Raul Vazquez | August 11th, 2019
Preseason football is fun. Most of the game the second and third teams will be out there, but nonetheless, football is back! With the first round of football back this week, football twitter is amazing as fanbases get the first glimpse of their teams in real, live football. The takes are based off one game, one drive, or even one play. In the spirit of preseason football hype, how did the New York Jets look in their first action with new personnel? Will Adam Gase’s offense be great? Should they have cut Chandler Catanzaro during the rain delay?
1. The Adam Gase offense will be aggressive and fun
Along the lines of extremely knee jerk takes, the first-team offense looked stout, as did Sam Darnold. Even more promising was that the offense looked good without the prize of free agency, Le’Veon Bell.
The first-team offense was only out there for the first drive of the game, but it left Jets fans that much more excited for Darnold’s campaign under an offensive-minded head coach. The lone drive went 7 plays for 75 yards and a TD with Darnold going 4-5 for 68 yards and the TD. Aside from the first play in which Darnold stared down Quincy Enunwa, the offense looked sharp and Darnold looked much more comfortable in the pocket.
A further glimpse of the Gase offense and its aggressive nature was on display on a 4th-and-1 play fake which left Elijah McGuire wide open for an easy score.
2. Crowder will be a big piece of the offense while Ty Montgomery might be the most underrated pickup of the offseason
The shiny new pickups were on display in this one. Darnold looked good in his first action as did those around him.
New safety net, slot receiver Jamison Crowder served as just that opening up to the ball late for Darnold leading to a big 28-yard gain. A pick play capped off the drive easily finding Crowder in the endzone for six. The quick drive and connections to Crowder should be a sign of what’s to come this season and how Gase plans to utilize the savvy slot receiver.
The underrated pickup of the offseason had to be Ty Montgomery. Bell will be limited on the field during the preseason so the versatile Montgomery will come in for him and serve as yet another safety net for Darnold much like Crowder.
3. Jets need help at cornerback badly.
The weakest part of the team is very clearly the cornerback group. This was fully on display against the New York Giants. With backups in, Daniel Jones completely torched the defensive backs. The group was mostly composed of second-stringers in Kyron Brown and Santos Ramirez, but those are the guys who will be playing key snaps.
The following drive for the New York Giants led by Alex Tanney wasn’t much better for Jet defensive backs. Parry Nickerson, a sixth-round corner from 2018, who will see extensive playing time and saw extended time in 2018, was flat out beat by Russell Shepard leading to a 51-yard scamper to the endzone.
Douglas will need to find a quality corner in the trade market or pickup someone who gets released or this team will be in trouble with Gregg Williams’ aggressive play calling.
4. League-best special teams unit from last year still with spots to be figured out
The Jets brought back a familiar face in Chandler Catanzaro who was the team’s kicker during the 2017 season. He had been struggling through much of training camp and preseason was no different as he missed two extra points. Joe Douglas will have to bring in another leg to at least serve as competition. Taylor Bertolet will look to be the answer after Catanzaro unexpectedly retired on Sunday morning.
There have been calls within the fanbase for longtime Falcons kicker Matt Bryant along with Ross Martin who had been with the team through a number of training camps and preseasons but never stuck.
There are also question marks at both returner positions. Andre Roberts was a pro bowler for the Jets in 2018 and made a number of huge returns. Greg Dortch, an undrafted free agent played well at punt returner but they are in search of someone to stick at kick returner. Trent Cannon a late-round 2018 draft pick didn’t show much in the kick return game Thursday night. Moving Dortch to both return spots as he will have a hard time sticking at WR may be where he is suited best.
5. Josh Bellamy seems like he will run away with WR 4 spot
The preseason is all about depth battles and competitions to make the team. Behind the unquestioned top three wideouts Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa and Jamison Crowder there is a competition to see who will be the fourth guy.
The Jets shocked a few folks when they signed a reserve in Josh Bellamy on the second day of free agency but it seems that he will have a role on the team. Fans have always clamored for Deontay Burnett to get a shot, while they also brought in Deonte Thompson recently, and Tim White has looked good in practice.
Bellamy looked good with two catches good for first downs and forcing a defensive pass interference. The battle will, of course, carry on throughout preseason but Bellamy looked best in the first game.
WR4 will be especially important for the Jets as Enunwa missed five games in 2018, and missed all of the 2017 season while Crowder missed seven games in 2018 leaving the team that much more reliant on their depth.
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