The New York Giants traveled to MetLife Stadium today, a long way from home, to take on the New York Jets in their third preseason game. Gang Green had a few questions to take care of in what is generally viewed as the dress rehearsal for the regular season. This game went a long way towards answering some of those questions.
Sam DarnoldFirst and foremost, Sam Darnold has earned the starting QB job and should be named the starter for Week One versus the Detroit Lions tomorrow. He was able to continue showing his ability to move the ball on a defense a year removed from top 10 finishes in both points allowed and yards allowed. There were questions about whether Jeremy Bates would allow Darnold to take shots down the field, and the Jets answered that as well by having 6 different players notch 10+ yard plays. Darnold’s processing speed continues to impress me: most 21 year old QBs cannot go through their progressions as quick as he can, and he does not seem to panic by what is going on around him.
32nd Ranked Playmakers & the Back-Up QB
On a strike to a returning Quincy Enunwa Darnold went through his first through fourth reads before coming back to Enunwa for a strike. He’s displayed this all preseason, and it was on display again tonight. Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor, and Robby Anderson both found soft spots in the Giants zone coverage and were able to get first downs to extend drives. The Giants attempted to disguise coverages versus the wide receivers and their young QB, and it did not really faze them. Darnold was hurt by a few drops, but a solid end to his first preseason. Teddy Bridgewater continued his good preseason, but was unable to engineer a touchdown drive for the second consecutive week. Despite that, teams (like Tampa Bay or Jacksonville) should be calling the Jets because he had some eye-opening throws.
Offensive LineThe much-maligned offensive line also showed how good it can be, and all it took was a healthy dose of Brian Winters. Winters cleared holes for Bilal Powell and absolutely manhandled Dalvin Tomlinson repeatedly. Spencer Long versus Damon Harrison was a marquee matchup, with Harrison still the premier nose tackle in football, and Long more than held his own. Brent Qvale had an inconsistent game, having a good block on the Bilal Powell TD run, but also almost getting Darnold killed. If Kelvin Beachum is healthy, the OL will look even better as a whole than it did today.
What will, also, help the OL is how good the running backs are in blitz protection.Trenton Cannon, Isaiah Crowell, and the aforementioned Powell all showed some burst as ball carriers and pass catchers, and delivered some excellent blitz pick up. Cannon is going to be hurt by his special teams gaffes, however. We didn’t see former Chiefs RB
Front SevenDefensively, Avery Williamson played a great game and continued to show how much of an upgrade he’d be over the departed Demario Davis. Darron Lee had a nice game, and continued to show his speed and athleticism. He closed on Evan Engram right before WIlliamson did and had a hand in the forced fumble. Marcus Maye looked like he didn’t miss a beat, and he and Jamal Adams were all over the field.
Trumaine Johnson wasn’t really tested, but the one time the ball was thrown his way he defended it well. Morris Claiborne had an inconsistent game, as he was beaten deep by former Bronco Cody Latimer but had a pass breakup on an out to Sterling Shepherd. Henry Anderson finally showed up today, and i’m very excited to see Leo, Nathanos Shepherd, and Anderson as the three down linemen in Todd Bowles’s defense. All in all, a very good performance by a Jets defense that has not allowed a touchdown all preseason.
DO’s New York Jets 53 Man Roster Prediction after week 3:
QB: Sam Darnold, Josh McCown (2)
RB: Isaiah Crowell, Bilal Powell, Charcandrick West (3)
FB: Lawrence Thomas (1)
WR: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor, Chad Hansen, Ardarius Stewart, Andre Roberts (7)
TE: Chris Herndon, Clive Walford, Neal Sterling, Eric Tomlinson (4)
OL: Kelvin Beachum, James Carpenter, Spencer Long, Brian Winters, Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Travis Swanson, Ben Braden, Dakota Dozier (9)
DL: Leo Williams, Steve McClendon, Nathan Shepherd, Henry Anderson, Mike Pennel, Xavier Cooper (6)
LB: Avery Williamson, Darron Lee, Jordan Jenkins, Brandon Copeland, Neville Hewitt, Kevin Minter, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Josh Martin (8)
CB: Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne, Darryl Roberts, Parry Nickerson, Buster Skrine, Derreck Jones (6)
S: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Doug Middleton, Terrence Brooks (4)
K: Jason Myers
P: Lachlan Edwards
LS: Thomas Hennessey