Image Credit: (Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
Yes I know I am a few days late with this article, but I legit had to take a few days to see what Zach Wilson’s injury was. I had mixed feelings after the game ended against the Philadelphia Eagles. While the Jets won the game 24-21 against the Philadelphia Eagles put a positive side to this game, the big negative was that Zach Wilson left this game with an injury. First off this has to be said, Why was Wilson in this game for that long? I am fine with him taking some snaps in the first preseason, but he should not play a quarter this early in the preseason. Come on, give me a break. I legit am seeing Wilson walking and grabbing his leg limping and I am worrying the worst cause it was non-contact. Immediately I thought it was an ACL Tear and I was getting upset. Now apparently he has a bone bruise and meniscus tear, which is good news. Wilson is expected to miss 2-4 weeks due to this injury. This team dodged a bullet and if he was out for the season, then this team was screwed.
I will say this team did not quit and they rallied back. Kudos to Head Coach Robert Saleh for doing a great job rallying this team and continuing to hype them up after the events that took place. This team was down by 14 points and dealt with the worry of potentially losing their QB for the season. Excellent job by Saleh and if he keeps doing this in the regular season, then my concerns with him will disappear. Well done to him and the players. There are players that impressed me and some that did not. As always I will run down the list of players that impressed me the most and some that disappointed me.
1. Who Impressed - TE Lawrence Cager
Lawrence Cager is the experimental player for the Jets as remember Cager played last season as a wide receiver. Of course, with how crowded that position was he had to switch to Tight End. So far the first part of the experiment was a success. Cager may only have had 2 catches for 40 yards, but as a blocker, he did a great job. If he keeps this up, he could be a sleeper to take someone’s job or secure a practice squad spot.
2. Who Disappointed? - WR Denzel Mims
Another day, another disappointing performance by Denzel Mims. He was the most targeted (5) receiver on the Jets side. He caught 2 of them for 25 yards. In regards to the other targets, the first one was not his fault as he was overthrown, but the other two were ones he should have had. One was a bad drop and the other was due to a poor route ran by him. He also got penalized a few times which was not a good look as well. Mims needs to impress these next two games in order to secure a roster spot.
3. Who Impressed - OG Nate Herbig
I got to say it was very tough to choose between Herbig and Benenoch, but I decided to go with Herbig. So far Herbig has lived up to the hype because he was a concrete wall in this game. I swear nobody got past him in this game and he opened up holes in this game. If he keeps this up not only will he lock up a roster spot, but he will be the starter if Vera-Tucker or Tomlinson go down with an injury.
4. Who Disappointed - FB Trevon Wesco
Not a great performance for Wesco in this game. He missed easy blocks and failed to make an impact as a receiver. He only had 1 catch for 7 yards. He looked lost at times as well against the Eagles, which is not a good sign. Wesco desperately needs to impress as remember, the Jets signed Bawden at Fullback and the TE position is super crowded. He needs to wake up if he wants an active spot on this roster.
5. Who Impressed? - DT Tanzel Smart
If it was not for Michael Clemons (We Will get to him) Smart would have probably been the best part of this defense. He did an excellent job as a run stopper and especially as a pass rusher. He had 2 sacks in this game and provided a ton of pressure on the quarterback. The Jets may really have something in Smart as he has been a very sneakily good player the past few preseasons. He did not make the team last year due to how crowded the defensive tackle core is, but if he keeps this up, he might make the roster.
6. Who Disappointed? - OT Max Mitchell
Not a great look for Mitchell as he was hyped to potentially start at tackle before they signed Duane Brown to a 2-year contract. He was not a complete liability, but he definitely needs more time to develop. He struggled in pass protection and was inconsistent as a run blocker. Hopefully, Mitchell can do better next week, if not then Mitchell will be a longer developmental project.
7. Who Impressed - DE/EDGE Jabari Zuniga
Where the heck has this performance been the past few seasons? Yes, I know it is the preseason, but this was Zuniga’s best performance in his career. He pressured the QB multiple times and was able to open up holes in the offensive line. Zuniga even has a sack in this game and two big tackles. I have criticized Zuniga many times, but if he keeps this up and performs well then he deserves his roster spot. But is it a one-game wonder or a sign of more to come?
8. Who Disappointed - DT Nathan Shepherd
I am not even joking, before I wrote this article, I initially thought Nathan Shepherd was inactive in this game. But going back in my notes I figured out he wasn’t and he struggled in this game. He got shut down multiple times by the Eagles and did next to nothing. I believe he only pressured the QB once maybe but besides that nothing. It seems like he is the odd man out of that defensive line unless he improves in the next few games.
9. Who Impressed - DE/EDGE Michael Clemons
Out of all the rookies that played on the Jets, the one that impressed me the most was not Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Garret Wilson, Jermaine Johnson, Breece Hall, Jeremy Ruckert, or Max Mitchell, but Michael Clemons. Although they all did well in this game excluding Max Mitchell. Michael Clemons was making excellent pass-rushing moves, pressured the quarterback many times, and dominated the o-line multiple times. Clemons impressed me the most in this game and he showed that the Jets might have hit on a late-round pick. Hopefully, he can continue this momentum the next few games.
10. Who Disappointed - LB Quincy Williams
Ok, this has to be said now, What was Quincy Williams thinking with that hit on Jalen Hurts? That was a blatant unnecessary roughness penalty with the late hit on Hurts where he was clearly out of bounds. Kudos to Nick Sirriani for sticking up for his player. Even Saleh said that the hit was egregiously awful. Williams did not play a lot in this game because this is the preseason, but this was just too large to ignore. Hopefully, he learned his lesson and doesn’t do this late of a hit ever again.