How much should the New York Jets’ starters play in the preseason finale?
Training camp has come to a conclusion and the attention now turns to the New York Jets’ final preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Will the starters play? If so, how much?
With injures piling up along the roster, some fans are hoping the starters sit. Others hope to see them in action, at least a little, with an eye on growth.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, head coach Robert Saleh was noncommittal about playing the starters extensively. Still, he mentioned that he was hopeful that they’d play a series or two.
Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson is expected to start, but the Jets should be wary to play him for long behind a patchwork offensive line.
Tackle Mekhi Becton is in concussion protocol and will miss the game. Rookie guard Alijah Vera-Tucker is back at practice after suffering a pectoral injury, but he’s also expected to sit.
Game reps are valuable, but nothing is more important than staying healthy. The smart play would be to give Wilson no more than two series before Mike White or James Morgan take over.
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Defensively, the Jets are leaning on their stars to carry the bulk of the weight.
Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will have to step up in a major way. Injuries have decimated the line, leaving Williams to right the ship. “Big Q” was already projected for a big year, but now it’s needed more than ever.
In the back end, young players are being thrown into starting roles to replace injured vets.
Linebacker Jarrad Davis suffered an ankle injury against Green Bay and will miss the first six weeks of the season. Rookie safety-turned-linebacker Jamien Sherwood will replace him in the starting lineup. The Jets’ coaches seem confident that he’ll rise to the challenge, applauding him for how easily he’s grasped the playbook.
Apart from Sherwood, second-year player Bryce Huff is now all but certain to land one of the starting defensive end positions.
With Vinny Curry now joining Carl Lawson on IR, Huff is the last legitimate pass rush threat off the edge that the Jets have left (unless John Franklin-Myers converts to the edge full-time). Huff has looked great in the preseason and throughout training camp.
Now, he’ll get the chance to prove he can be an every-down player.
Oklahoma Drill podcast episode
The Oklahoma Drill podcast continues this week with a preview of the final preseason matchup for the Jets.
Hosts Andrew, Matt, and Vitor cover the major storylines of the game and what to watch for. Plus, they finish with a chat about whether the Jets should trade for an edge rusher.
The long wait for the regular season is nearly over, and for the Jets, it couldn’t be coming at a better time.