The Jets took the field for their preseason opener Friday night in Philly.
Football was finally here, although any positive vibes surrounding the organization were erased when the team’s starting quarterback went down early.
Here are some thoughts on the Jets’ preseason opener.
Wilson injury. Quarterback Zach Wilson left with a knee injury.
He scrambled to the right side of the field on a first-quarter play before cutting back inside and diving forward. He then got up limping — the limp became progressively worse until he gave up, went down to the ground, and eventually walked under his own power to the locker room.
The best-case scenario would be a minor ailment that forces Wilson to miss a few days of practice. The worst-case scenario would be a lengthy injury that forces the Jets to call the 49ers for Jimmy Garoppolo. The Jets think it’s the former. But they await the MRI.
Secondary issues? The Jets defensive backfield didn’t look great on Friday night, with rookie Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Bryce Hall starting at cornerback and Jordan Whitehead and Lamarcus Joyner starting at safety. Starting slot corner Michael Carter II seemed to be a step behind in coverage on a few plays.
But there shouldn’t be much concern right now. Starting cornerback D.J. Reed didn’t play due to a hamstring injury (the Jets are hoping he’s back next week) and neither did defensive ends Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers. Thus, there was hardly an effective pass rush that could take pressure off the secondary.
I wouldn’t start worrying about the defensive backfield unless the unit struggles mightily with everyone healthy and on the field in the regular season.
Quincy Williams’ huge mistake. Williams must prove he deserves more playing time throughout the year than other linebacking options, such as Kwon Alexander.
The mistake he made Friday night will not do him any good.
On a third-and-five play on the opening drive of the game, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts scrambled to the right and headed toward the sideline. Williams met Hurts at full speed as he laid a blatant late hit into the Philly signal-caller outside the boundary. He was flagged for unnecessary roughness, which gave the Eagles a first down. A fourth down would’ve been forthcoming had Williams not made the hit.
It was a dirty play, an obvious penalty, and a monstrous mistake, on third down no less. The Jets defense can’t afford those in a year when it must improve from 2021’s disastrous efforts (the team was last in total defense and scoring). And Williams can’t afford the blunders when he’s fighting for significant playing time.