Welcome to volume 1 of three up, three down. Each week for the rest of the season, I will look back and highlight three players who performed well, and on the flip side, three players who did not have a good game. Let’s dive into it.
THREE UP:DE/OLB Kony Ealy – Arguably, Ealy was the best player on the field for the Jets. Even though Ealy only finished the game with four total tackles, with one of them being a tackle for a loss, the former 2nd round pick was all over the field. He made his presence felt on the first play of the game where he pressured Tyrod Taylor and just missed bringing him down for a sack. Look for Ealy’s snap count to increase as the season progresses.
WR Jermaine Kearse – In the absence of Quincy Enunwa, the Jets desperately needed a reliable pass catcher to join the offense to pair with second-year player Robby Anderson. Week 1, Kearse proved he can be that guy. In his first game in a Jet uniform since being acquired for Sheldon Richardson, Kearse caught seven passes for 59 yards. Kearse does not do anything exceptionally well as a WR, but he has solid hands and finds a way to get open. On a team that is not going to take many shots down the field, Kearse will likely lead the team in receptions most weeks.
CB Juston Burris – If not for some bad luck, the second-year cornerback out of North Carolina State would have had a 100+ yard pick-six after a Tyrod Taylor pass bounced off the hands of tight end Charles Clay in the end zone. Overall, I thought Burris played a great game. Burris is likely to start all season opposite Mo Claiborne and will likely be tested a lot by opposing teams. As for week 1? Burris passed the test.
THREE DOWNLB Darron Lee – Don’t let the box score fool you. Lee struggled mightily vs the Bills. Lee was lost in space often in the passing game, leaving TE Charles Clay, Tyrod Taylor’s favorite target, open for big gains down the field. The former first round pick also struggled a bit in the running game, filling the wrong hole at times and allowing Shady McCoy to have a huge day running the football. It was not a good start to 2017 for Lee, and the task gets even tougher this week with the Jets flying west to take on Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders.
LB Demario Davis – Again, don’t let the box score fool you. Similiar to Lee, Davis was a nightmare in coverage week 1. After bringing back the veteran linebacker in a trade with the Browns for Calvin Pryor, there was a lot of buzz in camp how Davis looked faster and was better in coverage. If you just base it off of week 1, Davis looked more like the player that the Jets moved on from a few years back. Davis and Lee have a lot to prove heading into week 2.
DE Muhammad Wilkerson – Wilkerson finished week 1 with two tackles and one pass deflection. For a player that is as talented as Wilkerson, that it almost hard to believe. The part that is concerning with Wilkerson is that it seems he is consistently being blown off the ball by LT/RT’s. Listen, I know it is not easy to get after the QB in the NFL, but Wilkerson has proven in the past that he has the ability to put up big numbers. Is it an effort issue? Who knows. But heading into week 2, the Jets defense will be relying on Wilkerson to apply pressure on star QB Derek Carr.
–Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com