…And we’re off!
1 – The most important thing that happened tonight or at least the most entertaining was Sam Darnold and the Jets first offense (minus Le’Veon Bell) cooking down the field for an easy touchdown on their only drive. Darnold went 4/5 for 68 yards, with his highlight being this third down conversion where he showed great pocket awareness and made a nice throw while on the move to Chris Herndon (lord, that four game suspension stings). The Jets spent Darnold’s time in their base three wide, shotgun and playing uptempo…expect to see plenty of that this season.
2 – Jamison Crowder is the Jets receiver most likely to lead the team in targets and receptions. He showed why in his brief appearance last night, grabbing both his targets for 31 yards and a touchdown. Crowder took a short crossing route 29 yards to move the Jets into the red zone and worked off the rub route below for a score. If he can stay heathy, Crowder should be a safe bet to exceed 70 catches this year. Ty Montgomery started in place of Bell and had 3 touches for 12 yards. Even when Bell is active, expect Montgomery to stay involved in the offense because of his versatility.
3 – The bad news? Brian Winters left the game with an injury. He was healthy last season but prior to that struggled with injuries in multiple years. Despite Winters being an average starter at best, it is hard to say that either recently acquired Alex Lewis or veteran journeyman Tom Compton would not be downgrades.
Chandler Catanzaro also missed multiple extra points, which means it is time to cut him and find another answer at kicker immediately. A quick thank you to Mike Maccagnan for the parting gift of gutting the team’s #1 DVOA ranked special teams unit last year.4 – The Jets backup secondary had a rough night, getting carved up by both Daniel Jones and Alex Tanney on touchdown drives. Parry Nickerson probably confirmed our prediction that he wouldn’t make the 53 man roster by getting beat inside on a slant route for a long touchdown. Doug Middleton also struggled and could get leap frogged on the depth chart by Brandon Bryant. Derrick Jones and Kayvon Brown were also beat multiple times on the outside as well. As it stands now, Rontez Miles is filling in for Marcus Maye with the starters. Needless to say, secondary is going to remain an area of concern outside of Jamal Adams.
5 – It was a quiet/uneven night for the Jets rookie class. Quinnen Williams didn’t see much action and recorded 1 assisted tackle. Chuma Edoga held up reasonably well in pass protection but struggled to get a push at times in the running game. Blake Cashman had a missed tackle that led to a first down and struggled a bit in coverage but was involved in a forced fumble with Franke Luvu (who had a strong night and should stick at edge). Trevon Wesco didn’t have any targets and was used mostly as a blocker. Jachai Polite had a pair of tackles and drew a hold but was pushed around at times. Blessaun Austin is still injured.
6 – Trevor Siemian had a solid backup quarterback showing finishing 13/16 for 77 yards with a touchdown. The job is his barring an injury as Davis Webb was…Davis Webb, uneven and overmatched (with a pick six to boot). Siemian did his best 2017 Josh McCown impersonation, dinking and dunking his way to a high completion percentage with limited shots down the field.
7 – Trenton Cannon is a pretty good gunner but cannot play offense in the NFL and should probably lose his kick return job to UDFA Greg Dortch. He is however, a perfect back to chew up a ton of preseason touches on offense.
8 – I am going to guess Sam Darnold plays 2-3 series in the second preseason game, gets a full half in their third preseason game and then doesn’t dress in their fourth preseason game. Between the second and third preseason game (he won’t dress for the fourth), Le’Veon Bell may get 6-8 total touches this August.
9 – A quiet night for Deontay Burnett (4 catches, 12 yards) and Tim White (0 catches on 4 targets). Veteran Deonte Thompson had a nice catch and run on his only target. Greg Dortch looked good at punt returner and grabbed a late receiving touchdown from Luke Falk.
10 –The Jets defense recorded one sack on a busted read option (Montrel Meander) and one quarterback hit (Bronson Kaufusi).
11 – One more time for Herndon! (Julius Peppers?)
12 – Odds and Ends: Josh Bellamy had a pair of nice catches and is in the driver’s seat to be the team’s 4th receiver. Nathan Shepherd was active along the defensive line. Great play design by Adam Gase on the touchdown from Trevor Siemian to Elijah McGuire. Brian Poole had a special teams penalty. Valentine Holmes looked capable in his late fourth quarter action as both a runner and pass catcher.