What are the reasonable expectations for the New York Jets as they embark on a new era under first-time head coach Robert Salah and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson?
The PickSix column officially returns as TOJ Live Co-Host Stephen Zantz answers your Twitter questions. He, also, will consider questions that Joe Caporoso doesn’t get a chance to answer during his weekly Saturday AMAs. Don’t forget to tweet Stephen questions every week at @szantz on Twitter.
The Badlands 2021 Jets Season Preview – Defensive Line
Joe Caporoso and Connor Rogers kick off their daily 2021 New York Jets season preview series by breaking down the defensive line. Is Quinnen Williams All-Pro bound? How do they fill the gap left by the Carl Lawson injury? Who is the unit’s x-factor? Check back tomorrow AM for a breakdown of the linebackers…
Dan Essien previews the Jets’ defensive line ahead of this week’s season opener.
The Jets defensive line is the strongest position group on the team. Even after the season-ending injuries to Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry they remain the most likely to succeed. Let’s preview the Jets defensive line and project their performance this season.
Will Parkinson interviews Alan Hahn of ESPN radio on the TOJ Pod.
On this episode of TOJ Pod, Will Parkinson interviews Alan Hahn of ESPN radio. They discuss the following topics:
Joe Belic previews the Jets’ offensive tackles.
After quarterback, left tackle—if your single-caller is right-handed—is arguably the most important position on the field. Properly protecting the QB’s blind-side remains crucial to winning games and keeping him healthy and on his feet. (more…)
DA Osorio gives 10 thoughts heading into week 1 of the 2021 season.
That’s right, my boys: week one is upon us, and I’m here to pinch-hit for the good brother Stephen Russo for this week’s 1st & 10. By the time the Jets kick off their season in Charlotte, North Carolina, it would’ve been 252 days since Adam Gase patrolled the sidelines and Sam Darnold was throwing passes into triple coverage. That era? Gone. It is now Bobby Duran Saleh and Zach Morris Wilson’s turn to right this ship and gets the Jets back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Here are 10 things I’ll be looking for.
1. How good CJ Mosley looks:
He was the best defensive player for the Jets the last time he was on the field and he is the unquestioned leader of this unit. If Mosley is the same player he was versus Buffalo (9 tackles and a pick-six), it makes the Jets defense that much more formidable. There are questions at the cornerback position, but the middle of the Jets defense (Quinnen Williams, Marcus Maye, and CJ) will go a long way towards mitigating those concerns if they’re as good as they have shown. It starts with #57.
2. How Mehki Becton and Morgan Moses handle Brian Burns and Haason Reddick:
21.5 sacks last year for Brian Burns and newly-signed EDGE Haason Reddick, so the Jets’ bookends will be tested right out of the gate. How well they handle that will go a long way towards determining if the trip to the Queen City is a successful one or a disaster. Becton had an 83.8% pass rush win rate last year, while the former WFTer Moses allowed 5 sacks and had 6 penalties. Something has to give.
3. How Bryce Hall matches up with DJ Moore:
DJ Moore might really be the most underrated WR in the NFL, as he’s coming off back-to-back 1000+ yard seasons despite not having the chance to play with a starting-caliber NFL QB. That won’t change with Sam Darnold, but clearly, it hasn’t stopped him from producing. Moore played on the outside on 83% of his snaps last year and received the 6th most deep targets in the league with 26. He was 14th in yards per reception, 11th in yards per target, and 12th in yards per route run. He didn’t win by getting a ton of separation, so theoretically this could be a good matchup for the physical Hall, but if not then this could be a big game for DJ.
4. How Robby Anderson and Terrence Marshall are defended by the rest of the Jets secondary:
Terrence Marshall enters his first regular-season game as the highest-rated rookie WR via PFF, and Jets fans are very familiar with the Sun Gawd as he’s coming off his first 1,000+ yard season. The Jets spent three day-3 picks on cornerbacks and released Blessaun Austin in order to give the young corners a chance. Well, they’re going to get their chance, alright. Marshall slots in as the replacement for Curtis Samuel in Panthers Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady’s offense, and figures to draw either rookie Michael Carter (a much-smaller corner) or rookie Jason Pinnock while Anderson draws rookie Brandin Echols. If the Jets have intentions of winning this game, we cannot see the back of their jerseys too often.
5. If Quinnen Williams dominates Pat Elflein:
Coming off a strong sophomore season, the addition of EDGE Carl Lawson was supposed to give Williams the chance to really dominate in year 3. DraftSZN’s Michael Meegan has predicted that Q is talked about as a top-3 IDL by season’s end and, while I do not share that optimism, it is hard not to be excited for what the former ‘Bama DT gives us this season. He’s going against Pat Elflein (and, at times, John Miller), so this is advantage Jets on literally every snap. He had seven sacks and two forced fumbles last year and the addition of Sheldon Rankins means teams will be wise to not double-team him every chance they get. An errant Sam Darnold pass caused by a Quinnen Williams bull-rush might as well be written in blood.
6. Who emerges at RB out of the gate:
Ty Johnson was the best back in camp, but Michael Carter has the highest ceiling, and free-agent addition Tevin Coleman figures to be in the mix. Carolina’s defense was 20th against the run last year and 28th in yards allowed per attempt. There will be plays in the run game, and who is the one making them will be interesting to watch.
7. How is Elijah Moore used:
The Jets have the deepest WR group they’ve had in a really long time, and that was true before they took the Ole Miss standout with their first pick at the top of the second round. A much better pick than the New York Giants taking AR Toney 14 picks earlier, Elijah Moore can play in the slot or on the outside, and it is safe to assume the Jets will move him around a lot in the formation. We have to assume because Moore didn’t see the field at all during the preseason, but his first action comes against a team with the 3rd fewest interceptions last year. Similar to Carolina’s WRs versus the Jets corners, the Jets have the advantage versus the Carolina secondary, and Moore is a big reason why.
8. Corey Davis versus rookie Jaycee Horn:
I’ve said all offseason that the signing of Corey Davis feels very much like the signing of Plaxico Burress by the Giants from the Steelers: a young guy with a ton of talent who is just much better in his 2nd contract, Davis already has a rapport with his young QB and will be heavily featured in this passing game. He draws who I had at CB1 in South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn, who seemed to be picking off Sam Darnold daily in Panthers training camp. For Zach Wilson to have a productive game, Corey Davis needs to school the young corner: Horn struggled with Elijah Moore and guys like him in college, whereas bigger targets where Horn could get his hands on them didn’t pose much of a threat. Davis fits the latter, except he also has deceptive speed. If he is cooking Horn repeatedly and Wilson is finding him, I expect the Jets offense to dominate.
9. Can Connor McGovern keep DT Derrick Brown from collapsing the pocket:
If he can’t? Game over.
10. Will Zach Wilson be better than Sam Darnold:
This is it right here and let me just say this: entering the draft, Zach Wilson in 2021 was better than Sam Darnold in 2018. There is no comparison between either of them as prospects entering their first NFL season. I’d even argue that 2021 Zach Wilson is a better QB today than QB Sam Darnold was leaving New York, as he was the 39th best QB in a league with only 32 teams. ALOT will be written after this game about two things:
one: how the Jets did the right thing by moving on from Darnold if they win
two: how the Jets did the wrong thing by not trading back from 2 and building around Darnold if they lose
None of those questions will be answered one Sunday afternoon in September, but if Zach Wilson balls and outplays Darnold (like I think he will), then it will go a long way towards silencing the beat writers who already have the #IToldYouSo pieces written. Wilson has a lot of talent on his OL and at WR, way more help than Darnold ever had, but he also is the more talented QB. I expect him to show that on Sunday, and for the Jets to leave Ric Flair Country 1-0.
Previously On TOJ:
Stephen Zantz previews the Jets’ interior offensive line ahead of the 2020 season opener.
Best bets for 2021 NFL season…
Let’s roll through some of Badlands favorite season long bets for the 2021 NFL season, courtesy of our friends at My Bookie!
As a reminder, here is our upcoming calendar for Badlands content in advance of week 1:
- Tuesday – Defensive Line Preview Podcast
- Wednesday – Linebacker Preview Podcast
- Thursday – Secondary Preview Podcast, Thursday Thoughts by CR
- Friday – Offensive Line Preview Podcast, 30 Pack of Season Predictions/Season Preview article by JC (will also include Jets season long bets)
- Saturday – Skill Position Preview Podcast, Jets/Panthers 12 Pack by JC
- Sunday – Quarterback Preview Podcast and Final Season Predictions, Initial Reaction Podcast post game
Jaguars under 6.5 wins -140
The Jaguars are looking the part of the circus everybody projected the Jets would be with Trevor Lawrence. QB1 will be a stud but the rest of the roster is a mess and I don’t buy that Urban is cut out for the NFL. 5-12 with a loss to Zach Wilson and the Jets on the way.
Chargers over 9.5 wins -110
Better coaching and offensive line play to go with the league’s next #ELITE quarterback, along with a bucket of wins they can grab against the fading Raiders and perpetually average Broncos. The Chargers should get to double digits and be the AFC’s top wild card team.
Vikings Not Make Playoffs -115
A low vaccination rate sounds like many missed games and locker room strife…also Kirk Cousins is not all that good! The window this iteration of the Vikings had has passed.
Jonathan Taylor rushing title +1000
A run heavy offense with a shaky quarterback situation. Taylor has enough juice to rip off consistent big plays and handle an expanded workload. The value and payout here is worth a dart throw.
Austin Ekeler rushing title +10000
Similar to the above…worth a dart throw. If Ekeler can stay healthy, the Chargers offense should one of the league’s best and he’ll have plenty of space to operate with Herbert launching the ball down the field and an improved offensive line.
Calvin Ridley most receiving yards +900
A pass happy offense that needs to replace Julio targets and will regularly be playing catch up. Ridley is a stud and has a strong enough payout where this is worth a shot.
Sean Payton COY +2500
If the Saints remain a playoff team post Brees…a long shot but not inconceivable if Jameis carries over a strong preseason, Payton is a lock for this award.
Zeke Elliott over 11.5 TDs -115
The focal point of their offense, who remains heavily involved in the passing game. In a 17 game season he should get to 13-14 touchdowns.
Daniel Jones under 3,750 passing yards -140
The Bills backup quarterback in 2022.
Rams to win Super Bowl +1600
Almost reached the NFC Championship Game with an injured Jared Goff and beat up roster.
Pretty much every person on earth was more than thrilled when 2020 was finally brought to a close. For most, it has been one of the strangest and most difficult of years imaginable, given the issues brought upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sports teams certainly suffered in 2020, given that fans weren’t allowed in the stadiums for large parts of the season, meaning players no longer had the cheer of the crowd to get them going through tough times, and to vocalise their support when things were going well.