The New York Jets had 14 (!) different players catch a pass against the Tennessee Titans in their preseason opener. Of those 14, nine were wide receivers. While it will not be at that volume in the regular season, Jets fans should get used to seeing the ball spread around. Let’s take a quick dive into how the wide receivers played…
- 3 targets
- 3 catches
- 71 yards
Despite limited reps, Anderson was the offensive player of the game for the Jets on Saturday, making the most of his 3 targets. Early in the game, he used his top end speed to immediately eat up the 2 yard cushion big money free agent Logan Ryan was giving him, by the time Anderson hit 10-15 yards down the field, he was well behind Ryan. We know Anderson is fast but he also did a nice job adjusting for a harder than it looks over the shoulder catch. This is a WR1 play against a cornerback who is being paid to be a CB1.
This is a somewhat minor thing but on his two other catches, Anderson showed an ability to actually generate a few yards of YAC. Last season, he is getting dropped immediately on these catches. This year, he is showing the ability to pick up an extra 4-6 yards. These small plays add up over time and are going to be necessary if the Jets are going to move the chains with any consistency this season.
- 2 targets
- 2 catches
- 21 yards
A training camp darling, Harper showed potential as a slot option on third down plays. There wasn’t anything flashy but he was able to get inside leverage on a slant route and show good patience with field awareness on a crosser to convert a pair of third downs. Harper is looking more and more like a lock to make the roster and somebody who could be an immediate factor in the Jets three and four receiver looks.
- 4 targets
- 3 catches
- 20 yards
Wilson saw a good amount of action across the second and third quarters, finishing up leading the team in targets. He is quietly one of the most experienced receivers on the roster. Outside of a screen and hitch, Wilson caught this out route on Christian Hackenberg’s best throw of the night. He seems likely to stick as of now but definitely remains on the bubble.
Marshall is the de facto starting Z receiver opposite of Anderson at X as of now. This is a somewhat perplexing decision because of the amount of blocking asked for that position in this offense. On the first play of the game, Marshall was called for holding on a play that brought back a 12 yard run by Elijah McGuire. He then rebounded with a great contested catch in coverage before recording an ugly drop on a speed out. With a four game suspension upcoming, it will be interesting to see if Charone Peake can push him out of this role. Marshall remains a maddeningly inconsistent player with less than desired physical attributes.
Peake scored the only touchdown of the night, showing excellent patience and feel for the zone defense when settling in for this catch. He also recorded a special teams tackle as a punt gunner. Peake is on track to make the team and should be pushing for more playing time sooner, rather than later.
A front runner for the Jets return job with Lucky Whitehead now hurt. Hammond was the target of multiple screen routes and two nine routes, both of which landed out of bounds. He will probably make the team because of specials but it remains to be seen if he can be a viable deep threat on offense.
Both ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen did not play until the second half, both each caught one hitch route. Stewart had a bad ass stiff arm but both appear to have an uphill climb to playing time right now, as they are behind Anderson, Marshall, Peake, Harper and arguably Hammond on the depth chart.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com