While preseason games are meaningless when it comes to wins and losses, there is a reason behind preseason play. Players must get in some game time action before starting the season. This gives fans an opportunity to see some early success or failure from certain players. While the New York Jets preseason performances won’t directly translate to the regular season games, eyes are always on these players.
Also perhaps the most important part of preseason is the opportunity given to young players to try and snag a spot on the 53-man roster. Most positions are already filled, but there are always some open spots. Each preseason game tells a different story, and these are the takeaways from the Jets 17-13 preseason win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
New York Jets Preseason Week 1 Takeaways
Nothing Wrong with the Quarterback Position
The biggest question coming into this season was the quarterback position. Questions of whether Ryan Fitzpatrick would sign or Geno Smith would perform well were thrown around for a while. While it was only one preseason game, both those quarterbacks did their job.
Fitzpatrick was not rusty at all as he completed 3-of-4 passes for 72 yards. He led the Jets downfield for a rushing touchdown that Bilal Powell scored.
Geno Smith started out a little shaky but rebounded with a touchdown to Charone Peake. While Jalin Marshall set him up well with an 84 yard kickoff return, Smith was able to score in the red zone. Smith finished 8-for-14 with 79 yards.
Bryce Petty played most of the second half. He got off to a hot start, but struggled towards the end. Petty finished with a 50% completion percentage as he was 7-for-14. He was able to connect on a few big plays and overall led the quarterbacks with 93 yards.
Christian Hackenberg was the only quarterback on the roster who did not play. Many people think that the Jets will hold only three of the four quarterbacks. Petty did a fine job, but unless he impresses enough, he may be the one the team cuts if they decide to go that route. Hackenberg is almost assured a spot on the team as the Jets used a second-round pick for him. Also Smith is the only backup with NFL experience, so Petty must be on the top of his game for the rest of preseason.
Special Teams Gives Hope
Jets fans understand the frustration of special teams, especially last year. Last year the Jets were terrible on special teams and that could have cost them an extra win which was needed for them to be a playoff team. Special teams will be an important area of improvement this season for the Jets.
The first preseason game showed glimmers of hope for special teams this year. Jeremy Ross returned the first kickoff for a respectable 51 yards. Jalin Marshall also got opportunities returning kickoffs and punts. His best return was his first kickoff return when he returned the ball for 84 yards.
Punter Lachlan Edwards, 2016 seventh-round pick, averaged 41.5 yards per punt on a total of six punts. His average was actually lower than former Jets punter Ryan Quigley, who averaged 42.8 yards as he played today for the Jaguars. Edwards showed a few decent punts however, as two landed in the twenty and one was for 50 yards. The Jets have high hopes for Edwards and aren’t worried about his power as a punter, but rather his accuracy.
The worst performer on special teams was undoubtedly placekicker Ross Martin. Martin came in as a legitimate competitor for Nick Folk. Martin made the first kick from 23 yards, but then badly missed a 39 yard attempt and fell short of a 54 yard attempt. There is no need to worry about the placekicker position however, as Folk has been a consistent placekicker over the course of his career.
The Poor Running Game was Understandable
Matt Forte and Khiry Robinson did not play in their first preseason game due to injury. The Jets running backs as a whole had 57 yards. The only running back who played today who is a pegged to make the team is Bilal Powell. He only had 13 yards, but he did have the only rushing touchdown of the game in his limited playing time. There is nothing to be alarmed about as the running game was led by players who probably won’t be on the team come the season opener.
The Defense Had Its Ups and Downs
When you look at the scoreboard you will notice that the Jets only gave up 13 points. That is great for any defense overall. The Jets defense was a little shaky, however. Blake Bortles was having his way at the beginning of the game. Two of his biggest passes came under the coverage of Dee Milliner. It appeared like the Jaguars would score a touchdown until Leonard Williams had a clutch sack on third down to hold the Jaguars to a field goal.
Missed tackles and poor coverage happened a lot in the first half. Luckily for the Jets, the Jaguars received a total of 12 penalties for 132 yards. The Jets kept things at bay for the whole second half.
The Jets defenders combined for three total sacks. Also there were no turnovers produced until the last play of the game when Doug Middleton intercepted the ball to end the game.
Overall the defense shined at times, struggled at other times, and benefited from the Jaguars penalties throughout the game.
The Rest of the Players Did Their Jobs
All the other positions had players who performed satisfactorily.
The receiving corp had many contributors. Eleven of them had at least one reception. They all combined for 244 yards and one touchdown. The biggest performer was Quincy Enunwa who made an early impact. Fitzpatrick connected with him on two of his three completions of the day. He finished with a total of 69 yards. Peake was also notable as he finished with four receptions for 45 yards and one touchdown. He had the most receptions and the only touchdown of the game.
The offensive line was solid as they only gave up three sacks on the night. They weren’t perfect, but did not negatively affect the game.
Almost everybody also did their job in the sense that their were very few penalized players. The Jets only had two penalties against them for 20 yards. They had struggled in the past with penalties, especially in the Rex Ryan years, so only two penalties was a good job overall for the Jets.
The Jets got a little closer to answering some of their preseason questions. They were also able to win. While wins in preseason are meaningless, it is always nice to win for the fans in attendance and those watching on television. Finally there were no big injuries, which is a very good thing. Sometimes preseason can knock out some good players with injury. The Jets were able to avoid that from happening. The Jets will play their next game on the road against the Washington Redskins on Friday August 19th.