Featured Editorials

Israel Abanikanda, Will McDonald & Carter Warren Need More Playing Time

Will McDonald

So, what is left for Jet fans in 2023? There are several winnable games over the last six weeks of the season on the Jets schedule. Most notable are this week’s game against the Falcons and the season finale in New England against the Patriots. The team also has a chance to audition some young players to gauge their potential to be contributors in 2024. In short Israel Abanikanda, Will McDonald and Carter Warren need more playing time the rest of the way.

The Atlanta Falcons are no pushovers. The Falcons lead the NFC South division, albeit with a losing record of 5-6. Atlanta runs the ball for over 139 yards per game, ranking fourth overall. The Falcons are 14th in points allowed at just over 21 points per game. The Jets should find more running room against Atlanta than they did against the Dolphins, should they choose to. The Jets have shown no commitment to the run over the last few weeks, as evidenced by the drop off in carries for Breece Hall.

On defense, the Jets will need to know where rookie running back Bijan Robinson is at all times. The rookie is 8th in the league in rushing yards. Robinson is also a capable pass receiver, notching three TDs thus far on receptions. Robinson can go the distance on every touch. Atlanta has been inconsistent at the quarterback position, dampening some talented receivers’ statistics. Drake London is a speedy wideout in his second year. London has a flair for highlight-reel grabs. Kyle Pitts was drafted with the 4th overall pick in 2021. Pitts is a matchup nightmare possessing tight end size and wide receiver speed.

The Jets will be able to throttle the Falcon offensive attack, but the same is likely true for Atlanta against the Jets offense. The team that finds the big play on offense will win this game. The Jets need to find yards on the ground to open up the play-action pass and take some pressure off Tim Boyle. The Jets should win this toss-up at home in a tight squeeze.

In terms of personnel and making the most of the rest of this season, it’s time for some young, untested players to take the field. I am not sure there is any point in starting Duane Brown or Mekhi Becton the rest of the way. Brown will not be a Jet in 2024. He’s played just 101 snaps, and the team is more than used to taking the field without him. We know what Mekhi Becton can do. If he’s healthy, he is an average to slightly above-average offensive tackle. The Jets need to find out what they have in Carter Warren, Xavier Newman, and Max Mitchell. The last six weeks would provide valuable experience for these young players and give the Jet brass an idea if and how they fit into next season’s plans.

Israel Abanikanda must get some carries as the season comes to an end. Dalvin Cook has not provided what the Jets thought he would, and the team needs to see if Abanikanda can be the backup to Breece Hall in 2024.  The running game needs to be a focus in these last few games with Breece Hall and Abanikanda both seeing the ball more.

Jet first-rounder, Will McDonald needs to see his playing time increase. McDonald was selected to help the Jets defense in one of the few areas they could use additional help – edge pass rushing. McDonald has seen the field sparingly so far, which has been frustrating as he has not been on the injury report for the most part.

The Jets can give these young players valuable minutes while not experiencing a drastic drop-off in quality of play. The team can be competitive with their young talent on the field. It doesn’t make sense at this point not to play these players.



author avatar
Nick Ferraro

This Article Was Written By Nick Ferraro

Nick Ferraro


NY Jets Videos