(Image Credit: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
The New York Jets' final preseason game before the 2021 NFL season begins will be against the Philadelphia Eagles on August 27th at 7:30 pm at Metlife Stadium. For many players, this game could be the deciding factor in whether their career either moves forward with the Jets or another team. In this article Here are 10 players that need to put together a strong performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in order to have a chance to continue their NFL careers.
1. QB James Morgan
With Joe Flacco unsurprisingly not returning to the Jets a lot of fans thought James Morgan would become the backup quarterback. With the emergence of Mike White in training camp and the signing of Josh Johnson, it has lowered the confidence most fans had with Morgan becoming the backup quarterback. This is why this is one of the most important battles to keep an eye on and Morgan needs to perform well in the preseason to win the position battle. So far, Morgan has not done well especially against the New York Giants and it is not a good sign that against the Green Bay Packers he only threw the ball three times and has not had a big impact with any of his throws. Mike White, on the other hand, has been more impressive than Morgan and needs to perform well against the Eagles if he is going to have a chance to win the backup role.
2. WR Vyncint Smith
Vyncint Smith has been a player that has heavily impressed the coaching staff during training camp. Smith has also impressed the fanbase as well with his performance on both offense and special teams. He was smooth in his route running, had strong hands, and had strong awareness. During the Green Bay Packers game, he had a quiet performance and did not perform as he did against the New York Giants. With how crowded the receiving core is with players like Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Elijah Moore, Keelan Cole, and Denzel Mims, he is going to need to have a strong performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in order to make the Jets roster.
3. WR Braxton Berrios
Like I said in an earlier article Braxton Berrios is terrible on offense as he has poor balance, hands, and runs poor routes. He has not gotten any better on offense from last season to during the preseason. His true value is on special teams as that is what made him stand out to me during his last few seasons with the team. Berrios has not flashed on special teams which is where he is most valuable and he did not perform well against the Packers. If Berrios is going to make the roster he needs to shine and showcase his skills both on offense and on special teams against the Eagles to fully lock his position on the New York Jets Roster.
4. TE Kenny Yeboah
Yeboah was one of the many players that were hyped up in training camp. After watching his performance against the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers, I see no reason to be hyped about him. He has struggled to hold on to the football, blocking, and running routes. Yeboah is lucky that the Jets' tight end core is one of the weakest in the entire NFL. Excluding Tyler Kroft, the tight ends have not performed well in the preseason. Yeboah still has a chance against the Philadelphia Eagles to solidify his roster spot with a strong performance.
5. OL Greg Van Roten
Greg Van Roten has had an up-and-down preseason for the team. There are moments where he makes solid blocks for the team and others where he lacks awareness and misses blocks. He has been very inconsistent with the team. He has benefited from Alex Lewis’s sudden retirement as there were rumors that he could become a cap casualty during these cuts as Alex Lewis took a pay cut. Remember if the Jets were to release Greg Van Roten during the final cut day it would clear around 3.5 million dollars in cap space. So it is important for Van Roten to have a strong performance against the Philadelphia Eagles.
6. DT Nathan Shepherd
The defensive tackle core for the New York Jets is full of talented players and has performed extremely well against both the Packers and the Giants. The one player that has struggled for the Jets this preseason is Nathan Shepherd. He has failed to produce in providing pressure to the quarterback and failing to be a consistent run stopper. Shepherd is going to need a strong performance with the Philadelphia Eagles if he wants to make the New York Jets roster again.
7. DE/EDGE Jabari Zuniga
This is your final chance Jabari. Throughout his entire career with the New York Jets, he has failed to make an impact on the field. He has legit been a disappearing act on defense and has failed to make a big impact throughout the preseason. Jabari has been dominated by offensive linemen and has lacked awareness and missed big tackles. Jabari has only recorded 1 tackle throughout the preseason. Jabari is going to need to have a strong game against the Philadelphia Eagles if he wants to make the 53 man roster. By the way, I think we need to be reminded that the New York Jets and Joe Douglas wasted a 3rd round pick on Jabari Zuniga.
8. LB Blake Cashman
Blake Cashman has been a constant projected cut for the New York Jets due to durability and inconsistency concerns when he is on the field. Luckily Cashman has been healthy throughout the playoffs but he has still been inconsistent with his play as a run stopper and pass rusher. He did not perform well against both the Giants and against the Packers. Noah Dawkins and Milo Eifler have impressed in the preseason more than Cashman at linebacker. The team also signed Aaron Adeoye which could be telling on the confidence level of the backup linebackers currently on the team.
9. CB Isaiah Dunn
Isaiah Dunn has been a name that heavily impressed the coaches and was hyped as a player to watch in the preseason. He did not play the first preseason game against the New York Giants due to injury. He made his preseason debut against the Green Bay Packers and he did not perform well as he was bad in coverage and missed a few tackles on occasion as well. Dunn was definitely a disappointment for the team against the Packers. With how weak the cornerback core is for the Jets, Isaiah Dunn will have a chance of possibly making the roster if he shows improvement against the Philadelphia Eagles.
10. CB Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson has been a player that has struggled throughout his tenure with the New York Jets. Look at last season vs the Las Vegas Raiders where he covered Henry Ruggs who eventually scored the game-winning touchdown. That touchdown got former Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams fired. I was shocked he stayed on the roster after that play but the team and Joe Douglas clearly saw something in him. With a weak cornerback crew, Lamar Jackson had an opportunity to improve during the preseason. How did he perform? Well, not very well. He continued to showcase that he is still terrible in man-to-man coverage and can't cover receivers by himself. He did have an INT vs the Green Bay Packers but that is because the quarterback underthrew the football and he had help during coverage on that play. He needs to perform well against the Green Bay Packers if he wants to make the 53 man roster.