NY Jets, Zach Wilson, OL, Cowboys
Zach Wilson, New York Jets, Getty Images

Who shined and who struggled in the New York Jets’ season-opening victory?

Each week this season, I will be laying out my picks for the New York Jets’ best and worst-performing players from their previous game – but with a twist.

Every player listed as a “stud” will receive a positive score ranging from 1 (solid) to 5 (dominant) based on their impact level, while every player listed as a “dud” will receive a negative score ranging from -1 (below average) to -5 (horrendous). The sum of all players’ scores will be equal to the Jets’ scoring margin from the game.

Here are my studs and duds from the Jets’ Week 2 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Since the Jets lost by a score of 30-10, the scores below will add up to -20.


Carl Lawson: -1

Lawson’s return to the field disappointed as the veteran failed to make a significant impact. Playing 23 total snaps, Lawson only recorded two tackles. More importantly, he struggled mightily as a pass rusher, recording zero pressures on 13 pass-rush snaps.

It was a small sample size and a difficult challenge, as he went head-to-head against Tyron Smith. Still, the Jets need better from Lawson moving forward.

Quinton Jefferson: -1

This was a rough game for the Jets’ defensive line as the entire unit came back down to earth following a stellar Week 1 performance. Jefferson had one pressure over 17 pass-rush snaps and gave up some big plays in the run game. Overall, it was a disappointing follow-up to an impressive season debut.

Brandin Echols: -1

Echols filled in for the injured Michael Carter II and the difference was immediately noticeable. He allowed both his targets to be completed for 21 yards and also missed two tackles.

Echols made one of the biggest mistakes of the game when he committed a pass interference penalty in the end zone on third-and-13. Dallas received a new set of downs and scored a touchdown on the next play.

Al Woods: -2

Woods brings good run-stuffing ability to the Jets’ defensive line but his lack of impact as a pass rusher is making a negative impact. While the Jets try to limit him to run situations, Woods still played 16 pass-rush snaps against the Cowboys and had zero pressures. He usually didn’t come close to the quarterback, giving Dak Prescott some very comfortable pockets to throw from.

Dalvin Cook: -2

The Jets signed Cook to be their home run threat as Breece Hall recovered from his ACL tear. Through two weeks, his longest rush is 10 yards while his average of 2.4 yards per carry ranks fifth-lowest among 56 qualified running backs.

Cook averaged 1.8 yards per carry against Dallas, gaining seven yards on four attempts. Worse than his lack of playmaking was his fumble in the third quarter, which ended the Jets’ hopes of a potential comeback.

The Jets were only down by 11 after holding Dallas to a field goal, and Zach Wilson had just started the drive with a 14-yard completion to Allen Lazard on the first play. Cook then allowed Micah Parsons to rip the ball from him on the next play.

It hasn’t been an ideal start to the year for Cook, as all of these issues were present with the Vikings and seem to be carrying over so far.

Laken Tomlinson: -2

General manager Joe Douglas’s biggest free agency signing of 2022 continues to disappoint. The veteran guard struggled in the run game against Dallas as he lost in his one-on-ones consistently, and on screen plays, he was a non-factor when out in space.

These struggles were amplified by the Jets’ decision to run behind him and Brown for eight of their ten carries. The eight attempts generated a measly 18 yards compared to 12 on the two attempts to the right. The Jets need to figure out how to get Tomlinson back to form or start considering the alternatives.

C.J. Uzomah: -2

Uzomah has struggled with the Jets but this was one of his worst games to date. The Jets moved Uzomah around and featured him as a primary read in some concepts, but he didn’t garner a single target as he struggled to separate on his routes.

While his performance as a receiver wasn’t good, it’s how Uzomah performed in the run game that got him a spot on this list.

Despite playing only six snaps in the run game, Uzomah managed to stand out as a culprit for allowing multiple negative plays. Uzomah allowed a four-yard stuff on Hall to begin the game and later was responsible for Parsons on the play when he stripped Cook.

Through two weeks, Uzomah has failed to generate a target and was at fault for several failed run plays. With Jeremy Ruckert showing potential, the Jets need to consider making the switch.

Connor McGovern: -3

The Jets’ veteran center had one of the worst performances of his career this past Sunday. McGovern was dominated in pass protection, allowing five pressures and one sack. He also struggled in the run game, failing to generate significant movement despite often teaming up with Tomlinson on double teams.

McGovern appears to be taking a step back this season as he’s struggling in both phases. He’s been inconsistent in pass protection before, but his run blocking used to be a strength.

With rookie Joe Tippmann on his heels, McGovern needs to bounce back fast.

Alijah Vera-Tucker: -3

The rock of the Jets’ offensive line turned in one of his most disappointing games since his rookie year. While he didn’t have many opportunities in the run game, it was still a step back from his usual dominance. Notably, Vera-Tucker was beaten on a play where Zach Wilson got stuffed on a third-and-1 QB sneak.

Vera-Tucker tied McGovern with five pressures allowed and one sack. Vera-Tucker was also beaten by Demarcus Lawrence on a crucial play at the end of the second quarter where Lawrence tipped a potential touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson.

When you’re supposed to be one of the best guards in the NFL, Sunday’s performance wasn’t nearly good enough.

Duane Brown: -4

Brown continues to be the headliner on this list with another disappointing performance. In an impossible match-up against Micah Parson, Brown allowed two QB hits, one sack, and a hurry for four total pressures.

That stat line seems better than the tape – it appears that on some plays where Parsons beat Brown inside, either Tomlinson or McGovern was charged with allowing the pressure instead of Brown. Regardless, Brown was the most consistent liability for the Jets’ offensive line in Arlington.

Brown seemed to be giving up pressure instantly and killed several plays. In his defense, the Jets coaches didn’t give him much of a chance leaving him on an island for almost half of his pass-blocking snaps.

Brown also continued his struggles in the run game. As with Tomlinson, Brown failed to generate any push and seemed lost when he was in space.

Brown has been back at practice for a month now. The excuses are running out for the 38-year-old tackle.


Garrett Wilson: +1

Garrett Wilson continues to be a bright spot for the Jets. Wilson finished the day with only two catches on seven targets but still accounted for almost 40% of the Jets’ offensive yards and their only touchdown.

Wilson’s most impressive play was his 68-yard touchdown to give the Jets life in the second quarter. It was a great catch and run against Stephon Gilmore and one of Zach Wilson’s better passes of the game.

Wilson’s most impressive play was unfortunately one that didn’t happen. With the Jets down 18-7 heading into halftime, Garrett cooked Trevon Diggs and was wide open in the end zone. Zach Wilson tried to hit Garrett but had the throw disrupted due to a hit allowed by Vera-Tucker.

It is a weekly shame how often Wilson wins his matchups but is not rewarded for it.

Other notes

Winning this game was always going to be a tough challenge, even with Aaron Rodgers, but the way the Jets lost is more disappointing. When it was strength against strength, the Jets consistently came up on the losing side.

While Zach Wilson’s final stat line wasn’t pretty, Wilson was far down the list of reasons why New York lost this game. He showed important progress in several key areas but wasn’t helped by his teammates or coaches.

Several of the negatives above were largely due to the position the players were put in by the Jets coaching staff.

Defensively, the Jets blitzed more often than they usually do, and Dallas made them pay for it. Offensively, the Jets did not give enough help to their offensive line. They also overused players who are not performing well and underused players who deserve more touches and snaps, such as Breece Hall, Jeremy Ruckert, and Mecole Hardman.

After an excellent performance in the season opener (at least defensively), this game was a massive step back at every level.

Here is how the team stacks up through two weeks.

  • Quinnen Williams: +3
  • Jordan Whitehead: +3
  • Garrett Wilson: +2
  • Quincy Williams: +2
  • Breece Hall: +2
  • D.J. Reed: +1
  • Xavier Gipson: +1
  • Sauce Gardner: -1
  • Zach Wilson: -1
  • Brandin Echols: -1
  • Carl Lawson: -1
  • Quinton Jefferson: -1
  • Al Woods: -2
  • Dalvin Cook: -2
  • C.J. Uzomah: -2
  • Connor McGovern: -3
  • Alijah Vera-Tucker: -3
  • Laken Tomlinson: -4
  • Duane Brown: -7
  • Jets total: -14

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2 months ago

Besides the obvious Ruckert/Uzomah switch, at what point does Randall Cobb starts losing snaps to Gipson and perhaps even Brownlee? With his BFF out with the Achilles, how many more zero stat lines does he get?