Preseason football is not always the most entertaining thing in the world. Tonight was a prime example of that as the New York Jets lost 15-13 to the Washington Redskins. It was a fairly disappointing effort on both sides of the football in the first half. The second half was more encouraging, highlighted by a strong effort from Teddy Bridgewater and Charone Peake.
Sam Darnold made his first start and was pretty good considering the circumstances, which included being down two starting offensive linemen, Isaiah Crowell, Quincy Enunwa and Terrelle Pryor. He finished 8/11 for 62 yards with an interception. Darnold was sacked twice and his interception came on a forced throw into coverage on 4th and 1. It was the second week in a row that Darnold’s YPA was low (5.6 yards) as the Jets continued to have him focus predominantly on the short passing game. Last week was a more exciting outing but Darnold was competent tonight as well and still is the favorite to start week 1.
Bridgewater played the entire second half and put together a strong overall performance against the Redskins’ backups, finishing 10/15 for 127 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. For the second week in a row he showed good mobility and showcased himself in a positive light for a potential trade.
No, a strong second half in the preseason should not upend the Jets quarterback plans. It is great to see Bridgewater performing well but this is a marathon, not a sprint. He is on a one year contract and the team is better off winning 6-7 games with Darnold this year, while he gets experience compared to potentially winning 8-9 games with Bridgewater before he goes to sign a contract with another team.
Elsewhere, it was ugly for the Jets. The first team defense struggled against both Washington’s starters and second unit. Darron Lee was pushed around in the running game and gave up multiple completions. Jordan Jenkins did register a sack against Colt McCoy but beyond that the Jets pass rush was nonexistent. They were bailed out on a dropped pass that led to a Doug Middleton interception and a Redskins’ illegal formation penalty taking back a touchdown. They were also called for multiple personal fouls for roughing the passer. Neville Hewitt had another strong game, leading the team in tackles with 8.
Offensively, Bilal Powell and Thomas Rawls struggled to get anything going on the ground. Charone Peake and Clive Walford both had a pair of receptions, along with Tre McBride who continued to run ahead of both ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen at wide receiver. It was a quiet night for Jordan Leggett, who didn’t take advantage of both Chris Herndon and Neal Sterling being out with injuries. The offensive line struggled, as expected, with both Kelvin Beachum and Brian Winters missing the game with an injury. The team should not be shy about looking for help in the coming weeks at both tackle and guard.The Jets preseason resumes next Friday against the New York Giants. Come hang with us at Willie McBride’s for the game!