first two weeks of the season.
- In one half of action Petty threw 24 passes while Hackenberg threw just 6. Let that sink in, SIX passes in one half, that’s on track for 12 the entire game, while Petty was on track for 48. Easy to blame Hack for his dissapointing game but more blame should fall on offensive coordinator John Morton, who definitley needs to let Hack air it out in these next two games in order to get an accurate test of where he’s at.
- We will see the Jets again as they’re on the “road” again vs the Giants in the Snoopy Bowl. Expect McCown to start and play the first half, Hack to get the 3rd with the starters, and Petty in the 4th.
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