The Jets held their annual Green and White scrimmage last night at Rutgers University for the first time. And let me tell you, the fans did not disappoint, nearly filling out the bottom section. It may not have been an actual scrimmage per se but after some positional drills they did extend the 11 on 11 drills. Here we were able to get a taste of what the depth chart may look like for their first preseason game next Friday. There were plenty of players that produced for last night, but who were the guys that shined the most?
Holdout? What holdout?
The widely covered 3 day holdout by Sam Darnold made many think prematurely that he may not be ready to play against the Falcons next week. Sure those practices and meetings would have helped but everyone will or have already forgotten about the holdout. Darnold ran with the first, second and third team last night. None of his drives led to a score but self inflicted wounds by others did not help. He was able to make plays on the move and in the pocket hitting big time, NFL throws like this one
— Clayton Smarslok (@ClaySmars) August 5, 2018
If Darnold can continue to get the majority of the snaps like last night and keep performing like this, I don’t see any reason as to why he can’t start Week 1 of the regular season.
The Jets have more than one rookie
As mentioned, Sam Darnold performed very well last night. However, nobody shined more to me than sixth round rookie running back Trenton Cannon. After being drafted, myself along with many others thought he could possibly be the guy at kick returner and possibly punt returner. But now after just a few practices, he has put himself in a position to be the #3 back while Elijah McGuire is out with an injury and Thomas Rawls continues with his issues.
Cannon showed that he has big play ability with his eye-popping speed, has the hands to be able to be a capable receiver out of the backfield and can pick up the blitz if asked to. If you take out popularity, Cannon was the highlight of the night. It will be very exciting to keep an eye on him throughout the preseason, as I expect him to get the bulk of the looks with McGuire down and Powell’s injury history.
New starter on defense?
When the starting defense stepped onto the field for team drills you had the obvious names like Leonard Williams, Jamal Adams, etc. but two surprise names out there were both at OLB; Brandon Copeland and UDFA Frankie Luvu. I don’t think this means that they’re looking at these two to play over Jordan Jenkins but they could definitely fight for the other OLB position, Copeland in particular.
Copeland is coming in as a free agent who never really getting any serious playing time while in Detroit. Last night he made some noise getting around the edge a few times for would be sacks in a real game. The first one I was not able to see who the offensive tackle was but the last two I saw were both against Antonio Garcia, who has seemed to struggle. With nobody standing out at the position, maybe Copeland is the one that forces the hands of the coaches for playing time.
Tight End usage will see an uptick in 2018
Over the last few seasons the Jets have found very few ways to get the tight end position implemented into the offense. John Morton definitely used them more than Chan Gailey but still not what you want to see in an offense, especially with a rookie quarterback coming in. Last night there were three tight ends in particular showed up; Chris Herndon, Clive Walford and Neal Sterling.
Herndon was a key target for every QB that took the field, making it hard not to give him playing time during the season. Walford had the catch of the night in the clip above, while also coming up with some other catches thrown his way. And then Neal Sterling is continuing to make a name for himself making a nice catch deep down the sideline over Terrance Brooks on a Darnold toss.
These names won’t necessarily keep any defensive coordinators awake at night but we could see some solid contributions from these three next season if they stick on the 53 man roster.