With the regular season about to begin there’s only one thing left to do: Name the New York Jets’ preseason winners and losers.
The New York Jets wrapped up their preseason on Thursday night defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 16-10. With the victory, the Jets finished the exhibition season with a record of 2-2.
If the team can muster a .500 record during the regular season, you’ll likely see Jets fans dancing in the streets. Some of the performances we saw from Gang Green during the preseason were worthy of celebration. Others, not so much.
With that said, let’s take a look at the preseason winners and losers for the Jets.
Winner: QB Bryce Petty
While he suffered a grade 1 MCL sprain against the New York Giants in the third preseason game, it shouldn’t cost Petty the backup job behind Josh McCown.
In fact, that game against the Giants wasn’t much of a game until Petty entered. He proceeded to complete 15-of-18 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns, putting the Jets in position to win the game late.
He finished the preseason completing 66.7 percent of his passes (32-of-48) for 426 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Even though he played primarily against backups, his performance should be enough for coach Todd Bowles to formally anoint him No. 2 on the depth chart.
Losers: The Entire Offensive Line
Do you want to know the real reason why Tony Romo passed on the Jets? It had to be this awful offensive line. I mean to go from Dallas, which boasts one of the NFL’s best lines to this one?Yeah, Romo made the right choice heading to the announce booth and golf course.
Yeah, Romo made the right choice heading to the announce booth and golf course.
Just take a look at how bad the protection was against Detroit.
If the injury prone Romo took a hit like that he would be the star in the next Life Alert commercial yelling “I’ve fallen and can’t get up!”
Jets quarterbacks…beware. This is the protection that you will be getting all year. Best of luck to you.
Winner: ArDarius Stewart
While the team’s recent acquisition of Jermaine Kearse from Seattle helps, the Jets are incredibly thin at wide receiver. Stewart, the team’s third-round pick (79th overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Alabama, has shown enough to play a role in the passing game.
The 23-year-old finished the preseason with eight receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns. His best performance came against the Giants, where he had five receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Hopefully, the rookie can keep up his strong play and continue to give Gang Green some production during the regular season.
Loser: WR Charone Peake
Before the first preseason game, I wrote how Peake had a golden opportunity with the Jets. He couldn’t afford to let rookie receivers like Stewart and Chad Hansen outplay him. Yet that’s exactly what happened.
Peake managed only one catch for a total of four yards. Fortunately for him, that catch was a touchdown. But still. One catch over four preseason games is disappointing.
The former seventh-round pick out of Clemson had better start making the most of whatever opportunities come his way during the regular season or his NFL days could be behind him.
Winner: RB Bilal Powell
Matt Forte may be listed as the featured back on the team’s official depth chart, but Bilal Powell is a weapon, both on the ground and in the passing game. He’s going to get his touches.
Powell finished the preseason with 216 yards (69 rushing, 147 receiving) and an 85-yard receiving touchdown against the Giants.
Bilal Powell 85 Yard Touchdown!#NYJvsNYG #NFL #NFLFantasy pic.twitter.com/rMTd9QF6bl
— Fantasy Gridiron (@F_GRIDIRON1) August 27, 2017
A little tip for you fantasy football owners, especially those in a point-per-reception league: Powell is a must own. The dual-threat back should be one of the Jets’ most explosive offensive weapons this year.
Loser: QB Christian Hackenberg
Hackenberg was given every opportunity to show the Jets that he could be the starting quarterback. I mean they didn’t play Josh McCown for two straight weeks so that Hack could get his reps in.
But all he showed was that he’s not ready. Personally, I don’t think he could throw out of a wet paper bag. Now I know that offensive line is horrendous and that doesn’t help a young quarterback. But I don’t believe Hackenberg is the long-term answer at QB.
Hackenberg completed only 56.8 percent of his passes (42-of-74) for 372 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Both of those interceptions came against the Giants—and both were returned for touchdowns.
There’s no way should he be the Jets backup to start the season—Petty has earned that job. Still, I do expect Hackenberg to play at some point.
Winner: LB Julian Stanford
Last year, Stanford was solid on special teams but struggled when he got defensive snaps. That was not the case this preseason, as he finished with 15 tackles and a brutal sack of Tennessee Titans QB Alex Tanney that knocked the signal-caller from the game.
The Jets would love to see this kind of production from him when the games count.
Winners: S Jamal Adams and S Marcus Maye
Taken in the first and second rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, respectively, Adams and Maye were as impressive in the preseason as Gang Green and their fans hoped they’d be.
The pair combined for 22 tackles and deflected one pass. More importantly than stats, neither one looked out of place going up against first-team offenses.
Adams is already emerging as a leader on defense, an excellent sign for a first-year player. The future is bright with this dynamic duo in the defensive backfield.