We’re another step closer to the regular season, as the New York Jets (0-1) make their home debut against the Atlanta Falcons (1-0). Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted locally on CBS.
The Jets are looking to rebound from a poor week one showing in Detroit, where they gave up 428 total yards to the 123 New York’s offense scrapped across.
Week one of the preseason certainly is no time to panic but there are some things that would be nice to see improvement in. Tackling was, quite frankly, awful in Detroit. Players at all positions and all skill levels missed tackles. The past few years, there’s been less of an emphasis on tackling in training camp so the poor tackling display isn’t much of a surprise, but this still needs to be addressed.
The Jets starting defense got torched by Detroit last week and will have another test Friday. Last week, quarterback Matthew Stafford went an easy 2-2 for 57 yards and a touchdown, with Golden Tate on the end of both receptions. Rookie running back Ameer Abdullah and the Lions offensive line also had their way against a Jets defensive lion, sans Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. Despite missing their two stars, the Jets D-line can’t continue to get pushed around.
The defense, specifically the secondary, will get another nice test with a high-powered Atlanta offense powered by quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. Because it’s the preseason, I wouldn’t expect to see a lot of blitz packages from the Jets, which will really put some pressure on the secondary to guard two of the best in the game. Antonio Cromartie could use a confidence boost this week after a bad week one.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a pretty vanilla debut, getting just one series and dropping back to pass three times. He finished 2-for-3 for 16 yards and helped lead the Jets to a field goal. Head coach Todd Bowles said starters will play close to a half against Atlanta with a little more game planning involved, so we’ll see if the Jets can put up some sustained success.
A few things to keep an eye on: wide receiver Chris Owusu saw some extended playing time as the slot receiver last week. Will he continue to battle Jeremy Kerley for the slot? The tight end position is also a mess, with Jeff Cumberland taking some unimpressive first-team reps and blocking tight end Kellen Davis following suit.
Many assumed second-year tight end Jace Amaro would make “the jump” in his second camp, but Amaro has had a tough camp and managed to injure his shoulder in the limited time he did see last week. It’s unclear if he’ll play this Friday.
Veteran quarterback Matt Flynn, signed this week as insurance to starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, will not play as he’s recovering from a hamstring injury. Flynn was previously in camp with New England.
This will be another nice test for the Jets. Wins and losses aren’t important, but it would be nice to see some improvement. Instead of Bowles taking a timeout 1:20 into the first quarter, he makes it into the second quarter this game. Things won’t be perfect, but Bowles was critical of the team’s sloppy play in practice this week and I’m sure expects a much cleaner game.
And for the love of God, nobody get hurt.