New York Jets offense highlights preseason tie
The New York Jets closed out their 2021 preseason slate with a 2-0-1 record thanks to a 31-31 tie with the Philadelphia Eagles.
New York’s final exhibition contest was highlighted by the offense. Defensive woes from the previous game in Green Bay persisted, but offensively, numerous skill position players thrived in a highlight-laden game.
Here are five of the team’s biggest winners from the preseason finale.
Josh Johnson had not thrown a pass in either of the Jets’ first two preseason games and had only recently begun participating in team drills and scrimmages.
Now, he looks like the clear and obvious best choice to be the backup to Zach Wilson.
Johnson looked comfortable, poised, and sharp in his first official appearance in a Gotham Green uniform. It wasn’t his first time in a Jets uniform, as he had donned the Jets’ old-school hunter green uniform back in the 2015 preseason finale against Philadelphia.
Over three drives in the first half, Johnson led the Jets to 138 yards and 10 points. He captained a methodical, time-consuming offense that held the ball for an average of six minutes and 23 seconds per drive. One of Johnson’s scoring drives consisted of 16 plays and lasted over nine minutes.
Johnson may not have been with this Jets team as long as Mike White or James Morgan, but it will be tough for the Jets to cut ties with him after he put out a performance that was lightyears ahead of anything White or Morgan has shown this preseason.
It was a great night for guys named Josh.
Josh Adams had seemingly faded out of the Jets’ running back competition. He had not made much noise throughout training camp and did not get many reps in the first two preseason games.
Adams took advantage of his final opportunity to impress as he enjoyed by far the best single-game performance of any Jets running back this preseason. He rushed for 62 yards on 12 carries, averaging a sparkling 5.2 yards per carry without getting a single rush for double-digit yards.
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That is an indicator of Adams’ incredible consistency in this game. He looked like playoff Derrick Henry, churning out one 5-to-9 yard gain after the next as he dragged defenders and trucked them over with reckless abandon.
Plus, Adams scored the game-tying two-point conversion with zeros on the clock.
Even if Adams does not make the Jets’ roster, he put out a great audition for some other team that will happily claim him on waivers.
But the Jets have a tough decision to make. Ty Johnson, Michael Carter, and Tevin Coleman seem like locks, leaving it between Adams and La’Mical Perine for, seemingly, the fourth and final running back spot.
Perine was a Joe Douglas draft pick just one year ago, yes, but has he shown anywhere near the potential that Adams has between his short stint in the 2020 regular season and his outstanding performance in the 2021 preseason finale?
The blunt answer is no.
Matt Ammendola rounded out a perfect preseason as he took care of business on a night where his job was fairly easy. He made a 31-yard field goal (his only field goal attempt) and connected on both of his extra points.
Ammendola closes the preseason having gone 4 for 4 on field goals and 5 for 5 on extra points. He did everything he could do to make his case for the job. Now, we wait and see if the Jets believe in him enough to hand him the job or if they snatch up a more proven option on waivers.
Kenny Yeboah caught four passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. The highlight was a 49-yard Hail Mary from James Morgan to put the Jets within striking distance to tie the game as time expired.
Yeboah badly needed this type of game to make a case for a roster spot. He entered the game with two catches for six yards throughout the first two preseason games – fumbling away one of those two catches. Yeboah isn’t known for his blocking, so without the receiving production, he didn’t have much of a case to make the team.
It may be tough for the Jets to keep Yeboah considering the extra roster spots they may need to use at deeper positions like wide receiver and cornerback, but Yeboah did the best he could to make a last-ditch effort on Friday night.
We’ll see if the Jets like Yeboah’s potential enough to keep a fourth tight end (assuming Chris Herndon, Tyler Kroft, and Trevon Wesco make the roster) over a seventh wide receiver, seventh cornerback, or seventh defensive tackle among other possibilities.
Braxton Berrios‘ roster spot has seemingly been challenged due to the emergence of the Smiths – Vyncint and Jeff.
Vyncint Smith and Jeff Smith have gotten plenty of first-team reps throughout the preseason. Both have impressed, particularly Vyncint, who has been a consistent chain-mover in all three contests. Vyncint had two first-down grabs against Philadelphia, going for 14 and 18 yards. He closed the preseason with six first down receptions.
Jeff seems to have a smaller chance to make the roster than Vyncint but he has shown intrigue through his ability on gadget plays. Against the Eagles, he had three rushes for 44 yards, including a 25-yarder. He added two short catches for 16 yards, although those came over five targets.
Berrios had a stellar outing on Friday to fend off his pursuers.
While he was not targeted offensively, Berrios showcased his value on special teams. He returned two kickoffs for 72 yards, notching a 32-yarder and a 40-yarder. As a punt returner, Berrios had a 14-yarder and a 21-yarder that was called back due to a dubious penalty call.
The Jets have a highly respected special teams voice in Brant Boyer. He clearly has a significant amount of say in the room, or else he would not hang around through three different regimes.
Special teams ability will have a big effect on the Jets’ decisions over the next few days, which will help Berrios immensely as he tries to hang onto his roster spot.