Checking in on the performance of Duane Brown, Carl Lawson, and other New York Jets starters
The New York Jets‘ preseason finale against the New York Giants provided us with an extended look at the team’s first-string offensive and defensive units. It was the first and only appearance of the preseason for many of the team’s most important players, such as Duane Brown and Carl Lawson.
How did all of these players perform in their final tune-up for the regular season? Let’s check in on the numbers posted by some of the Jets’ biggest names.
Duane Brown played 21 snaps at left tackle in his Jets debut.
In his short time on the field, Brown performed excellently, looking more than ready for the real thing. Brown allowed zero pressures over 12 pass-blocking snaps and earned a run-blocking grade of 90.8 from Pro Football Focus.
Watching Brown’s tape, I was most impressed by his consistency. There weren’t many highlight-reel plays from Brown, but he executed his assignment on almost every play. The 15th-year veteran knows what it takes to succeed.
Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and George Fant
Each of the Jets’ starting offensive linemen played 21 snaps.
Collectively, this unit did an excellent job in pass protection but struggled in the run game.
All five starters played 12 pass-blocking snaps without allowing a single pressure. However, the Jets only rushed for 23 yards on 9 carries (2.6 yards per carry) behind their first-string line.
Alijah Vera-Tucker was the sole culprit for a 3rd-and-1 stuff on Breece Hall that resulted in a field goal attempt. Vera-Tucker ducked his head into the block and was immediately beaten with a swim move, destroying the play.
However, I thought Vera-Tucker showed some great things in pass protection, particularly on one play where he showed tremendous awareness by picking up a free rusher at the last second to save Flacco from a big hit and allow him to make a clean throw.
Skill position weapons
The Jets’ first-team offense made sure everybody got a chance to eat. Over only 12 passing plays with the starters were on the field, six different players caught a pass: Corey Davis, Braxton Berrios, Elijah Moore, Michael Carter, C.J. Uzomah, and Tyler Conklin (2x).
Altogether, those six players combined for 7 receptions, 76 receiving yards, and 4 receiving first downs across four series.
On the ground, Michael Carter rushed 4 times for 10 yards while Breece Hall rushed 5 times for 13 yards. Both players did a decent job of creating extra yardage on poorly-blocked plays, as they combined for 17 yards after contact and only 6 yards before contact.
Garrett Wilson only played 4 of the 21 snaps with the starters, seeing one target (a deep incompletion). He played 8 more snaps with the second team.
As Jets X-Factor’s Vitor Paiva broke down on film, this game was a mixed bag for Joe Flacco, who showcased many of the same strengths and weaknesses he has long been known for.
Flacco went 7-of-12 for 76 yards (6.3 per attempt), 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception while tossing 4 first downs.
On the easy stuff, Flacco typically looked good. He completed short passes with excellent precision, putting the ball in ideal spots for receivers to pick up maximum YAC. Even when getting out on the move – both in improvised fashion and on designed rollouts/bootlegs – Flacco was precise when things were easy.
It’s on the tougher throws where Flacco ran into trouble. Flacco went just 1-of-4 on passes that traveled at least 10 yards downfield, missing out on a couple of opportunities for big plays.
Flacco was on his way to a ho-hum outing, but it turned into a poor one after the threw a bone-headed pick-six on his last play.
Carl Lawson only played 7 defensive snaps. That’s all he needed to make his presence felt.
Lawson recorded a pair of pocket-collapsing wins across his four pass-rush opportunities. He also did a great job of setting the edge to help tee up a tackle-for-loss by Quinnen Williams in the run game.
C.J. Mosley played 8 snaps and handled his business. He had tight coverage on an incompletion thrown in his direction and teamed up with Jordan Whitehead to stop a run for a gain of one yard.
Quincy Williams stayed on the field longer than the rest of the starting unit, playing 16 snaps.
It was a quiet game for Williams, which is probably a positive thing for him considering his struggles with making glaring mistakes. Williams did not record any tackles, but he also did not miss any tackles and was not targeted in coverage.
Jordan Whitehead played 8 snaps, collecting a run stuff that he shared with Mosley. He was not targeted in coverage.
Lamarcus Joyner played 8 snaps, seeing zero targets in coverage and combining with Brandin Echols to stop a run play for a 2-yard gain.
In only 7 snaps, Quinnen Williams was a game-wrecker. Williams had a sack and a tackle for a 2-yard loss.
John Franklin-Myers played 7 snaps. He didn’t do anything of note, although it was interesting to get a quick look at how the Jets plan to utilize him. Franklin-Myers played 5 snaps on the edge and 2 snaps on the interior, both of those coming on third down.
Brandin Echols got the start at cornerback with D.J. Reed and Bryce Hall sidelined. He stayed in the game long beyond the rest of the starters, playing 26 snaps.
It was a good outing for Echols, who made 2 tackles without missing any (a key category for him, as he was very poor with missed tackles in 2021) and saw the only target in his direction fall incomplete.
Michael Carter II
Michael Carter II played 8 snaps as the Jets’ starting slot corner and enjoyed a stellar outing. He picked up a sack on a blitz off the edge, stopped the only target in his direction for a 4-yard gain, and snagged a leaping interception off Tyrod Taylor.
Sauce Gardner played 8 snaps. Across 5 coverage snaps, he was not targeted once. It marks the third consecutive zero-target game for Gardner, who completed the preseason with 0 targets on 24 coverage snaps.