Quincy Williams, NY Jets, Penalty
Quincy Williams, New York Jets, Getty Images

Which New York Jets players need to stand out against the Falcons?

The New York Jets will take on the Atlanta Falcons tonight in their second preseason game (8 p.m. ET). It’s a big night for many players on the roster bubble.

Here are three players in particular who have the most to prove tonight.

DT Jonathan Marshall

Selected 207th overall in the 2021 draft, Arkansas defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall was seen as an unusually high-ceiling player for a sixth-round pick thanks to his historically great athleticism. Marshall posted incredible testing numbers and earned a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.99 out of 10, which is the second-best score all-time for a defensive tackle.

However, Marshall has yet to translate that athleticism into on-field production.

Marshall played four games in his rookie season, recording only one pressure and two tackles over 77 defensive snaps. He played 21 snaps in this year’s preseason opener but only made one tackle while failing to record any pressures.

Despite being a sixth-round pick who is entering the second year of his rookie contract, Marshall’s roster spot might not be entirely safe. Fellow defensive tackle Tanzel Smart is making a strong case for a roster spot after enjoying an excellent preseason opener. How long can the Jets justify keeping Marshall solely based on his potential when other players are outplaying him?

Marshall needs to show that he can use his athletic gifts to make an impact on the field. His upside will only take him so far – he’s got to back it up with production at some point, or his Jets career could come to a surprisingly early end.

QB Mike White

Mike White took the world by storm with his 405-yard debut against the Bengals last Halloween. But outside of that one game, White hasn’t done much of anything in his career.

Excluding the Bengals game, White has made 15 other appearances in his career (11 preseason and 4 regular season). In those games, he has completed 161 of 273 passes (58.9%) for 1,531 yards (5.6 per attempt), 3 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. That’s a passer rating of 66.1.

White played a lot of reps against the Eagles last week and mostly struggled. He completed 10 of 20 passes for only 98 yards (4.9 per attempt), showing major inconsistency on downfield throws as he went 3-for-9 on passes that traveled at least 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

Chris Streveler had a strong game in Philly, putting pressure on White to defend his position as New York’s QB3 and temporary QB2. If White does not step it up over the next two games, it’s not inconceivable to picture Streveler usurping White.

The magic of White’s Bengals game is wearing off. That one game cannot carry him forever. He must add more to his resume.

Jets X-Factor Membership

LB Quincy Williams

It remains unclear if the Jets will play their starters tonight, but if Quincy Williams takes the field, it will be a big night for him.

Williams had a brutal preseason opener. He committed an inexcusable unnecessary roughness penalty when he hit Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts long after he had gone out of bounds on a scramble. Not only was the play dangerous and irresponsible, but it negated a third-down stop that would have forced a field goal attempt, allowing Philadelphia to keep driving and eventually score a touchdown.

Head coach Robert Saleh ripped into Williams after the game, calling the play “egregiously awful” when speaking to the media.

It’s not often that a coach publicly criticizes one of his own players to that degree. When it happens, it is something that absolutely has to be noted.

This public callout is especially notable since it was directed at a player whose position on the depth chart is not entirely set in stone. While Williams is listed as a starter for the Jets at the moment, Kwon Alexander is making a strong push to surpass him. Alexander has impressed the team since his arrival and is a substantially more proven player than Williams.

Even before Alexander’s arrival or the Hurts penalty, Williams already had a lot to prove going into this season. He showed flashes of exciting talent in 2021, convincing the Jets to give him a shot to fulfill his potential in 2022, but considering how hot-and-cold he was last season, he still had to show that he could remove the costly mistakes from his game so his highlight-reel plays could truly shine.

This Hurts penalty is the polar opposite of what the Jets need to see from Williams this year. It’s the exact kind of reckless mistake that he has frequently made throughout his career as a side effect of his hyper-aggression, which sometimes leads to those big hits that he is known for, but ultimately causes more harm than good. Williams needs to show better discipline in his game. This was not a way to do it.

The Jets have shown an exorbitant amount of faith in Williams, a third-round disappointment who could not make it to a third season with his original team and then had an inconsistent year as one of the culprits for the league’s 32nd-ranked defense. He is still young (soon to be 26) and his peak moments are undoubtedly tantalizing, so I understand that the Jets want to give him a chance to put everything together and develop into a long-term contributor – especially considering Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich‘s successful track records at developing linebackers.

But until Williams shows the improvements that are necessary for him to reach his ceiling, he is a decently below-average starter, and the Jets would be doing themselves a disservice by playing him over Alexander.

Williams is fortunate to have a coaching staff that strongly believes in him despite the lumps he has taken thus far. He must seize this opportunity and put a stranglehold on his starting job by playing disciplined, sound football. If he keeps making the same mistakes, the Jets might run out of patience and hand the job over to the more accomplished Alexander.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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Jets71
Jets71
1 month ago

I think Marshall would get through waivers and end up on the practice squad. Correct me if I’m wrong for a team to claim someone they have to be on the 53 man roster? I don’t see anybody picking up Marshall for one of those spots. Same goes for Streveler. I think both those guys get cut and safely end up on the Jets’ practice squads, if not then good on the Jets for finally cutting players other teams want.

White isn’t good. This infatuation with him is cool but it’s also too much. He had one good game and one good drive in his ENTIRE career. He’s entering his 6th year in the league, I think we “know what he is”, that being said does he bring some value to the Jets in terms of stability in the QB room? That’s the question that needs answering…is it better to keep that group intact for Zach’s development or keep another developmental player.

I think we will see a lot of flip flopping with Alexander and Quincy. I just think they will share time and share starts. They will each have a role and I think depending on the weekly game plan we will see either start.

One guy I would add to this list is Will Parks, I think he’s on the verge of winning a starting job and if he can play well he might just get it. I’m not sure how he fits with Whitehead but nobody has really taken hold of the safety position opposite Whitehead. I think Parks could be that guy.

verge tibbs
verge tibbs
1 month ago
Reply to  Jets71

Yeah mike whites not a good qb. His throws are consistently noticeable ducks. They just float out there on a wind gust like theyre flying south for the winter. That could be ok if they landed where they needed too, i guess. But they usually dont so i think hes gonna be an interception machine if he ever gets any extended time. I wouldnt keep him for zach, he doesnt have more experience. Just flacco should be fine and like you said, streveler to the ps. At least streveler brings something else to the table with his legs and size.